When Home becomes a Prison – Domestic Abuse in a Pandemic
“You do not have to stay at home. You can leave. If you are ready and can safely do so, call us or call in, we are open 24/7 – 091 56 59 85.”
As we try to cope with an extended third wave of COVID restrictions, most of us can acknowledge that it is through support from loved ones – even if most connections are of the virtual kind – that our feelings of isolation are somewhat reduced. Our choices about staying in or going out continue to be severely limited. While we naturally do not like our choices to be taken away from us, we know these restrictions are for the greater good. So we do our best to play our part in helping to stop the spread of this virus.
Being more confined and forced to spend more time together in the house can undoubtedly lead to frustration - we manage this by going out for a walk to clear our heads or by getting out from each other’s feet. We do this because we love and care for each other.
Imagine then what it must be like for those who cannot leave, for women and children who are isolating with an abusive and controlling partner, who can now use this virus to further wield power over those whom he claims to love, indeed sometimes doing it in the name of love. What choices do these women have when their home becomes a prison rather than a safe haven?
Domestic abuse and coercive control, by their very nature, ensure that the woman’s world becomes smaller; with COVID this is even more so. Abusers use isolation to prevent their victims from connecting with the world.
Since the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020, our service at Modh Eile House has seen an increase in the numbers of women reporting that their partners are using COVID to restrict them further. Some women report that lockdown has made the control a lot more obvious, that in pre-COVID times they managed a little better because he was out at work, or in the pub, or playing golf at the weekends – times she could use to catch up with friends or family or at least have some time to herself.
Now women are reporting lists of ‘rules’ they are expected to live by in the home. From keeping children quiet and out of his way, to being given lists of jobs around the house which must be completed on time and in line with an ever-changing standard. Women report not having any reprieve from this relentless control and abuse. They speak of not being allowed to go for a walk or to the shops, of having their telephone calls and social media monitored or their phone taken away. They whisper to us down the phone in case he might hear or they hang up abruptly because he has entered the room leaving us concerned about their safety. They speak of him checking shopping receipts and of telling her what she can wear; of all access to family and friends or any support networks taken away. They speak of unbearable loneliness and isolation.
Then there are women who have left the relationship and are parenting alone, who worry about court mandated access and having to send children to fathers who flout COVID restrictions, putting themselves and their children at risk. They worry about getting ill or contracting the virus and having no one to look after their children. With many other services shut or having limited capacity, they have lost important social supports from groups they may have attended or cuts in mental health and disability services.
When things get tough in our world we generally have a way of pulling together and supporting each other in whatever way that we can. COPE Galway has certainly witnessed this coming together of our community to help those who are vulnerable during this time. Those of us who work with victims and survivors of domestic abuse know only too well how isolation is a tool that abusers use to prevent their victims from accessing support.
If you suspect a woman you know may be experiencing any of the above or you’re concerned about a friend or family member that you haven’t heard from for a while, reach out and check-in on them and if you think it is appropriate, tell them about our domestic abuse service.
Modh Eile House is a 24-hour support service for women and children who experience abuse in the home. The service is also open to women who have left the relationship and are still experiencing abuse from their ex-partners. We provide refuge, a helpline and an outreach service and adhere to COVID safety guidelines. Most of all we provide a listening ear.
Call our 24-hour helpline
091 56 59 85
Jackie Carroll, Training & Development, COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service
COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service – proudly supporting women and children for 40 years.
Our very own Sylvia Power chats with freelance journalist Barry Pierce.
Be sure to check out Sylvia's Literature Show on NUIG's Flirt FM 101.3.
You can follow Barry on Twitter @BarryPierce. We hope you enjoy the interview!
Song lyrics are one of the most underrated pieces of literature. Although not all of them are masterpieces
“Yeah, right, picture that with a Kodak
Or better yet, go to Times Square
Take a picture of me with a Kodak”
Here at ROPES we have compiled a list of our favourite song lyrics.
You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye
-The Last Resort ,The Eagles
2. Slow down , you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be before your time
-Vienna, Billy Joel
3. Starry starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue
-Vincent ,Don McClean
4. Oh, through the wilderness
How come even together there can be loneliness?
Oh,our heart’s a mess
But it’s our only defense to brave the wilderness
-One Foot , Walk the Moon
5. Gonna stand up
And I'm gonna matter
'Cause I've had enough of my dreams being shattered
-Girl in the Movies, Dolly Parton
Back to the shore
Back where I'm known
Back in my own
If I tell you
To go fuck yourself
Or if I say that you’re beautiful to me?
-Affection, Cigarettes After Sex
This week, the team at ROPES are delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with Jack Power, investigative journalist for the Irish times. Jack spoke to us regarding his experiences as a young journalist entering the field of journalism, the impact he believes the COVID-19 pandemic and social media evolution have had on newspaper publication, and the advice he would give to those hoping to establish a career in a creative industry. Jack has been a news reporter at the Irish Times since April 2017, and he won Young Journalist of the Year at the 2019 Irish Newsbrands annual newspaper awards.
- So to get started I thought we could get a bit of background on you first. Tell us everything, how you got into books, your undergrad, how you decided on the MA in Literature and Publishing, anything at all that you want to share.
Our very own Sylvia Power chats with poet Pádraig Ó Tuama.
Be sure to check out Sylvia's , Literature Show on NUIG's Flirt FM 101.3.
So. You’re a writer, and you’re eyeing up that grant or bursary that would help you towards achieving your creative potential - but the thought of filling out a tedious application form stresses you out far more than writing? My guess is that you’re not alone there. Applying for funding can be time-consuming and daunting, however, our tips below should make that process easier.
Here at ROPES we understand writer’s block like nobody else. We could write a book on it ....maybe after we watch just one more TikTok. For a little inspiration we have compiled two lists to help ignite a creative spark! One is for poetry and the other for fiction. These are definitely interchangeable, so just take that idea and go wild!
There is a long standing tradition of charitable partnerships linked to the production of ROPES. It is a source of great pride for us to be able to continue the tradition this year by raising money for COPE Galway.
Having trouble getting started with a writing project? Never fear, here are a collection of helpful writing tips from the Editorial Team at ROPES!
COPE Galway - Modh Eile House
19 Feb, 2021
Barry Pierce in conversation with Sylvia Power
14 Feb, 2021
Poetic Song Lyrics
5 Feb, 2021
Interview With Jack Power
22 Jan, 2021
ME to ME, in conversation
15 Jan, 2021
Pádraig Ó Tuama in conversation with Sylvia Power
8 Jan, 2021
Chin Up Writers – The help you need is out there!
3 Dec, 2020