There is much confusion regarding domestic abuse and the holiday season. Many people believe that DV increases during the holidays due to stress, more time spent together, money woes and alcohol consumption. I have spent some time looking through research in this regard and to my surprise, the research does not support the perception. In fact according to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, calls to the DV Hotline (1-800-799-7233) go down instead of up during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years.
The reasons for this are unknown but I have my own, all be it, un-researched opinions. I think that the victim, usually the woman, is doing her best not to ‘ruin’ Christmas. She is working really hard at keeping the peace and saving the holiday for the sake of her children and her self. I’ve known women who tried to keep it together and planned to leave after the holiday. I think too, that it is much harder to get time alone during the holiday and alone is exactly what you need if you are going to call the hotline. The majority of violence is done in the privacy of home and the holiday lends itself to a lot of time away from home and that may be another reason that calls to the hotline diminish. Maybe, just maybe, there is less violence going on?? But I doubt it. It is true, that being abused over the holiday has its own extra sense of injustice and wrong. This can make dealing with violence particularly difficult and confusing for victims.
The research tells us 2 important things 1) Holidays do not CAUSE domestic violence. (Neither does stress, money woes, alcohol or time spent together) Although, if your home is already one that includes an abuser then the stressors can certainly give an excuse for and exasperate the violence. 2) Domestic abuse does not take a holiday during the holidays. Domestic abuse happens any time of year, for any reason and its one and only cause is that an abuser chooses to abuse. Lets stop making holidays, birthdays and any days an excuse for abuse.