Los Angeles, CA

Intimate partner violence; A severe problem that continues to grow

Narda Maren

How can we help stop it?

Imagen de Diana Cibotari en PixabayPhoto by Diana Cibotari from Pixabay
No, it's ok; I just slipped and hurt my shoulder. - Brenda Arriola, 24-year-old woman.*

Brenda is a young woman who lives in my neighborhood, we met at the supermarket, and I greeted her with a hug since we had a lot of time without seeing us. She complained subtly, and I asked her if something was wrong; she told me the typical answer: She had slipped and injured herself.

I noticed a sad expression on her face; I asked her if she was sure she did not need help, and Brenda said no, everything was fine.

I know Brenda's boyfriend. He has a reputation for being jealous, controlling, and violent. Still, she says that he would never hurt her, that he gets upset with her because she could be distracted, and forget to tell him some things like, for example, when she visits a friend.

I have no proof that any beating caused the blow by her partner, but because of how nervous she got, I highly doubt that she hurt herself.

This seems like something out of a television series or a movie but is much more frequent than we imagine. Like my neighbor, hundreds of thousands of women in Los Angels City and worldwide suffer from domestic violence.

I sometimes wonder why they don't do anything? Why don't they report it? But it is easy to see it from the outside, and we do not know the psychological situation that the other person may be going through.

Violence against women in Los Angeles

The World Health Organization tells us that, according to reports from different countries in the world, including China, the United Kingdom, and The United States of America, it seems that there has been a considerable increase in the number of cases of domestic violence concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nury Martínez, president of the Los Angeles City Council, announced a pilot program to support ten shelters financially and thus to receive the most affected in the area. According to Los Angeles authorities, domestic violence cases increased during the pandemic, which has caused many of the victims to flee their homes to the streets. _Univision.

Pacoima, East Los Angeles, the community is still shocked after a woman, Jasmine Flores, was shot and killed apparently by her ex-partner in front of her 3-year-old daughter. Women's Center affirms that once the abuse begins, must be stopped the situation before it continues to worsen and ensures that there are resources available in these cases.

Why do many women not report the abuse?

Although there are resources to report the abuser and ask for protection, many women do not.

Fear of making the situation worse, feelings that they are to blame, fear of being helpless, or fear that their children will lose a father are many factors that prevent thousands of women from reporting abuse, which can be so much physical and psychological.

Unfortunately, that fear that prevents them from leaving that hole can end badly, even in death.

What can we do?

If we know about a case of abuse and have the opportunity to talk to the person, let's try to help them. The WHO gives us some recommendations in this regard:

  • Keep regularly in touch with the person to check that they are safe, ensuring that they are safe to be in touch with you. Assume that a perpetrator of violence can see, hear and or monitor communications, so find out how best to communicate with the person that you are concerned about.
  • Find out what services for survivors of violence against women (e.g., shelters, hotlines, counseling services, women's organizations) are functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic and make this information available through your networks and social media. Be discrete without the abuser finding out.
  • If someone you know needs urgent help for whatever reason, be prepared to call emergency health services, the police, health center, or hotline. 

In addition to this, if you suspect that someone has some abuse, try to persuade the person that they are not at fault. There is nothing that justifies the physical or emotional abuse of a woman.

Although my neighbor Brenda continues to deny it, I remain vigilant and carefully let her know that I am with her if she needs my help.

*Changed the name and location for the protection of the young woman.

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