The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has been scary. Really scary. For so many of us, bitching about being stuck at home with our families or not being able to go to the hairdresser to get our roots done has been the shit we’ve been complaining about for months.
The thing is, we’re the lucky ones.
For so many women (and men in smaller numbers), living with an abusive domestic partner during the pandemic has become a whole new nightmare. Trapped inside with someone who is also frustrated, but uses their hands and/or words as a means to control and berate their partner is a kind of hell I could never imagine. Yet, it happens every day around the world. This is nothing new though, and there seems to be no signs of it slowing down. In fact, since the Covid pandemic the incidences of domestic violence have increased significantly.
For these women and men, reaching out to family and friends for help has become a whole other level of hard. The courage and fear it takes to break away is immense under ‘normal’ circumstances, but right now, I’m sure it feels damn near impossible. This is why it’s important that everyone is aware of a new signal that is doing the rounds on social media. Originating on TikTok, the signal is a way of letting someone know that you’re in danger and in need of urgent help and support.
Here’s the video that demonstrates the signal, which shows a woman placing her thumb inside her palm and folding her fingers over the top…
The Canadian Women’s Foundation developed the signal as a way for women to reach out for help in a discreet way. The foundation’s vice-president of pubic engagement, Andrea Gunraj, said of the signal, “If I see this on a call, I would know to go and check in with that person – safely.
“It’s just letting them know that ‘I’m here for you, I saw you use the signal, I know what that means, and I can help hook you up to support.'”
The action to take after receiving the signal is another beast entirely, with things like texting or emailing the person potentially too risky, particularly when the perpetrator may have control over their partner’s devices. Support services such as your state’s Domestic Violence Line (1800 800 098 in Victoria), 1800 RESPECT, your local police station or Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre in Victoria could help with advice to safely help the person in your life that needs it.
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