Updated: Apr 15
The COVID-19 pandemic has made loving damn near impossible. So if we can’t do it, we might as well sit here and ponder it. Love's inaccessibility has made us more discerning and allowed us more time for self-love. We find ourselves in deep and meaningful discussions around sex, gender, masturbation, menstruation, contraception, and general wellbeing.
While we may miss the bliss of intercourse, we are aware of the unearned privilege of not having to share space. Social distancing measures mean less dating for some, but many relationships are suspended in unprecedented variations of closeness, and in a context where domestic violence is rampant, the consequences could be catastrophic.
On Sunday the 24th of May, The Guardian reported a 10.2% increase in domestic violence calls to police in the US. British NGO Refuge reported a 66% increase in calls from victims and a 25% increase in calls from men wanting to change their abusive behavior.
While experts feared the worst for African countries during COVID-19, the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme notes that the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust has reported a 50% drop in rape and sexual assault cases, and police minister Bheki Cele reported a 69.4% decrease since the lockdown began up until the 20th of April. According to the Medical Research Council, South African hospitals have seen a 66% decrease in trauma cases, some of which would have been associated with domestic violence.
Of course, the lockdown restrictions in South Africa have been more severe. There is scope to speculate how this has affected the decrease in crimes of passion and whether this is sustainable. COVID-19 is amplifying how different we are from countries in the northern hemisphere. When we are accustomed to asking ourselves what is wrong as developing countries, for once we may be blessed with the brief benefit of asking what is right.