When Staying Home isn’t Safe
Resilient Spaces Program Facilitator,
Holly Jasinski, MS RYT
At the end of March, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order. This order requires Michigan businesses to temporarily suspend all noncritical in-person operations. Additionally, nearly all Michigan residents are to stay in their homes except to engage in outdoor activity that follows social distancing recommendations. These measures are critical to our ability to manage the growing cases of COVID-19 and to help prevent the spread of the virus. But what if staying home isn’t safe?
For domestic violence survivors, stay at home mandates can be deadly. With nearly all businesses and community gathering places temporarily shuttered, there simply aren‘t places to go for respite or to reach out for help. Many domestic violence survivors experience their place of employment as a safe place; a welcome escape from an unpredictable home environment where they are constantly walking on eggshells.
Similarly, places of worship offer sanctuary, hope, and human connection – potentially lifesaving supports for individuals in abusive relationships – that cannot be replicated in online platforms. Even hair salons are closed for the foreseeable future. Caroline Kampfshulte of Jeffrey Richard Salon in Grand Rapids explains how salons can be safe places for domestic violence survivors: “I have a bond with my clients, they trust me and are comfortable being completely vulnerable in my chair.”
Disclosing abuse to haircare professionals is so common that fourteen states have already introduced legislation requiring salon professionals to be trained to recognize and respond to domestic violence.
In an effort to enhance these potential lifelines for survivors, the Resilient Spaces training program has been helping local businesses and faith leaders to recognize the signs of domestic violence, implement procedures for responding safely, and connect individuals and families in need to critical resources. While the ability to provide in-person trainings is on hold, there are still things that you can do to help domestic violence survivors:
- Spread the word about domestic violence during this time– share this blog on social media.
- Know that free and confidential services for domestic and sexual violence survivors continue to be available through Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence 24/7 during this crisis: 1-800-848-5991
- If you are an employer that offers an Employee Assistance Program, make sure to let your staff know about its availability, even if your business is temporarily closed.
- If you are a faith leader or a member of a faith community, attempt to reach out individually to all members of your congregation to check in – not just to those who you perceive to be vulnerable. Domestic violence survivors often work hard to create an appearance that everything is “fine” per their abuser’s threats and demands. Keep in mind that abusers are often well-liked and may have a public persona that is charming and charismatic.
Learn more about how to help domestic violence survivors during shelter in place orders, by contacting Holly Jasinski, Resilient Spaces Program Facilitator: 616.212.9366 firstname.lastname@example.org Online trainings and one-on-one consultations are available via Zoom.