Holiday Domestic Violence
For many of us, the holidays are a time to celebrate the bounty of the season. We bask in the warmth of family and friends, good food, children’s laughter, and sparkling lights. This idyllic picture, however, is nothing close to the reality many face during the season of festivities. If you live with an abuser, the holidays may be a time of fear and suffering.
In families where violence is the norm, it certainly does not take time off for the holidays. In fact, some studies indicate that the rates of such violence increase between Thanksgiving and Superbowl Sunday, although data is mixed in this regard. We do know that tensions can increase during the holidays, and that could be the impetus for violence.
Factors that Might Impact Increased Violence
During the holiday season, a number of unusual factors converge to dial up the stress and anxiety for families:
1- Families spend more time with extended family and friends. Many people have more time off work, and holiday gatherings, along with the cacophony and commotion, can wear on some people’s nerves.
2- Financial pressures can really come to a head during the holidays, particularly for breadwinners who feel inadequate when it comes to providing the kind of holidays they’d like for their families. It can be a swipe to the ego to realize that other people don’t struggle like your own does.
3- Traffic, lines, and commercialism: Day to day living often consists of congested roadways and stores, as impatient shoppers flood the zone.
4- Keeping up the façade: During the holidays, more than ever, people feel compelled to demonstrate that they are happy and well. Sometimes displaying that image to family and friends takes a toll on everyone.
5- Free-flowing alcohol: The consumption of alcohol can be a factor in violence, because it impairs cognitive abilities and reasoning. With more alcohol available during the holidays, it follows that some people will become more violent.
Creating a Safety Plan
For people in abusive relationships, it is critical to have a safety plan in case things get dangerous.
1- Find a way to reduce your isolation by accessing family and friends, or even a hotline, when you need to. Create a code word to indicate you’re in trouble so others can provide help if you need it.
2- Get support in dealing with your abusive partner by asking family and friends to limit the things that exacerbate the tension for your abusive spouse. Would smaller gatherings help? How about alcohol-free parties? Make adaptations based on what will help your situation.
3- Find ways to get distance away from your abusive partner. The space can give you breathing room, and reduce tension on your end.
4- If violence does erupt, reach out. There are local support organizations that are open 24-7 every day of the year.
When You’re Ready to Call it Quits
If you’ve come to the point that you can no longer justify staying in an abusive relationship, the time of the year is irrelevant. At The Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our compassionate, experienced Miami domestic violence attorneys are prepared to intervene with restraining orders and other legal tools to help you stay safe. Contact us in our Miami office today for reliable, kind assistance today.