COVID19 and Domestic Violence It’s bigger than you think.
What is happening behind closed doors when on the outside must implement social distance? Is there any hope?
Monday, March 9th, 2020
Sandra is at her desk typing up the required emails, answering phones, staying on top of the next pile of data to enter. People come by her cubical through the day to hand her projects and she hands them back in a completed and tidy fashion.
The 8-hour workday seems to fly by and Sandra wishes that this place, a place of financial gain and social peace would just last for 24 hours. She knows that the last few hours of the workday are coming to a close.
She has heard the rumors of COVID19. She has seen the news reports, the ones filled with panic, and the ones filled with optimism. Sandra says a little prayer and thanks God that her safety will continue. After all, it is Monday, March 9th and it feels like the problem is in other countries. Not here, yet.
Suddenly Sandra looks up and sees that she has around nine minutes left of her reprieve—her work, her place out of the hell she will return to. Eight minutes left, she tidies up the last of the papers. Sam, her boss, stops in to say a quick goodbye.
“Sandra, I am really pleased with your work. You a really doing a wonderful job here. The office couldn’t function without me.”
“Thank you.” She replies as a flutter of pride and of caution well up inside her.
“That means a lot. Well, I better get going, I want to beat the traffic home.”
She thinks to herself, this is why she loves work. Suddenly she notices the time, she has one minute left. Sandra collects her purse, keys, and phone. As she switches it on, it immediately buzzes, chimes, and dings from all her missed calls, texts, and messages from him. Her heart skips a beat and her head drops a little as she passes Sam.
“Good night”, he says.
“Night,” she replays and walks towards the steel doors of the elevator knowing that as they shut behind her, they are walling out the last of the light and hope until tomorrow morning.
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
As she enters into the office Tuesday morning March 10th, her hair is pulled to on side and her make up is a little heavier than yesterday. Sandra begins the workday and knows that here is the place of light for her. Near midday, she hears a rumor at the water cooler about possibly keeping the office open.
How can they? What will be the best action? What will Sam choose to do? She quietly slips back to her desk and catches a news report from the President talking about the pandemic. She watches the feed listens and takes a few notes. There is one thought that seems to surface, working from home...how would that even work?
Wednesday, Thursday, March 11, 12, 2020
Wednesday and Thursday come and go but her hair has changed a bit. Or maybe that is just Sam’s imagination. She has a scarf wrapped around her head and down her neck. It is not that cold out, in fact, the March thaw is happening and so Sam seems to note that down, and thinks it a good idea to just stop by before the end of work. However, he is called into a meeting from Corporate and won’t be able to stop by Sandra’s office.
Friday, March 13, 2020
Friday Sandra continues to wear the scarf but as added sunglasses to her attire. Sam, pulls away from talking to a group and gently touches her on her shoulder to let her know that he has entered her workspace. She jumps and the touch causing her glasses to bump revealing the fresh mark of her worthless dinner making abilities.
Sam notices. And Sandra knows she is caught. Sam’s speech is silenced and he stands awkward in the cubicle. With her repairing the mask to keep it all hidden. With the shield of her sunglasses on, he can only look at the direction of her eyes and says, “I’m sorry.” She nods and turns back to her computer and file work.
Suddenly Nancy is at the cubicle handing Sam a memo. Sam stars at it and tells Sandra, “Great work on the Myer project. Um, I better go. Corporate needs me.” And with that, he walks out. But with each step his mind is chewing on the scene, the purple mark, the fear at his touch, all the things in his gut tells him that she is in trouble. But he has to think about the Pandemic, about satisfying corporate, the office, and caring for al the employees.
A Week in the Life of COVID 19
At the end of the day, Sandra begins to feel intense anxiety as the final email of the day comes across her desk.
“The office will be suspending normal office operations through April 3, unless conditions warrant an extension of office closures. As we all know this global pandemic is rapidly changing. The City has ordered the prohibition of all gatherings of more than 250 people through May 1. This restriction will affect our office and our traditional model. Therefore we have been given notice that starting Monday, March 16th, 2020 you have the authorization to work remotely.”
Sandra’s eyes loose focus on the words work remotely. Her shaking hand clicks the internet to close and the screen saver of the logo pops up. Why does she feel this will be the last time she sees this in this office? She takes a deep breath, trying to calm her heart. She grabs her purse, her keys, and turns to face the steel doors of the elevator knowing that as they shut behind her, they are walling out the last of the light and hope.
What do you think about the pandemic now? I hope this little story has given you something to think about. In a world of such pain, fear, and now a pandemic, please be a beacon of light to others. Please share hope. Please check on others, and care and safely as you can. We know that where there is life there is hope.
If you would like to read more about hope, please click the link below and receive your free copy of my audiobook Pinpoints of Light. It is needed during a time of challenge such as this.