Holiday season is upon us, and people wonder about holiday season domestic violence. Many believe that there is an increase in domestic violence during the holidays. The Huffington Post released an article on this subject, which can be viewed here: Why It’s Dangerous To Claim Domestic Violence ‘Spikes’ Over The Holidays.
Through interviews The Huffington Post conducted, they did not find evidence to support the thought that domestic violence spikes during the holidays. This thought is popular because it makes sense to most people who agree that holidays bring extra stress.
This thought however, is dangerous.
It is dangerous to believe that domestic violence spikes during the holidays because it “‘betrays a lack of understanding about how abuse works’”, Monica McLaughlin, deputy director of public policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence said. “Domestic violence is not simply isolated acts of physical violence, but rather a pattern of behavior. Perpetrators use a range of tactics ― including emotional, verbal, economic and sexual abuse ― to control and intimidate victims.”
“She explained that while acts of physical violence may fluctuate in frequency over the course of a relationship, the power and control that underpins the abuse remains constant.
‘Coercive control doesn’t take a vacation,’ she said. ‘It’s there all the time.’”
Measuring Holiday Season Domestic Violence
Due to the hushed nature of domestic violence, it is challenging to pinpoint how often and when it occurs. However, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can measure how often and when victims reach out for help.
The data they have collected suggests that people are actually less likely to reach out for help during the holiday season.
This can be due to many barriers victims face, including, family pressure, and children. Read our post on barriers to leaving to learn more about why victims stay.
Although there are less victims reaching out during the holiday, that does not mean violence does not happen. There are many challenges victims and their families face. At The Shelter, we do our best to provide a safe, and comfortable environment for healing, even during the holidays.
Sources: Jeltsen, M. (December 2012). Why It’s Dangerous To Claim Domestic Violence ‘Spikes’ Over The Holidays. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/domestic-violence-holidays_us_58406b43e4b017f37fe35634. National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (n.d.) Holiday Toolbox. Retrieved from: http://www.nrcdv.org/publications/holiday-toolbox/.