Journalist Tamron Hall on the Hidden Fallout of Domestic Abuse During the Pandemic
In 2004, award-winning journalist Tamron Hall received the devastating news that her sister, Renate, was murdered, the victim of domestic violence. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Hall has become an advocate for those in domestic violence situations, creating The Tamron ♥ Renate Fund to support Safe Horizon in providing crucial resources for victims and their families.
When the current ‘stay-at-home’ orders took effect in many areas of the country–placing victims at home with their abusers–domestic violence call centers reported a spike in incidents. Hall recently hosted a virtual anti-domestic violence benefit, Night of Solidarity, to bring awareness to the issue. We spoke to her shortly after to find out what we should know and how we can help.
1. Rates of partner violence have increased across the globe during this pandemic. You recently hosted a virtual event, Night of Solidarity, to help raise funds and spread awareness. What are you hearing from women and organizations about what they’re seeing? And how has the pandemic exacerbated the problem?
I have been hearing the most frightening stories as the pandemic has resulted in a level of fear and a sense of helplessness that people could not have prepared for. There’s no scenario I’ve ever discussed that included survivors or victims of domestic abuse being forced to stay inside as a result of a government order intended to keep all of us safe. Following the rules, as we all should, have left women and children in the most dangerous situations one could imagine.
2. Even before the pandemic, statistics showed that around the world the most dangerous place for a woman is her own home. This issue is close to your heart after the loss of your sister in a domestic crime. What do you want women who are in abusive relationships to know, especially now?
It’s the same message that I’ve said since I’ve started working with organizations like Safe Horizon and Day One: You are not alone. There are resources and people working to give you help and a safe place. My sister died in her home like so many victims of domestic violence. The response and the call to action from those on the front line in the world of domestic violence awareness has been incredible.
3. Finally, as traditional methods of securing safety, including shelters and in-person outreach have been interrupted, how can we best help those in abusive home environments?
Offer advice on how they can get in contact safely with those who are ready to help. One of the tips that I’ve heard during Night of Solidarity was to make sure to clear your search history because we are all inside on computers and our phones. If someone is looking up places to get help or searching organizations who will support them and help to get them out, an abuser in the home might be searching the histories to see what you are doing. I thought it was a helpful reminder. It’s heartbreaking to know everything you do is monitored and you have to back track to make sure your outreach for help is not intercepted. That type of tip is so helpful and could go a long way.
This Q&A was featured in the May 24th edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.