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Violence does not stop during a pandemic

Violence does not stop during a pandemic.

Actually, the stress and financial strain can increase violence and isolation is a key tactic abusers use in order to gain power and control.

With social distancing encouraging isolation, it makes sense that domestic violence numbers are on the rise. When the phones at Hope Shores Alliance stopped ringing in March, it was not because abusers stopped abusing, but instead it became more difficult, sometimes impossible, for people to reach out and ask for help.

With the uncertainty COVID-19 brings, I am writing to let those in our surrounding communities know how they can be part of the solution.

Checking in on loved ones, working to maintain relationships during periods of isolation, believing, supporting, validating, and sharing information will create avenues of support.

Abusers seek the vulnerable, so it’s up to us to actively combat those efforts by checking on our vulnerable loved ones. We should all be asking non-judgmental questions when we feel something isn’t right. There are resources available to those who need and want help.

Hope Shores Alliance continues to provide help and support to anyone experiencing domestic and sexual violence, as well as dating violence and stalking. We work around the current and changing restrictions, utilizing technology, and following in-person protocols for safety. We recognize the difficulty of speaking out and want people to know they are the eyes and ears that can help others. Our Help and Support Line is available 24/7 (800-396-9129). We can be reached on Facebook Messenger and can schedule in-person or remote appointments.

As we all take things day by day, we are relying on community members to take initiative and combat violence in our community.

SARA FLICK,

Outreach and services advocate

Hope Shores Alliance

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