“Have money to drink, but not for household expenses?”

Vivek (M.Vivekanandan)

The media reported that over 150 people were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital due to domestic violence increasing in their homes while in isolation to control the spread of corona.

This is a major problem not only in Sri Lanka but globally. Women are generally the most vulnerable to domestic violence. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that one-third of victims are abused by someone close to them. After this corona infection, such incidents have increased exponentially. This information was obtained from both the police and the health department.

Sri Lanka is currently in the third wave of the corona epidemic. To control it, the government has imposed restrictions on travel and mobility. However, if these restrictions continue for a long period of time, various problems may arise within families. This too, is a side effect of corona.

There may be patients at home. keeping children at home full time, fluctuations in economic conditions, facing a completely new environment, recovering from unfamiliar things, and epidemics increase the need for mental health services. Death, isolation, loss of income and fear trigger mental conditions or exacerbate existing ones. Many may have turned to alcohol and drug use, resulting in insomnia and anxiety.

In the above news, 112 out of 150 people admitted to the hospital due to domestic violence are men, 42 of them are women. The Colombo National Hospital also reported that a man had committed suicide due to a family dispute. Thus, in some cases men are as vulnerable  as women.

When the husband who is fighting with his wife tries to attack her, grown up children stop the father in order to protect their mother. Whatever it is, one thing is clear here; the conflict within the family is growing.

The corona situation has caused an economic downturn. People who work hard every day, who are addicted to alcohol, lose their patience when their daily activities are disrupted. Thereby a small argument at home turns into a big fight.

A self-employed person in Kilinochchi was affected by the industry during this corona period. An argument broke out between the father and son as his son wasted the money available on his meager income. In response, the son severely beat his father to death. There have also been many reports of women committing suicide with their children due to family problems.

Problems between husband and wife can also occur due to some deviant activities in the past. However, psychological distress is one of the main problems during this corona outbreak. The economy is the main cause of the psychological crisis. This leads to more disagreements, which often turn violent. 

And in today’s environment “there is money to drink so, why not for the house?” is often what wives ask their husbands. Lack of income and inability to go out as freely as they wish can make men feel that they are under stress. Some men say they seek alcohol to overcome stress. These are the things that need to be researched.

Liquor stores across the country are currently closed during the Corona control period. But in places like the Vanni region, so-called ‘kasippu’ (moonshine), produced illegally, is widely and secretly sold. More than that, cannabis is widely sold in many areas. If the public informs the police, drug dealers and traffickers will have access to information on who did it. The informant is targeted by drug dealers and traffickers. Thus, due to fear of reprisal, the public overlook some illegal activities.

Poverty, alcoholism and illiteracy are at crisis point within the low income areas where many people live and work everyday. Covid-19 is causing many afflictions in families and individuals. Assessments show that the change in life caused by corona has led to an increase in domestic violence in the United States as well.

The reasons given usually are loss of income, stress caused by not meeting friends and relatives, and addiction. Here, we need to focus more on the stress that this life changing experience has caused.

This environment has caused fear, resentment, fatigue, and anxiety. These have become common feelings …. When all family members are confined in one home due to the lockdown, their routine is disrupted, the initial temporary discomfort subsides and old and new problems arise. sSubsequently these lead to interpersonal problems resulting in domestic violence. Dr. Sivayoganathan, a psychiatrist, said in his article Life Changes Caused by the Spread of Covid Infection.

It is the duty of the government to explore such issues along with measures to prevent the spread of corona, and to develop mechanisms to address them. Many other countries have procedures in place to provide subsidies to corona-infected industrialists. There is no such practice in Sri Lanka. The government says it has set aside Rs 30 billion for a relief allowance of Rs.5000 for the poor. (

The allowance is given to seven categories including families receiving Samurdhi benefits, low income families, families receiving old age allowance, families receiving disability allowance and families receiving kidney disease allowance. People also worry that these are not enough depending on the number of family members.

The corona period is not a matter of ending within a specified period of time. Continues for years. Or is going to continue. People need to be educated on how to deal with this changed life.

Another thing to mention is the Corona-era educational practices. They have also been reported to cause stress among students and teachers. In Sri Lanka, e-learning is now being conducted with schools closed. According to the Ministry of Education, students and teachers are suffering from depression due to lack of proper regulation and complaints have been reported in this regard.

According to the Ministry of Education, complaints allege that students are being pressured to wear school uniforms while engaging in online educational activities, as well as teachers’ uniforms.

The Ministry Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera said school principals and vice-principals should act responsibly to prevent such incidents from taking place. It is essential to regulate the educational practices of the students and guidelines should be consistent. 

Just as it is important for the public to protect themselves from the spread of corona, people must also protect themselves from stress, the side effects of the corona period.”Good mental health is absolutely fundamental to overall health and well-being,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom, director general of the World Health Organization. “Covid 19 has made mental health services essential around the world. World leaders must act swiftly and decisively to invest more in life-saving mental health programs during and after epidemics,” he said.-

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Sri Lanka Press Institute.

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