Quarantined with an abuser?

Quarantined with an abuser?

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Although the circumstances around the general quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic are less than desirable, some of us are able to make the best of it by spending quality time with our families and loved ones. The reality is that it presents an opportunity that many of us would not otherwise have had to be more present at home with the ones we love.

But what about those among us who are facing double terror — terrorised by the threat of the global coronavirus crisis happening externally, and terrorised by the domestic crisis internal to their homes?

While some families converge on the living room floor for a family board game or charades, or maybe just recline to watch a nice movie, others are seeking refuge in a remote section of the house to escape conflict and possibly abuse; quarantined with an abuser.

What may go down in history as a blessing in disguise for some due to increased bonding and reconciliation opportunities may be another person's worst nightmare. Where do you go now that you are unable to go anywhere really? Who do you talk to? The reality is that the work-from-home requirement may have interrupted the daily escape from misery for many.

This again may well be the saving grace for many relationships as it presents an opportunity for some couples to rediscover their love for each other and rekindle outed fires. On the other hand, however, those with irreconcilable differences, and particularly those in abusive relationships, may not feel as lucky. This is the time when the crisis hotlines for women should be most accessible.

My word of advice to women in this situation would be to seek help now; speak with a pastor, a counsellor, or other trusted advisors about your situation and get help. It may be that you have to turn to a close relative or friend who is willing to assist you with a place to stay until all this is over, but that may be better for your physical, mental, or emotional health than allowing yourself to be subjected to increasing abuse.

Last of all, take a stand. Take a stand against the abuse you have been experiencing, whether physically, sexually, verbally, or emotionally. Know that you deserve better and that you should be treated with respect in every situation. Appreciate and guard your self-worth. Understand that abuse is never earned and that you have rights. It only takes one step to start the journey to self-empowerment.

Keisha Thomas


Predestined, for Women's Empowerment and Wellness


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