In A Unique Initiative, Victims Of Domestic Abuse Can Use This Hand Gesture To Ask For Help Silently Without Alerting The Perpetrator
‘Stay home and stay safe’ is the one thing we’ve heard the most in these past few months. But for a shocking number of people around the world, their home is far from being a safe place. Domestic violence cases have seen an increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown and restriction on movement has forced people into unsafe and abusive home environments. The effects of the pandemic are visible on many different and complex levels, domestic violence and abuse being one of them. In fact, it is so bad right now, that domestic violence is being called the ‘shadow pandemic.’ There is some relief in the fact that people are talking about this. Helplines and other resources are being shared by organisations. But reaching out is hardly easy. Especially when the abuser is probably around and being vocal about the violence could invite more trouble.
#SignalForHelp is a one-handed sign that anyone can use on a video call or in person, to silently communicate that they feel threatened/are experiencing domestic abuse.
Learn more about it here: https://t.co/oA0OGzoq3R pic.twitter.com/zi72wNyShm
— Mahny (@MahnyB) June 7, 2020
This new video gives victims of violence at home a simpler way of asking for help. The clip shows nothing out of the ordinary at first – two women seem to be discussing a banana bread recipe via video call. But a few seconds later, one of them makes a hand gesture, and the other reacts with a concerned expression. This gesture can be used by victims of domestic violence to send out a message asking for help without letting their abusers find out. This is part of the initiative launched by the Canadian Women’s Foundation and is called ‘Signal For Help’. The clip has been widely circulated and now has over 10 million views, over 5.3 lac likes and close to 6.1 lac retweets.
— Kondektur Bus™ (@kondekturbus_) June 8, 2020
Many Twitter users have expressed their concern over the growing cases of domestic abuse during this time, and have shared this hand gesture to raise awareness. While dealing with a tragedy like a pandemic, we often forget that there are people facing its repercussions in ways that are not as obvious as others. Their voice gets lost in the sea of problems that emerge at a time like this. But we can’t let that happen, not if we want to victims to speak out and ask for help.
Now might be a good time to check up on your friends and family members, especially those who you know are stuck in toxic environments at home. You may be best friends with someone going through domestic abuse, and they may still be hesitant to ask for help. If it is within your capacity, reach out to your loved ones in whatever way possible. Share this video on your social media platforms as well.
If you are facing physical, mental, or sexual violence at home, here are some helplines you can contact:
IMPORTANT: Re-upping helplines for women facing domestic violence. pic.twitter.com/BSBOh3rkQO
— #MeTooIndia (@IndiaMeToo) April 9, 2020