What if home is the place I fear most?
Less three months ago, the term “social distancing” didn’t exist in the way it does today. Less than two months ago, if you would have told us that we would be encouraged to stay in our homes for weeks on end because of a life-threatening pandemic and that every event, outing in the community, and classes as we know them at the university would completely change, we would have never believed you. It feels as though the nation has come to an unthinkable halt.
Staying at home in comfy clothing all day honestly sounds like a nice break from the everyday routine and having to dress appropriately for class/work/internships/other commitments. That is, until we start to consider those who do not have safe living conditions as a result of domestic violence. Folks who are experiencing or have experienced power-based personal violence (stalking, dating/domestic violence, sexual assault) might be feeling increased isolation and loss of control during this time where answers are limited and the advice to stay home is non-negotiable.
When power and control are the root causes of violence, and isolation is a key tactic of abuse, this time can be triggering for folks who already have experienced these things at the hands of an abuser. Even more, some folks who are being encouraged to stay home might currently be in an abusive relationship with a domestic partner, roommate, family member, or other person at their home. For this reason, home is not always the safest place for all of our community members.
While this is our reality and is important to name, Safe Harbor advocates are working to support members of our community who are experiencing power-based personal violence during this time. We have already seen an increase in the number of dating and domestic violence cases reported since social distancing has been encouraged and become the new normal.
You are not alone. The situation you are in is not your fault and you do not deserve it.
Safe Harbor is working to provide resources remotely and support Auburn University students, faculty, and staff as best we can during this time. Here are some resources, divided up by university, local community, and national resources.