Bringing Our Sisters Out of the Shadows: Unmasking the Fatal Link Between COVID-19, Intimate Partner Violence, and Intimate Femicide for Women in Alabama
In March of 2020, lockdown orders were put in place throughout the United States to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus. Inadvertently, these precautions intensified the dangers women faced within their own homes. Academic literature and media reports soon surfaced revealing an increased incidence of domestic violence-related homicides due to stress and other risk factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with existing barriers, COVID-19 introduced new and exacerbating factors for women experiencing violence and for those attempting to provide services.Paper one is a topical review summarizing studies published on the intersection of intimate partner violence and femicide against women in the United States during the initial stages of COVID-19 from the year 2020 to 2021. Findings reveal an increase in help-seeking calls during the initial phase of the pandemic and COVID-related circumstances such as an increase in firearm purchases, extended confinement, unemployment, school closures, social isolation, and financial strains intensifying women's experiences of violence. Data also revealed that institutionally oppressed groups are disproportionately impacted by the nexus of COVID-19 and IPV. Papers two and three focus specifically on women in Alabama. Paper two presents a media analysis of 29 IPV and IF articles published by five online newspapers from March 2020 to March 2021. Results reveal that IPV and IF cases were portrayed as isolated incidents, minimizing language was used, and community resources need to be included in the articles. Paper three reports findings from 10 semi-structured interviews with community-based advocates (CBA) to learn about the contributing factors of IPV and IF that they observed during COVID-19. Results show CBAs observed that confinement, isolation, and economic instability exacerbated certain types of violence and that Black women, Immigrant women, and women in rural areas faced heightened barriers. Additionally, results indicate that CBAs need continued support, and that comfort resides in the collective. This research makes a significant contribution to the literature by addressing risk factors associated with COVID-19, IPV, and IF, examining the effects on women and advocates, and discussing strategies for social and political change.