Advocate Lani Elliott says she has had more people reach out to her since the lockdown | Photo courtesy of Lani Elliott
Domestic violence survivors turn to social media during lockdown
Reports of incidents are appearing almost every hour on Facebook and other platforms
by Destiny Thomas
Domestic violence survivors are turning to social media for help in dangerous situations during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to the administrator of a Facebook group for survivors.
Melissia Kaczmarek said membership in her Saskatchewan-based Facebook group has grown since the lockdown which has resulted in more than 15 posts on the page every day.
On various pages you can find pictures and stories of a new incident every hour.
A woman who posted to a group said the danger increased for her when she lost her job in the city due to COVID-19 restrictions and could no longer pay rent.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said in an interview she returned to her home community, where her abuser is able to stalk and beat her again.
She said she escaped one encounter with stitches and staples to her head and bruised ribs that make breathing painful. Now she hides in her bedroom, living in fear that he will break in and beat her again.
Therapists and support groups have gone to Facebook to assist those who need support.
“It’s really hard to talk about. I still feel a little traumatized,” she said.
Those already in danger are more at risk as they have to stay confined with their abusers, said Lani Elliott, a motivational speaker and domestic violence survivor.
Elliott said she has had more victims reach out to her since the lockdown began.
“A lot fear for their lives,” she said.
She recommends that if they are able, people should get out of the situation or move if it is safe for them to do so.
Elliott has distributed online resources for therapists who do video or phone calls and advice on creating safety plans for the victims.
These safety plans include sharing a safe word with a designated family or friend that is either posted on a status or sent through a text to alert that designated person to send help to the victim’s house.
Destiny Thomas is a Cree language literacy major at First Nations University of Canada and a mother. She is originally from Pelican Lake First Nation.