FYI. From the USA but still relevant.
Subject: Coronavirus-Abuse Myth Recognized as Greatest Media Hoax of 2020
Date: 30 December 2020 at 1:04:50 am AEDT
Good morning, CEDV Friend,
It’s amazing how the COVID-abuse myth has been uncritically circulated over the past year.
Edward E. Bartlett, PhD
Coalition to End Domestic Violence
3220 N Street, NW, Suite 114
Washington, DC 20007
Contact: Rebecca Stewart
Coronavirus-Abuse Myth Recognized as Greatest Media Hoax of 2020
WASHINGTON / December 29, 2020 – On March 23, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence issued an Alert with this provocative claim: “Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are facing extreme danger and risk.” (1) This startling but unsupported claim would eventually lead to the biggest media hoax of 2020, as articles were published warning of an impending domestic violence “spike” as a result of victims being “trapped” with their abusers under COVID stay-at-home policies.
Four independent analyses have revealed this claim to be categorically false:
- The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice concluded, based on reports from 13 cities, that there had been “No significant change in domestic violence over the previous year.” (2)
- The Marshall Project found declines in domestic violence cases in Chicago, IL, Austin, TX, and Chandler, AZ, ranging from 13% to 23%. (3)
- The Coalition to End Domestic Violence compiled police reports from 33 police departments around the country, which revealed steady numbers of domestic violence calls in 19 departments, small increases in three localities, and decreases in 11 jurisdictions. (4)
- In 67 large cities across the country, the Major Cities Chiefs Association reported that during the first 9 months of 2020, the number of reported rapes dropped from 25,130 to 21,100, compared to 2019. This change represents a 16% decrease. (5)
The most likely explanation for these trends was identified by the Family Life Survey of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, which found that coping with the COVID threat has served to strengthen family relationships. 56% of survey respondents agreed that experiencing the pandemic “Has made me appreciate my partner more,” and 47% agreed that the coronavirus, “Has deepened my commitment to my relationship.” (6)
A Google News search using the terms “COVID,” “domestic violence,” and “2020” turned up 11.9 million results, revealing saturation media coverage of the issue during the year. (7)
One of the reasons for the false claims was a failure to recognize that domestic violence follows a cyclical pattern, with the number of cases rising in the Spring and declining in the Fall (2). If this pattern is not recognized, increases due to seasonal changes could be incorrectly attributed to coronavirus stay-at-home policies.
Media accounts consistently depicted men as the abusers and women as victims, despite the fact that each year there are 4.2 million male victims of domestic violence, compared to 3.5 million female victims, according to the CDC. (8)
The Coronavirus-Abuse Hoax of 2020 bears an eerie resemblance to the 1993 Superbowl Abuse Hoax, when domestic violence activists claimed that “Women’s shelters and hotlines are flooded with more calls from victims on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year.” The Superbowl Hoax was later debunked by Ken Ringle of the Washington Post. (9)
Commentator Corrine Barraclough concludes, “The myth that domestic violence is surging in lockdown will become one of the biggest lies the gendered narrative leans on for additional funding.” (10) More information on the Coronavirus-Abuse Hoax is available online. (11)
- https://cdn.ymaws.com/counciloncj.org/resource/collection/D26974EF-0F75-4BDE-ADE7-86DA0741DC49/Impact_Report_-_Crime.pdf Page 9.
- https://media.deseret.com/media/misc/pdf/afs/2020-AFS-Final-Report.pdf Table 13.
- https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/2015data-brief508.pdf Tables 9 and 11
Press release published here: http://endtodv.org/pr/coronavirus-abuse-myth-recognized-as-greatest-media-hoax-of-2020/