"Zoila fell fast for the soft-spoken day laborer, moving in with him last year just two weeks after their first date. But after El Salvador imposed a strict coronavirus lockdown, she says, the man she thought she knew became an inescapable menace.
'The quarantine changed everything,' she said.
Shut inside their one-room house in rural El Salvador, he began drinking heavily. Soon, she says, he was regularly violating the coronavirus curfew and seeing other women openly. He would return home at odd hours, wake her and demand meals. Drunk, he would taunt Zoila, 24 years old and pregnant, calling her worthless and threatening violence.
...For untold numbers of women and children around the globe, the coronavirus pandemic has meant a twofold threat: The risk of catching a deadly virus coupled with the peril of being locked in confined spaces with increasingly violent abusers.
Official statistics are mixed. In some countries, reports of abuse have risen during the pandemic; in others, including the United States, they’ve fallen. But people who work with victims say that in countries seeing fewer complaints, the numbers mask a darker reality. The closure of schools and day-care centers means teachers and social workers have been unable to identify and report abuse. A growing body of evidence suggests incidents of domestic violence are rising as families struggle with restrictions on movement and mounting economic hardship."