Domestic violence increases over the holidays

Emory University behavioral scientists have found that three women die at the hands of a partner every day. (Photo by

By Dawn Suggs,

Special to the AFRO

The holidays offer joyful festivities and carefree abandonment for many. However, this time of year can also be a time of isolation and a pressure cooker of emotions and expectations for those who face a great deal of stress and duress already. 

Studies show that domestic abuse and violence increase during such major holidays as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year for the following reasons:

Stress from holiday shopping, finances and planning can aggravate volatile personalities.

Abusers are more likely to consume alcohol or drugs when they don’t have to work.

Simple opportunity: abusers are more likely to be home alone with their victims than at other times of the year.

On average about 1,300 deaths and two million injuries annually occur due to intimate partner violence. Three women die at the hands of a partner each day, according to data compiled by Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.

Among the red flags that Women Against Crime describes as behavioral indicators that a friend or family member might be experiencing intimate partner violence:

Excusing abusive behavior as “moody” or “needy” or as being due to drugs or alcohol;

Needing to “ask permission” to go out or see or communicate with friends;

Jealousy or accusations of infidelity from the partner;

Criticism from the partner;

Constant “checking in” via texts or phone calls from the partner; or

Partner accompanying survivor to events unnecessarily

According to Cynthia Bennet of the non-profit JADASA (Journey Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse), when speaking with someone subjected to violence at home, “Don’t discriminate, don’t judge, don’t give your opinion.” 

She warns. “All it takes is an inch of doubt in their voice that’ll cause them to go back in their shell.” 

Instead of being critical or accusatory, emphasize your support and unconditional love for them and offer resources when possible.

For more information on domestic violence and support resources, please call 800-799-7233.

This post was originally published in the St. Louis American.

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