COVID-19 brings an increase in sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence

Local organization, Southwest Crisis Center, offers support and resources
Guest Editorial

Earlier this month, Minnesota Governor Walz reported that two-thirds of police calls over the weekend were related to domestic violence.

As individuals are coping with the uncertainty of the COVID- 19 virus, loss of income and staying in their homes, the stress can be overwhelming. Abusers often resort to the use of manipulation, power, control and violence, correlating to higher incidence of sexual assault and exploitation.

In Southwest Minnesota, the rural landscape already lends itself to isolation. Add to that calls for social distancing and stay-at-home orders, and there is a perfect storm for escalating instances of both domestic and sexual violence.

The staff and advocates at the Southwest Crisis Center provide critical assistance to individuals experiencing domestic and sexual violence and as critical sector workers, will continue to provide those services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and while we’re certainly drawing attention to that abuse, we’re also preparing to help those who might be in a vulnerable situation due to domestic concerns.

We know that the stay-at-home order and this time of uncertainty is going to increase anxiety, anger and frustration and when that happens, individuals and families are at risk of physical harm at the hands of others.

The Southwest Crisis Center is raising awareness this month about sexual assault and how communities can respond to reduce the occurrence or to encourage reporting and support. Survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence have access to a 24-hour safe line to report incidents or seek resources.

It’s important to believe someone when they disclose that they have experienced sexual violence. You can be aware of how your friends and family are behaving and be supportive.

Often the best thing someone can hear is, “I believe you. Thank you for sharing.”

We’re here to help those who experience sexual violence.”

 

Southwest Crisis Center serves residents of Jackson, Cottonwood, Nobles, Rock, and Pipestone counties who are or have been victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, sexual harassment, stalking, and child abuse. Visit www.mnswcc.org

 

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