By: Stacey Rachal
Domestic Abuse Resistance Team
This year, as you hang the twinkling lights and decorate your mantel with sprigs of holly, remember that not everyone has gotten the message that it’s a season of peace. Unfortunately, the holidays can be an even more dangerous time than normal for those at risk for domestic violence.
From financial stress of gift buying to an overall increase in alcohol consumption, to a flurry of emotions – and sometimes stress – that accompany a plethora of family togetherness time, there are many reasons why the chance of intimate partner violence can increase during the holidays.
Whether survivors don’t want to disturb family cohesiveness on these days, or can’t find a private time to make a call for support, advocates say the decline in calls isn’t necessarily an indication that violence ceases on these days, reporting that calls will often increase above normal levels the days and weeks following a holiday. Many times survivors of abuse don’t want to disturb family rituals or separate children from their family during a holiday, regardless of abuse that may be occurring.
What can you do? If you’re currently with an abusive partner, reach out to us here at DART. Our local office is at 301 West Main Street, Ste. 216. If you are in crisis and need to talk to someone outside of our normal office time, we have a 24-hour crisis line. That number is 251-CALL (2255) or 1-888-411-1333.
Also, if you suspect someone in your life is the victim of an abusive partner, watch for red flags, such as possessiveness, rigid gender roles, and overt control of deliberately humiliating one’s partner in front of others. To support a victim be non-judgmental and supportive.
Don’t tell them what they need to do. Don’t badmouth the abuser. It’s also important to remember that friends and family should take precautions to make sure they remain safe. Sometimes when word gets back to the abuser that a friend or family member is offering advice or asking questions about the abuse, they could be putting themselves in danger.