According to professionals who have experienced violence, the coronavirus has increased the use of power by some controlling loved ones.
Helsinki Sera sitting abroad in a car next to her husband. There is a common child in the back seat.
The man drives a considerable speeding and at the same time beats the wheel. Suddenly he stops the car and shouts that he is killing Sera. Then he shouts that he will kill the child and himself.
After a few minutes, the man calms down as quickly as he is enraged. He strokes Sera’s head and wonders why this doesn’t immediately forgive the threatening behavior.
Sera can’t, because a man’s stroking hands are also hitting hands.
Sera is constantly on alert with her husband and is not safe, especially at home. There, hiding from the eyes of others, the man’s hands throw goods on the walls, slap Sera on the bruises, tear him from the hair, squeeze his neck.
Eventually, the day comes when Sera goes to nursing work with her side and finger broken. She has strong makeup on her face that masks the traces of the previous night’s beats.
It is now a good year. Sera was unable to tell the truth about the origin of the traces to a coworker but went to the doctor after the beating.
Sera is not afraid to think about what would have happened if she had lived with the man during the coronavirus epidemic. Then they should have been in a small apartment all the time together.
Zero line phones started ringing in June when restrictions were lifted.
Zero line has been operating for less than four years free telephone service, which provides round-the-clock assistance to victims of intimate partner violence. Behind the service is the Department of Health and Welfare, and it is produced by the Setlementti Tampere organization.
During the coronavirus epidemic, calls have increased significantly. It is very typical for those who call the zero line to report long-lasting and worsening intimate partner violence, most often at home. Often they have not spoken to anyone before the call.
In the spring, there were a little fewer calls than usual. However, the phones started ringing in June when the restrictions were lifted.
“The number of incoming calls reached a record in June, July and August. In August, there were about 2,000 calls, ”says Nollalinja’s unit manager Päivi Sinkkonen.
The usual number of calls has been about 1,200 calls per month.
According to professionals who help those who have experienced violence, the coronavirus has increased the use of power by some controlling loved ones: under the guise of an epidemic, it has had one more reason to ban people from leaving home and meeting other people.
First and shelter homes The association states that there are no significant differences in the number of customers in shelters in January – August compared to the corresponding period last year.
In contrast, the union’s low-threshold open services have seen 30 percent more customers and chat visits have grown 800 percent from the same period last year. Chat services have been added since the beginning of the epidemic, when face-to-face help has been more difficult to provide.
Criminal inspector of the Helsinki Police Violent Crime Unit Jari Koski says that by the end of August, less than 10 per cent fewer cases of intimate partner violence have been investigated by the Helsinki police than at the same time last year. He still doesn’t think the situation is going to get better.
“The phenomenon of the corona spring is that some situations have gone unnoticed by the police when many have been more at home and a friend, co-worker or doctor has not seen that black eye.”
The jealous man lost his temper as Sera hugged his male friends.
In Finland the dating of Sera, who had lived since childhood, and the man who lived in Turkey at the time began as a long-distance relationship. A wedding was celebrated quite soon and the man moved to Finland.
The threatening behavior began immediately. While the couple was at the party, Sera found herself ashamed of the man’s impulsive behavior: the jealous man lost his temper as Sera hugged his male friends.
The man would have wanted a child immediately after marriage. Sera, on the other hand, first wanted to graduate, work and furnish a decent home. Children should come, but only later.
“Here I noticed the cultural differences – the fact that I have lived for a long time become Finnish in Finland. The male family in particular thought of the roles of woman and man in marriage differently than I did. I felt they were trying to influence his thinking. ”
Sera says the man and relatives pressured her to get pregnant. When he then started expecting a child, the man took turns supporting, alternately beating him. Sera felt he had no one else to rely on.
Even good there were moments. When he repented of his actions, the man was convincing: he swore not to do evil anymore, and according to his promises, he always tried to act.
However, the good moments dwindled all the time. Serak cursed, shouted, and barked at her husband in quarrels.
The man was angry about the little things. On the floor, too, the child’s toys lurking in shock were enough to trigger a rage.
Sera lost weight with a kilo, and she developed skin symptoms caused by stress, according to the doctor.
Domestic violence fails to record very well, because victims may not report it and professionals will not ask and record actions enough. Nor did Seraka even tell the doctor how the man’s hands had been around his neck and pressed so that it happened to be swallowed afterwards.
He also failed to say that the man had swung home with knives and threatened to take his own life.
“I was so at the end that I just cried: can you kill that this ends,” Sera says.
Seraan the punches were eventually stopped with the help of others.
Sera thanks a neighbor who responded to Sera’s request for help and called child protection. A relative who called the police. The police who told the doctor. And an emergency nurse who said Sera must go to the shelter.
After the shelter period, Sera helped the Helsinki Association of the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare to recover from domestic violence and arrange practical matters. The idea of the association’s Safety Network service is that those who have experienced intimate partner violence receive help all the way home.
Sera is also grateful for the diverse help she has received from the crisis and child worker. She says she has agreed to be interviewed because she wants to encourage other people who have experienced intimate partner violence to seek help.
Sera has received help with filling out forms as well as childcare, but perhaps most importantly, the peer support found through the Safety Net: for example, being able to chat with other people who have experienced intimate partner violence first in groups and then in new friendships.
“After the coronavirus, I had to be at home a lot and I didn’t see much anyone, but I couldn’t come home either, the workers came to see me and the child in the park.”
Sera’s name has been changed for security reasons.
Help for victims of intimate partner violence
■ In an emergency, the correct number is 112.
■ Zero line (080 005 005) is a toll-free helpline for those who have experienced violence or a threat thereof in a close relationship.
■ Safety net to Helsinki can be contacted by calling 040 645 3622. You can leave a call request to your voice mailbox. The e-mail address is [email protected] Information also provides Online shelter.
■ In addition, the metropolitan area will help The capital’s shelter (In The Hague and Toukola in Helsinki and in Pellas in Espoo), Sophie Mannerheim Shelter (In Marjaniemi, Helsinki), Vantaa shelter (In Birch Village) and a shelter for immigrants Mona.