Another effect of the Corona virus...a tragedy in one act.
Often when we are confronted with something horrible we miss the effects that aren't immediately observable. The primary effect of the virus can be death. The secondary effect is almost certainly suffering. And that suffering can come in a lot of different ways and intensities that most of us can't even imagine. Our blog today is about a tragedy that happens behind closed doors that has been exacerbated by the emergence of Covid-19 and the resulting pandemic. The numbers are staggering. I will let Yvonne Harding, the Manager of Resource Development at the AWHL take it from here:
When the pandemic hit and emergency lock-down measures were announced in the spring, the Assaulted Women’s Helpline expected an increase in calls to our 24/7 crisis counselling line from desperate women now at home with abusive partners, isolated from friends and family, and cut off from community supports. We had experienced spikes in calls in prior times of crisis. Our counsellors were ready for an uptick in calls. But we did not expect our call volumes to double. In the six-month period between March and September, counsellors answered more than 55,000 calls. By comparison, fifty thousand calls were answered the previous fiscal year! We have been able to handle this extraordinary increase in calls because of the dedication of our counselling staff, and the overwhelming generosity and support from the community.
At the beginning of November, which just happened to be “Woman Abuse Prevention Month”, Deanna from commUNITY emailed to offer support. Deanna is no stranger to the Helpline, having been a volunteer for many years she knew all too well the risks many women were facing in their homes and wanted to help. And help she did. Along with her sister Darby and brother-in-law Colin, commUNITY not only donated $2 from the sale of every orchid mask sold in the month of November, but they also brought additional awareness to the issue of domestic violence through social media. We are so grateful for organizations such as commUNITY, who generously support local organizations such as ours. Their valuable donations of masks to the vulnerable populations we serve further helps to reduce the spread of this virus which has upended all our lives.
For front line workers in emergency women’s shelters, masks are critical to ensuring their personal health and safety and that of their residents. Whether you are on the front lines or supporting your community in other ways, masks are essential to our collective well being. So do your part and have a ready supply of masks for every occasion. Or have a zoom call over the holidays and have a safe and healthy holiday season.
Manager of Resource Development
Assaulted Women’s Helpline (AWHL)
If you are someone you know is experiencing abuse, please contact the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511. Counsellors are available 24/7. If calling is difficult, online counselling is available at www.awhl.org M-F, from 11am-8pm.Read our blog about Virtual Holiday Gathering Ideas