When stringent social distancing measures went into place to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in mid-March, the calls began. These weren’t calls to doctors from people concerned about symptoms, or to unemployment officers from people without work — though those calls started, too.
Instead, they were calls to domestic violence hotlines, from abuse survivors who suddenly found themselves in a bind. With a pandemic raging, going out isn’t necessarily safe. But for the nearly 10 million Americans affected by domestic violence every year, staying home isn’t safe, either. What’s more, social distancing, and the resulting stress and isolation, dramatically exacerbate survivors’ risk of abuse.