Kimberlé Crenshaw created arguably one of the most influential terms of the 21st century–intersectionality. To her “Intersectionality was a prism to bring to light dynamics within discrimination law that weren’t being appreciated by the courts”. At the time the term saw no traction, but in the wake of increased awareness of social issues, it became strongly relevant.
While the term is used to describe how individuals can be discriminated against based on more than one identity at a single time, it also can be used to describe the ways that people with certain identities are differently affected by crisis. Survivors of domestic violence face challenges during COVID that are unique to their struggles. Let’s discuss what can be done.
During COVID-19 agencies report decreases in capacity to help victims due to various reasons whether it be government mandates or virus outbreaks . Another change during COVID in supporting survivors of Domestic Violence is an increase in serving them virtually . So COVID has negatively impacted the access to resources that a survivor of Domestic Violence has access to. You may be thinking that is not as big of an issue as COVID has become the number one concern of most, shifting any other concern to the back of their mind. However, circumstances people find themselves in due to COVID actually contribute to increased domestic violence according to the CDC. Unemployment and isolation from society are factors which increase domestic violence . So, what we see is a limitation or challenge for agencies serving survivors of Domestic Violence but an increase in rates of Domestic Violence. There are still things which can be done. Let’s discuss what is needed.
1. Financial support: if a person experiencing domestic violence has lost their job and their abuser also has no financial support, the abuser may keep them in a dangerous situation. Government agencies and organizations have offered grants for people experiencing Domestic Violence in order to help them achieve financial freedom, but with increased rates of violence it will never be enough.
2. Community support for groups providing resources for survivors of Domestic Violence: while agencies have had to adapt to safe procedures during the pandemic, increased support from their community–whether financial or in volunteer support–allows these organizations to increase their resources.
3. A knowledgeable community: if a community is aware of the resources available for persons experiencing Domestic Violence, this could drastically reduce the abuse a victim has to endure. Quickly pointing victims to the appropriate resources helps ensure they do not lose their motivation to receive assistance.