How Women Experienced Domestic Violence During the Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, calls to helplines involving domestic violence became about five times more frequent. 243 million women and young girls can experience intimate partner violence in a single year, but is there anything that can be done to help? 


There has been a significant uptick in domestic violence cases since 2020. San Antonio, CA experienced an 18% increase in family violence calls while New York, NY saw a 10% increase in domestic violence reports. Downloads of spyware used for cyberstalking also increased. 7% of Americans have been the victim of cyberstalking with many of them being women. Unfortunately, only 24% of those who were arrested for serious stalking issues were convicted. 


Minorities experienced higher rates of abuse, as much as 50% or even more. These marginalized groups were heavily affected by the pandemic in terms of infection rates and unemployment as well. 


There are several factors contributing to the uptick in abuse. One of them is increased stressors, like concerns about security, health, unemployment, and cramped living situations. Another factor is increased opportunity for abuse due to being isolated at home with abusers, having movement restricted due to lockdown, and going to deserted public places. 


Having fewer safeguards is also one of the big factors. People like teachers, child care providers, and clinicians have less in-person visits with families. Varying reporting options from precinct to precinct as well as a shift to telemedicine that reduces the ability for safe screening, causing victims to be overheard or lack access to telehealth contribute to growing abuse cases. 


The majority of people receiving injuries from their partners do not receive medical care for their injuries as only 34% accept care. In fact, about half of domestic violence incidents do not get reported. One of the reasons is the social pressure surrounding the issue as many victims feel uncomfortable reporting, especially when they are pressured by the people they love to stay or live in a small community that lacks privacy. 


Another reason is that the psychological impact caused by abuse can make it harder to leave, especially when the victims are isolated from family and friends while experiencing a loss of confidence and self esteem due to prolonged abuse. Furthermore, a “make-up” tactic creates a bond between the abuser and the victim that makes the victim believe the abuse is just momentary. 


The fear of losing their partner’s support is a strong determining factor of whether to leave or stay. Leaving a partner could possibly mean losing financial support, immigration status, or even the custody of children. 


More than half of women in domestic violence shelters were controlled by their abuser to stay by threatening, hurting, or even killing the victim’s pet as they decide to not leave their pets. Unfortunately, 52% of victims had to escape without their pets while 25% of victims eventually went back to their abuser due to their concern for their pets. 


With domestic violence being so prevalent at the moment, is there a way to stop it? It can be helpful to spot the warning signs early as domestic violence usually doesn’t start right away. These could include threatening violence against pets, loved ones, or you, intentionally damaging your belongings, preventing you from working, or blaming you for a multitude of issues. 


In terms of domestic abuse, it’s best not to ignore it. 19% of people know someone close who has suffered from domestic violence. 17% know someone who has used some form of domestic violence on someone else. 


It is important to contact the police if you believe someone is experiencing domestic abuse or might be in danger. It is beneficial to write down any incident you witness as well as being available to listen to possible victims without any judgment. Checking in regularly can also be helpful. If someone you know is thinking about escaping abuse, it’s best to keep a phone with you at all times, have gas on-hand, or offer to do legwork. 


Helping to raise awareness for domestic violence in your community, donating to shelters and similar organizations, as well as avoiding graphics or content that glorify violence are just a few actions you can take to act against domestic violence. 

The Energy Drink Boom

Energy drinks are the main seller of an industry that is expected to reach $225 billion in sales by 2026. The United States experienced an energy drink boom, as energy drink sales reached $14 billion in 2021, which was a significant increase from $11 billion in 2017. Red Bull is the leading energy drink brand in the US according to reports from 2021, and Monster Energy came in second with nearly an equivalent market share. However, while energy drinks are booming, products that are marketed as energy shots have decreased in popularity. Sales have been decreasing steadily for several years, and 5-Hour Energy remains the market leader with 88% market share.


The shutdown during the pandemic significantly affected the energy drink industry, as the leading type of beverage sold was water, and the least favorite being energy drinks and value-added water. However, as gyms and businesses reopened, energy drink sales began to rise again. In addition, the rising popularity of ESports has allowed for many different types of energy drinks to flourish. Some of the biggest ESport teams are sponsored by energy drink brands such as GFuel, Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar. Energy drinks are focusing on the gamer market because they are most often used by these players to boost performance and cognition while playing their “sport.”


It is important to understand the difference between energy drinks and pre-workout and the benefits that each brings to the table. Energy drinks utilize caffeine to boost energy and alertness, while pre-workout utilizes caffeine and other substances to boost energy and athletic performance specifically. Because of their similarities, many products blur the lines between energy drinks and pre-workout drinks, and many contain similar products. Performance boosting ingredients like caffeine, amino acids, and creatine may cause adverse side effects, and it is important to start with small doses to see how the body reacts to them. In addition to these potential harmful side effects, over half of the top 100 pre-workout drinks include a certain blend of ingredients that are not specified on the label of the product.


Despite these potential harmful effects, energy drinks are the most popular supplements for teens and young adults in the United States. North Americans consume more energy drinks than any other region in the world, and many younger consumers are attracted to these products because of their proven ability to improve performance, endurance, and alertness, as well as the fact that they are marketed as a “healthy” alternative to soda. The energy drink consumers are a niche group of people, but as those loyal consumers keep the industry afloat, one can expect many new developments in the products related to health, variety, and quality. New technology allows the reduction of sugars naturally found in fruit juices, meaning that these drinks that many are consuming in bulk may become more healthy and sustainable in the future. The power of energy drinks is significant for many people with different lifestyles and nutritional goals, and they may be the key to recharging, from a workout to video gaming.