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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Perspectives of MI pandemic domestic abuse survivors

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024   

Four years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are still studying its effects on society.

A new report focusing on domestic violence during the pandemic revealed social backgrounds and life circumstances played a significant role in how survivors view their abuse.

Paige Sweet, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan and author of the report, conducted interviews with 50 pandemic-era abuse survivors in Michigan, most of whom were struggling financially. Sweet said the small group who experienced it as a novel period of violence were likely to be middle-class.

"These survivors often didn't have to rely on things like domestic violence shelters," Sweet pointed out. "They often had good social networks, so, like, someone could go stay at their parent's house, for example, when the violence increased in the relationship."

At the height of the pandemic, domestic violence care providers reported an increased danger for anyone experiencing abuse, due to more time spent at home with their abusers.

Sweet pointed out survivors who live in marginalized communities experienced abuse during the pandemic as just another social crisis.

"They were sort of used to thinking of their relationship as something that was regularly disrupted by things like arrests, by things like homelessness," Sweet outlined. "Family and friends having to come stay in their house."

Sweet added many middle-class survivors were willing to seek therapy to help stay in their relationships and they were not "deathly afraid" of their abusers. But those living in poverty often were forced back into abusive situations because they depend on their abusers financially.

The research showed domestic abuse is often part of many other social problems knitted into survivors' lives, and Sweet argued there must be resources in place to address the issues.

"To stabilize their families, to stabilize their housing situations, to have access to good jobs, good food," Sweet emphasized. "In order for them to stay away from abusive relationships, they have to have those things secured."

She added policies should focus not just on treating or responding to abuse but on building up families to help prevent it.


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