The holiday season is known to be a time of abundant cheer, presents, and food, spent alongside family, friends, and loved ones. While this is a joyous time for most, unfortunately, this experience is not universal. During the holidays, domestic violence is prevalent for a number of different reasons, which can make the holiday season a time of fear, abuse, and violence for some.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power over an intimate partner. Domestic violence can take many forms – psychological, sexual, emotional, technological, economic, or physical. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), more than 10 million individuals in the United States experience domestic violence each year. This violence occurs most notably between cohabitants, family members, and ex-spouses – the people whom you are often closest with.
Common Types of Domestic Violence
While everyone’s experience differs, there are some common types of domestic violence that you should be aware of:
- Physical aggression resulting in severe cuts and bruises
- Controlling your finances without consent
- Forbidding you from leaving the house or going certain places
- Excessive name-calling, teasing, or public embarrassment
- Forced sexual activities
- Using of fear tactics or threats
Domestic violence is a serious offense that is punishable by law. If you have been charged for domestic violence, speak with a Riverside domestic violence attorney to learn about the legalities and nuances of the situation.
Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
Every individual may exhibit different warning signs if they are experiencing domestic violence. However, here are some of the most common ones:
- Unusual bruises or cuts
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Loss of interest in normal, daily activities
- Suicidal thoughts
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Changes in personality
Reasons for the Increase in Domestic Violence
There are a number of reasons why there is an uptick in domestic violence during the holiday season, all of which are influenced by the holiday environment.
- Holiday stress: The holidays can bring about a great deal of stress for individuals. In fact, the American Psychology Association reports that stress levels in individuals increase 41% over the holidays. Whether you are cramming to finish year-end deadlines at work or cannot afford to put presents under the tree, the holiday season can be a very demanding time. When people are stressed out, they unfortunately turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as the use of alcohol and drugs, which directly increases the risk of domestic violence occurring.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is no stranger to the holiday season, as many toast to the new year and indulge in festive cocktails. However, alcohol is known to increase the occurrence and severity of domestic violence, making the holiday season a hotspot for domestic violence. Most notably, alcohol can influence these perpetrators to be more aggressive and less rational in their decision-making.
- Togetherness: Inevitably, the holidays are a time when family and friends come together to celebrate the season. However, this togetherness creates ample opportunity for perpetrators to commit acts of domestic violence due to the sheer fact that they are spending more time around these individuals. This togetherness can also be triggering for some, as it may bring back frightful and traumatic remembrance of abuse from past gatherings.
Just by reading this article, you have taken a step in the right direction towards educating yourself about the prominence of domestic violence during the holidays. If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, it is important to get in contact with the National Domestic Violence Hotline for protection from future harm.