WASHINGTON — While the coronavirus pandemic has many people staying at home, advocates for domestic violence victims recognize home might not be the safest place for victims stuck in the house with their abusers.
Kiawana Leaf is a survivor of COVID-19 and domestic violence.
“It's so many situations that people go through, and we feel like we are the only ones going through it and nobody else is going through what we're going through," she said.
Leaf told WUSA9 she and her mother tested positive for the coronavirus.
"I ended up having to get tested to return back to work, and that’s how I found out that I was positive," Leaf explained her symptoms were mild. "I thank God that I beat it, and didn’t even know that I had it."
COVID-19 was not the only battle Leaf has had to overcome so far in her lifetime.
Leaf battled depression, insecurities and a domestic-violence relationship.
She shared her story in her book released last year called "Confidence Unlocked."
"It would lead with profanity," she described the experience in a YouTube video. "Then, from profanity, it went from physical violence, and from physical violence it was just like, 'OK What am I going to do?'"
Leaf recalled feeling lost, lonely, and like there was no way out of her abusive situation.
It took Leaf more than three years to make it out of her relationship, but she knows that is not easy for other victims to escape, especially right now in the middle of a pandemic.
Domestic violence victim support agencies in many parts of the DMV have reported a rise in calls for help or petitions for protective orders.
"My prayers are with those people who are home, and the home environment is not safe," Leaf said.
Leaf was able overcome her obstacles and life challenges and reconfirm her faith in God.
She is continuing to use her life stories to inspire others in a new book set to be released in May called "Beautifying Sins."
"I just know there is beauty in this pandemic. Although I know many are hurting and we're losing many loved ones, there is purpose in the pain. I am a firm believer. I am a witness. I can attest to that. There is purpose in our pain," Leaf said.
If you need help to get out of a domestic violence relationship call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.