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High risk for domestic violence victims during COVID-19 pandemic

Self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic can bring a huge risk for people in abusive relationships. We met with a local counselor to talk about why...

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —

Domestic violence affects millions of women, men, and children every year. For most of us, our home is our safe space. But, for victims of domestic violence, being ordered to stay at home can leave them feeling like there’s nowhere to turn.

We caught up with Monretta Vega, a Counselor who practices with Huntsville Psychotherapy and Counseling Services. Vega tells us, “This could continue from morning-- wake-up time, to when we possibly go to sleep, if we’re able to go to sleep.”

Vega tells us that “home” isn’t somewhere that domestic violence victims would consider to ever be truly safe. 

Most victims don’t realize, initially, that the harm from these relationships they’re experiencing, isn’t normal. Vega says, “If you have been in this situation, it can seem very normal, that you get treated in a way that’s disrespectful or belittling… or you get physically abused or verbally abused. This is not normal, but it can seem very normal to you because it’s a part of your daily routine.”

And domestic violence could impact anyone.

Vega tells our reporter, “It isn’t just a two-person relationship a lot of the time, even though that’s the highest statistic. It can also be a family dynamic. So, when we’re talking about domestic violence, we want to make sure that we’re being open and diverse across the board and providing resources for everyone.”

With self-quarantining, social distancing and all the COVID-19 changes, domestic violence victims could be left with nowhere to go to escape violence at home. Vega says, “A little sense of peace, a little sense of comfort is so important to a domestic violence victim.”

Monretta Vega says there are many conflicting thoughts that could prevent a victim from seeking help. She adds, “We are in love, we don’t want to get anyone in trouble, we don’t want to cause any more confusion or ‘drama’, as people like to say… so we have so many different mixed emotions.” 

But there are resources available. 

Crisis Services of North Alabama has a Helpline for local shelters and Domestic Violence Hotlines for Madison, Limestone, Morgan and Jackson counties.

You can even browse their site in private mode and press a "quick escape" button to leave the site in case an abuser is near.

Monretta Vega says seeking help is the first and most important step. 

She tells us, “For domestic violence victims, they just hold it inside because it seems easier to hold it inside than to really speak the truth. And so, having a safe place, a resource, a safe-zone, and just speaking the truth is so important.”

You can also receive local assistance from Crisis Services of North Alabama using their 24/7 HELPline at (256) 716-1000. 

Here’s a list of resources available if you or a loved one is thinking about taking their own life:

Crisis Text Line 24/7 by texting “START” to 741-741.

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