As I’ve pointed out too many times before, in the aftermath of any weather disaster, women often face different needs than men. In particular, people, mostly women and children, who are living in an abusive situation may be more vulnerable to violence because stress is often a trigger for acts of domestic violence as is feeling powerless as one might well feel if you have been flooded or burned out of your home, or you are cut off by water, no transit and no electricity. And if you are the primary caregiver for children or elder relatives, fleeing an abuser is all the more complicated.
Compounding the problem, shelters and other facilities that might normally be available to help may also be without electricity and phones or have been flooded or be short-staffed and unavailable or less available to help and police may have a harder time responding to calls if the victim even has a phone (which as I write this a great many people in New York and New Jersey still don’t have).
If you know people who may be particularly vulnerable to intimate violence in their lives and who have been affected by this horrendous storm, please do what you can to reach out to them and also, please consider making a donation to domestic violence shelters that may have been impacted as they may really be scrambling to provide additional services or rebuild.
And while we clean up here in the U.S. please be mindful that we were not the only country impacted by the storm and women in Haiti, still recovering from multiple weather disasters in the last few years, are very vulnerable, particularly in refuge camps, where rape and sexual assault have been serious problems and where access to such basics as food for infants and feminine hygiene products may be hard to get.