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The holidays are often thought of as the most wonderful time of the year. However, for victims of domestic violence, the holidays can be a very dark and scary time.
This kind of abuse (whether it’s physical or sexual) is often more likely to occur when stress levels are high, and unfortunately holiday seasons bring their fair share of stresses. Unrealistic expectations, financial strain, and alcohol can increase stress, and lower inhibitions to domestic violence.
On Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day the National Domestic Violence Hotline reports a decrease in calls. Nearly 53 percent fewer. 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 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.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence - On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
It can be very difficult to spot an abusive situation.
The majority of abusers are only violent with their current or past intimate partners. One study found 90% of abusers do not have criminal records and abusers are generally law-abiding outside the home.
Some warning signs:
Common suggestions for loved ones of those in abusive situations include: