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When Safer at Home Isn’t
With domestic abuse rising, hotline calls increasing in complexity and people isolated more than ever due to COVID-19 precautions, advocates say it’s critical to stay connected to your neighbors.
Madison Magazine, January 2021
TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains details about domestic violence.
LINES OF SUPPORT: Domestic Abuse Intervention Services’ free and anonymous help line is 608-251-4445 or 800-747-4045. UNIDOS offers a Spanish-speaking 24/7 domestic violence help line (24/7 linea de ayuda): 800-510-9195.
We meet in an undisclosed location, separated by distance and masks, just three of us – me, a legal advocate and a domestic violence victim whose situation became so untenable during the COVID-19 pandemic that she is finally divorcing her perpetrator. She’s still in the thick of it, but she wants to tell her story. We, first and foremost, want her safe.
We’ll call her Sam. We won’t describe what she looks like, where she grew up or works. We’ll strip all identifying details because she is still unsafe physically, emotionally and legally. The remaining details were chosen because they’re all too common, and therefore sadly anonymous. Although every relationship is unique, most domestic violence situations have similar power dynamics, legally recognized red flags and an escalating trajectory. That escalation is what experts fear as we enter the long, cold winter of this pandemic and the uncertainties of the coming year.
To continue reading please pick up the January 2021 issue of Madison Magazine at area newsstands, or click through to the online version here.
—Maggie Ginsberg is an associate editor at Madison Magazine and a long-time award-winning freelance writer in Madison, Wisconsin