Is there a holiday spike in domestic violence?

December 26, 2014

There are many factors involved in a victim’s decision whether to leave an abuser in a violent relationship – these include fear, threats of further violence, economic dependence on the abuser, patterns of power and abuse wired into the victim’s brain from the victim’s own childhood, etc.

Apparently, domestic violence shelters generally see an increase in activity around New Year’s Day. We can speculate as to the causes for this increase, such as the abuser’s efforts to keep it together for extended family and friends during the holidays and then resulting explosive reactions around New Year’s, as well as perhaps a victim’s perception of the inability to live another year with the abuse, and potential alcohol fueled violence.

Regardless, the fact remains that staff at shelters such as the District Alliance for Safe Housing in DC are doing amazing, difficult, and stressful work, to try to support victims and repair broken patterns running through society for generations.

Statistics about domestic abuse are staggering. It has been shown among other things that the second leading cause of death of women under age 50 in the U.S. is being killed by a domestic partner. Here is a link to a number of statistics on this topic complied by the CDC: Data Sources. Facts about abuse are often kept hidden, covered up, and protected from public knowledge.

Statistics also show that when children witness domestic violence, even when the violence is not directed at them specifically, they become significantly more likely to repeat domestic violence relationships in their future. The violence between one’s parents is a trauma to the observing child that literally becomes programmed into the architecture of that child’s developing brain.

Take a look at this informative article in The Atlantic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *