#SWAAYthenarrative

Quarantined With An Abuser? Here Are Some Tips For Staying Safe

3 Min Read
Health

As people are making sacrifices to shelter in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, there are hidden costs that we may not have realized. Domestic and sexual violence as well as child abuse, all thrive in sectors of silence. More often than not, the abuse happens at the hands of someone the victim knows, usually a caregiver or a member of their household. At a time when people are required to stay at home, they may be at an additional risk of violence while trying to keep safe from a virus. Police departments across the country are reporting an uptick in domestic violence calls, and that is only the incidents that are being reported. We have no way of knowing the full extent of this problem.

Stressors such as substance use disorders and financial strain are two of the primary underpinnings of violence, and both are rising by the minute in our country as we reach unemployment benchmarks we haven't seen since the Great Depression. Admissions to substance treatment facilities are skyrocketing, and while most of our economy is seeing a serious downturn, sales of alcohol are soaring. On top of that, as the fear around the virus began to spread in early 2020, toilet paper wasn't the only thing flying off the shelves — so were guns. States reported gun sales skyrocketed amid fears of civil unrest and governmental orders.

At a time when people are required to stay at home, they may be at unintended risk of violence while trying to keep safe from a virus.

Economic stressors, a stay-at-home order, more alcohol in the home, and additional access to guns are the exact kindling required for a flurry of interpersonal violence. What can we do to help? First and foremost, we must get the word out to all potential victims that help is still available. Hotlines are still being answered 24/7, and in many instances, agencies have also established texting hotlines and resources. While a shelter may not be desired by those attempting to leave a dangerous home right now, many domestic violence agencies are using hotels across the country to offer safe respite for anyone in danger. ChildLine [CJ1] calls are still being answered, and when necessary, workers are still going into homes for safety and security checks if child abuse is suspected and/or reported.

Second, check in on those whom you may be concerned about, and discreetly let them know you are there if they need anything. Due to being under the same roof, your loved one may not be able to speak freely for fear that the abuser can hear. Establish a code word that is known only between you and the victim. That way, if you get that word via text from that person or it's used when you call, you know that help is needed. Pre-establish what that help looks like. Does the person want you to call and create an interruption, or do you need to call 911?

Encourage the person to change the passwords on accounts and technology, though this could be risky if the offender is monitoring the person's phone and apps. If a victim goes to the National Domestic Violence Hotline webpage, there is a chat line feature that will immediately delete the messages off the phone as soon as the victim ends the conversation. This could give an opportunity for the victim to access resources, make a quick safety plan, or just get some needed guidance to help them get through the hour, day, or week.

Economic stressors, a stay-at-home order, more alcohol in the home, and additional access to guns are the exact kindling required for a flurry of interpersonal violence.

One of the most important things a victim can have is resources, be that a friend, neighbor, or family member. Encourage the person to make a safety plan, connect them to resources that can individualize a safety plan to the circumstances, listen to the victim, and respect their wishes. Your loved ones know the offender better than anyone else, and by doing something against their wishes, you may put them in additional harm. Reassure them that services such as counseling, food pantries, shelter options, transportation assistance, and restraining or protective orders are all still accessible in every town in America. Gently guide them while planting the seeds of life-saving resources.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-787-3224 . Visit www.thehotline.org for texting and other resources.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.