Domestic violence, unfortunately does not stop during the holidays. Why should I care, you might ask? It doesn’t affect me. Actually, it probably affects you more than you know. You most likely do know people it touches. The statistics are quoted as 1 in 4 people all year around. Do you know 4 people? I thought that you did. Then there is a 100% certainty that someone you know is touched by this problem.
Contradictory information is provided by different studies concerning holiday domestic violence: the domestic violence occurring between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Some studies indicate an increase in violence during this period and some indicate a decrease, depending on the source. More information can be found here.
I spent a Christmas at the home of a Mental Health Professional one year, when he received an emergency call concerning a man who had shot and killed his wife on Christmas day.
I know of a family that had a family-wide fist fight resulting in a stabbing and one of them having to spend Christmas in jail. The children were not shielded from the melee. But luckily, none of them were hurt.
One man that I know had to shoot his son in self-defense on Thanksgiving eve.
Education and socioeconomic status does not grant immunity to this situation. Domestic violence affects people in all cultures, classes and educational levels. Wherever there are people, there is the potential.
Here are some safety tips for people who may be caught in a potential abusive situation:
1. Have a “code word” established with family and friends in advance so you can communicate without the abuser knowing what is being said.
2. If a dangerous situation presents, do not go further into the house or building where you are being put into a corner. If you can get outside, do so. This usually takes steam away from an abuser because abusive people usually don’t like witnesses.
3. You can surreptitiously call 9-1-1 without having to say anything. Call, allow time for the phone to ring and the call to get recorded at the 9-1-1 center, and hang up if need be. The call will be registered, and an officer will be sent to your residence for follow-up.
4. For more information about adoption of a safety plan, go here.
If you know someone who lives in an abusive situation, please try to be understanding and offer assistance when it is wanted and or needed. Volunteer your time with a local shelter, donate food or money to a local shelter. These are things that we can all do.
And if you are one of the 3 out of 4 who is not experiencing domestic violence, please take time out of your holiday to thank God for your safety.
copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins