During this crisis, it’s important to remember that one out of three women are in an abusive relationship or has experienced abuse in her lifetime.
For women in emotionally or psychologically abusive relationships who aren’t aware of their situation, a time like this is particularly dangerous.
The abuser may lie, gaslight, manipulate, or play mind games with his victim, as a way to entertain himself or to feel some semblance of power in a world that is increasingly out of his control.
For example, in Utah, the current global crisis was compounded by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake and several large aftershocks. The damage, caused by the earthquake, to historical buildings in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas, has disrupted many lives.
The number one reason emotionally and psychologically abused women don’t get out of their relationships is because they don’t know they’re in one. They also don’t recognize that they’re victims of sexual coercion.
More isolated from friends and family than usual but in close proximity to their abuser for weeks, or even months, many victims may begin to see the truth of their situation.
Even without a global crisis, once a woman does finally realize that she’s a victim of emotional and psychological abuse, setting boundaries for her safety is difficult.
It may seem impossible to keep herself safe when her government has imposed a quarantine.
During this pandemic, people may blame the emotional and psychological abuse on stress, worry or fear.
They may say, “This couple has had marriage problems for a while now. Now that they’re in close quarters, of course, their marriage problems are escalating.”
This is approach is unsafe for victims of emotional and psychological abuse.
This type of abuse is not related to stress or marital issues. It isn’t a communication issue.-Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Telling a victim that the abusive behaviors she’s experiencing are just because “he’s stressed” or “has cabin fever” only puts her in more danger.
In most cases of emotional and psychological abuse, calling the police is useless because there hasn’t been any physical violence.
Often, victims don’t get appropriate help when they reach out to therapists, clergy, family members or friends because they aren’t educated about emotional and psychological abuse.
Those who are uneducated about abuse usually want to “help them communicate,” or find out what “his underlying issues are,” whatever they may be.
They’re simply trying to stop what they believe is the worst-case scenario: Divorce.
Similar to the initial claims that if we all stay calm, the coronavirus would just go away, a victim can’t calm her way out of an abusive situation.
During the lockdown, victims of emotional and psychological abuse may need to quarantine themselves within their quarantine.
They may need to go to different parts of the house, practice gray rock or other methods of emotional detachment.
If at all possible, they may need to find friends or family members to stay with for the duration of the lockdown.
Whether you’ve had to quarantine yourself during your quarantine or have been able to make it to a safe place, Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group can help women who are victims of emotional and psychological abuse get live, ethical, online support during times of crisis, such as this. Each BTR Group session is led by a certified betrayal trauma coach.
The Betrayal Trauma Recovery podcast is a free way for victims to get educated and feel supported by women who understand their situation.