Being in an abusive relationship can be incredibly isolating. Victims can feel helpless, afraid to reach out in case their partner finds out, and totally alone in what they’re going through.
And in this unique time of self-isolation, the emotional and physical safety of those in an abusive relationship is put at an even higher risk.
Survivors are not only more likely to feel isolated, but being alone with their partner for extended periods of time can create an environment with even higher tensions than normal. Add in financial strain and the world as they know it shutting down around them, help can seem out of reach.
Women, girls, trans women, Two-spirit people, and non-binary folks who are experiencing gender-based violence can call Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) on the crisis line at 604-687-1867, toll-free at 1-855-687-1868, or via text at 604-652-1867.
Even if someone is unsure whether their relationship is abusive or not, BWSS encourages them to call and talk.
The crisis line takes calls from Monday to Sunday. If you’re unable to speak safely, survivors can also email [email protected] or text 604-652-1867.
Making a safety plan is a crucial step for survivors, and BWSS can help create one that’s personalized. If they’re not able to call and make one themselves, they can have a friend that they trust call the crisis line on their behalf and help make a plan for them. There is also a guide to creating a safety plan online.
Although social isolating is an important effort for the general public to take to reduce the spread of COVID-19, for many survivors, staying home is not a safe option. Violence in relationships is about power and control, and abusive partners will go to great lengths to maintain power over survivors, including during a health threat like coronavirus.
The pandemic uniquely impacts women experiencing violence in ways people may not realize. Abusive partners can withhold important items like hand sanitizer or insurance cards and may share misinformation about the virus to increase anxiety in survivors or prevent them from seeking medical attention if needed.
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When trying to escape or make a safety plan, travel restrictions by public transit or air travel can provide even more barriers for survivors, making a hard decision even harder to execute.
If you or someone you know is experiencing an abusive relationship during these uncertain times, please spread the word that BWSS is available to help. The organization is also taking donations online if you’re looking to give back to this important cause.
When: Monday to Sunday
Phone: 604-687-1867 or toll-free 1-855-687-1868
More: If you’re unable to speak safely, you can also email [email protected] or text 604-652-1867. If you are in danger, call 911.