cluded that "economic upheaval continues to have a disruptive effect on male-female relationships". The researchers added that the Great Recession "led to an increase in men's controlling behavior toward their wives and romantic partners." Instances of domestic violence are, of

course, not always perpetrated by men, however, this tends to be the case in the majority of reported circumstances. What's more, financial abuse is al-

ready common in domestic violence situ- ations. In fact, one study found that almost all survivors they worked with had a partner who controlled their use of or ac- cess to economic resources or took advan- tage of them economically. Studies also show that abusers are

more likely to murder their partners during times of crisis. Consequently, the corona- virus is exacerbating an already volatile situation.

ADVERSE EFFECTS ON CHILDREN Children also are being impacted

more than in the past. With schools, com- munity centers, and public playgrounds shut down in many areas, there are no more safe refuges for kids. Before the coronavirus, these places

served as safe spaces where children could escape the violence at home. Now, they're stuck at home and likely witnessing more domestic abuse than in the past.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PROBLEM When victims of domestic abuse are

forced to stay in their homes or in close proximity to someone who abuses them, the likelihood that they will experience additional abuse is significant. In fact, people who abuse others will use any tool to their advantage—including a national health concern like COVID-19. According to advocates at the Na-

tional Domestic Violence Hotline, COV- ID-19 can impact intimate partner vio- lence in a number of ways. Here are some things people who abuse others may do to control their partners during the pan- demic:

• Withhold necessary items like hand soap, face masks, hand sanitizers, and disinfectants

• Share misinformation about the coro- navirus to scare or control their partners

• Feel more justified in increasing their JUNE 2020 25

isolation tactics

• Use COVID-19 as a scare tactic so that their partners will not visit family mem- bers

• Prevent their partners from getting medical attention even if they have symptoms

• Threaten to infect them with the virus if they have symptoms

• Accuse their partner of trying to give them the virus, especially if their partner is an essential employee or healthcare worker

• Prevent their partner from going to work—even if they are a healthcare worker

• Withhold money, food, insurance cards, and more

• Threaten to cancel health insurance or prevent them from getting medical care or prescriptions for existing conditions • Abuse alcohol and drugs as a way of coping with stress

• Escalate abuse due to financial strain and emotional stress caused by the pan- demic

• Blame and ridicule their partner every time something goes wrong

• Use COVID-19 as an excuse to keep their partners from seeing the kids if they're separated

• Create strict and controlling rules about behavior at home, yet find fault even if rules are followed

• Engage in additional emotional abuse and gaslighting behaviors

TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE During this pandemic, it's not uncom-

mon for you to face even more fear and anxiety than you normally would—espe- cially if you're torn between staying physically and emotionally safe and pre- venting the spread of a highly contagious disease.

While everyone's situation is different,

here are a few suggestions for dealing with abusive situations. These tips may help make this uncertain time feel a little more manageable.

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