For some families, it is a gift to be at home together more. Spending quality time together and with your children is good for all homes in America. According to an article by Emily Leslie and Riley Wilson which appears in American Politics and Policy and the London School of Economics at https://bit.ly/2UvIJp, there has been a ten percent increase in domestic violence cases across the country; an increase of about 1,400 cases across the United States each day!!
Families are finding that spending more time at home can be pretty stressful as well. Though creativity and invention has certainly increased among families, the talent for finding new ways to live sometimes comes second to continuing the abusive relationships that already existed or simply giving in to the tensions and becoming more abusive. When every person in a family is isolated from routines, especially social routines, they must relate to one another. A healthy relationship is much more difficult to maintain during crisis; and many have never had a healthy sustainable family life to begin with.
The increase in abuse affects the elderly and children as well as couples. It is also to be noted that more shifting in living conditions has occurred as people lose their jobs and have to move in with relatives. More reason for major adjustments; and now with schools not able to run a full week for each student, parents frantically try to find ways to keep their jobs and care for their children who also now require homeschooling. So consistent time at home together can be a blessing or a perfect storm.
Many incidents of domestic violence go unreported and statistics are based on reported calls. In other words, there’s a lot more abuse happening than we will ever know due to the sudden major pandemic of COVID-19, and the accompanying financial set-backs, loss of jobs, and loss of a sense of normal.
The greatest loss is that of churches not being able to offer meeting together for worship, fellowship and other services. Shutting down this outreach in our communities left families without the company of other christian families and their leadership for support during a time of terrible crisis. Not being able to be pastored in person is truly a loss. Weddings, funerals, hospitalization without church family support is leaving a vacuum that can only be filled through new ways of connecting. That too can lead to more violence for those already on the fringes of faith.
What is the answer? Make those calls, get out of the four walls thinking and use social media for a good cause, connect. Write letters, take food and leave it at someone’s door, transport someone who needs a ride, FaceTime and have a cup of coffee together. Be a safe person for someone in crisis to call. Don’t wait on your pastor to do something. You are the church! Offer to find resources for families stressed to the max. Check with local shelters to see what their needs might be. Equip yourself with information about domestic violence and be prepared to assist. Watch for the signs and ask questions! You are your brother’s (sister’s) keeper.
Contact Hope’s Door for equipping. We will help.
Liz Sherrell, President and Founder