On April 24 Odnoklassniki social media network (OK.RU) hosted another livestream of the “Telling the Truth” (“Po Pravde Govorya”) series. UN experts, psychologists and celebrity guests discussed how to survive the self-isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, avoid serious family conflicts, and what to do in case of domestic violence.
More than 1.7 million OK.RU users from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries have watched the broadcast.
Life hacks from a champion
Olympic champion, famous figure skater Alexei Yagudin shared with the viewers personal life hacks on how parents can help their children and each other get through self-isolation. It is by showing more warmness and attention, talking and negotiating, preventing and smoothing out conflicts.
Domestic violence during the epidemic: the scale of the problem
Ulziisuren Jamsran, UN Women Representative, spoke about the universal raise of domestic violence and cited the situation in Kyrgyzstan as an example.
“[Here] according to the government’s latest data, domestic violence rate has increased by 65%. We see an escalation of aggressive behavior towards women and children, a spike in suicide rates among children, even the young ones.”
Handling family tensions: a psychologist’s advice
Speaking of domestic violence, Lyudmila Petranovskaya, a famous Russian psychologist, noted that good relationships become better in self-isolation, but poor ones worsen even more. “This is a struggling period of time […] and an opportunity for a compelled revision of the relationships. Look at the shadowy places and find solutions together.” To cope with bursts of anger she suggested treating oneself and other people around with care.
“When a close person gives us acceptance, shows signs of love, like a hug, in a stressful situation, […] it becomes easier for us, we start feeling relieved and relaxed on a hormonal level. It can be a joke or a game, everything that can give us the understanding that we are still in touch with each other, we matter and we are heard,” says Lyudmila Petranovskaya.
According to her, one-time breakdowns “are treated by taking care of yourself and others”. When violence is a consequence of a ‘cultural norm’ or a personal psychopathology of the abuser, it is important that someone knows about the difficult situation in the family. It is necessary to find any opportunity “to call the hotline, friends and find another place for living during self-isolation, because staying with an abuser is very dangerous. This threat is more serious than the coronavirus”.
What to do in a domestic violence situation
Yulia Godunova, Deputy Chairwoman of the Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS, spoke about a study conducted in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. According to it, 71% of women who have survived domestic violence did not seek help because of the fear of publicity and/or they were ashamed that they got in such situation. “The very call for help is very difficult,” explained Yulia and told the viewers what to do in case of a threat of domestic violence during self-isolation:
- If possible, get away from the abuser;
- If not, find the safest place in the house, where you can hide;
- Reach out to people, who can listen and help;
- Call the hotline or ask friends to get you the help you need.
In the last part of the live stream Mr. Vinay Saldanha, UNAIDS Special Adviser, Ms. Elena Orlova-Morozova, infectious disease specialist, MD-PhD, and Mr. Alexander Goliusov, Director of the UNAIDS Regional office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) answered the questions about the epidemic, testing and treatment for the coronavirus.
Viewers’ survey on the prevention of domestic violence
During the livestream viewers had a chance to participate in the survey and answer two questions. The responses distributed as follows:
Should you forgive a partner who showed violence?
- No, no way – 73%
- Possibly, yes, but with a trial period, if this happened only once – 13%
- Depends on the severity of the incident – 8%
- Possibly, yes, if partner is ready to take a course of therapy – 6%
What is the most needed in order to change the situation with domestic violence in your opinion?
- Changes in legislation – 48%
- More crisis centers and help services – 20%
- Wide media coverage of the problem – 16%
- Special lessons in educational institutions – 16%