Domestic violence will affect 25 percent of women in their lifetime and abuse knows no boundaries, including the seasons. Violence in a relationship can be traumatic any time of year, but the holidays add another layer of complications.
Domestic Violence Reports Decrease During the Holidays
A study by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence analyzed police reports over several years to determine calls during Thanksgiving and Christmas drop. This would lead one to believe domestic violence incidents also decrease during this time, but that’s not the case. The same study also found that once the holidays wrap up reports of relationship abuse spike.
Domestic Violence Worsens During the Holidays
There are many reasons women choose to delay leaving an abusive partner during the holidays. Some of such choices can be attributed to women wanting to normalize things for their children, give them good holiday memories, or avoid embarrassment with family members typically not seen any other time of year.
Unfortunately for women in these situations, abuse continues and can worsen during this time period. Tensions and stress during the holidays increase for most people for a variety of reasons, but for those in an abusive relationship those same stressors can lead to abusive incidents, and shame and guilt in hiding it.
Holidays Stressors in Abusive Relationships
Some holiday situations add to already existing tensions. The holidays bring the pressures of being around friends and family members for extended periods of time, and this can agitate harm-doers that lean on isolating their victims for power and control.
Other factors during the holidays that contribute to worsened domestic violence are the increased periods of time together, creating more opportunities for violence at home, frequent social events with alcohol, financial stress over gift buying, and ex-partners trying to get back in touch. And while women may be trying to keep a seemingly happy family together during the holidays, the abuse can actually feel worse knowing they can’t give their children the holidays they deserve.
Hope for survivors of relationship abuse
Some abusers will be able to hide violent behavior when loved ones are around for festivities, only to have an outburst once the holidays are over, and that’s where statistics see an uptick in January calls for support. While it is disheartening, the silver lining is that more women are realizing they can’t put up with abuse for another year and are leaving to begin healing from bad situations.
If you are in an abusive relationship and would like support getting out, No Silence, No Violence may be able to help.
Jessica Yaffa is a certified professional relationship coach and domestic violence expert. Need help healing from an abusive relationship? Contact Jessica today.