By Saraana Jamraj
“Safer at home” is the case for many residents as the country attempts to flatten the curve and stay healthy, but, as Commissioner Julie Fishman pointed out, that’s not the case for everyone, especially those living with an abuser.
At their first virtual meeting since the pandemic began, Fishman used her time to draw attention to domestic violence. It is an issue she said hasn’t gotten enough attention lately, and one she foresees coming to light more prominently as the shelter-in-place order continues.
“The people that are not safe in their homes—I’m talking about victims of domestic violence that are stuck at home with their abuser and may or may not be aware that there still is help for them through the National Domestic Violence Hotline,” she said.
She shared the hotline’s number and urged residents in danger to call, even during stay-at-home orders.
“You are not stuck at home with your abuser. If you are being abused—physically, mentally, sexually—please reach out,” said Fishman.
According to Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, their organization is preparing for a spike of domestic violence due to the economic effects of COVID-19—when several people are out of work, feeling financially disempowered, and spending more time in close quarters with their abusers.
Financial insecurity, coupled with the increase in gun sales, has left many survivors and advocates worried for people still in turmoil in home situations.
Fishman strongly recommended that people experiencing any of those struggles reach out to the hotline.
“There is help even during this coronavirus time; you are not stuck at home, so please call,” she said.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or their live chat service.
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- Selene Raj is a writer and a Florida International University graduate. Born in Trinidad and raised in America, she completed her Master's in Mass Communications in 2020, and has been living in Coral Springs since 2004. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and loves reporting and sharing stories that are as complex and meaningful as the people who live in them.