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Holiday Domestic Violence Can Lead To Divorce


The holidays are a time to celebrate the bounty of the season for many.  Basking in the warmth of family and friends, good food, children’s laughter, and sparkling lights, the holidays bring out the best in so many. This idyllic picture, however, is nothing close to the reality some face during this season of joy and celebration.

Violence Persists, or even Escalates 

When violence is the norm in a family, it certainly does not take a break for the holidays.  The truth is, some studies indicate that the rates of such violence actually increase between Thanksgiving and Superbowl Sunday, although data is mixed in this regard.  We do know that pressures can increase during the holidays, and that could be the impetus for violence, especially in homes where violence has occurred in the past.

Factors that Might Impact Increased Violence 

During the holiday season, a number of unusual factors congregate to dial up the tension and angst for families:

1-    Financial demands can become excruciating during the holidays, particularly for breadwinners who feel deficient when it comes to providing the kind of celebration they’d like for their families. It can be a thump to one’s self-worth to come face to face with the fact that your kids will go wanting this holiday season.

2-    Keeping up the pretense: During the holidays, more than at any other time of year, people feel duty-bound to display their happiness and satisfaction with life.  Sometimes parading that image to family and friends can be exhausting when it’s just an act.

3-    Extended family and friends have a bigger presence in our lives.  Holiday gatherings, along with the cacophony and commotion, can wear on some people’s nerves.

4-    Traffic, lines, and commercialism:  Congested roadways and stores can be exasperating, as impatient shoppers flood public spaces and make simple errands stressful.

5-    Free-flowing alcohol:  Because the consumption of alcohol is often a factor in violence, the ready availability of more alcohol during the holidays makes it easier for some to let it all hang out—even if what’s hanging out is violence.

 Safety Plan for the Holidays 

For anyone in an abusive relationship, it is critical to have a safety plan in case things get dangerous.

1-    Reduce your isolation by accessing family and friends, or even a hotline, when you need to. Creating a code word that you share with trusted individuals could indicate that you’re in trouble and alert them to get help when you need it.

2-    Reduce factors that exacerbate the tension for your abusive spouse.  That might mean few or smaller gatherings or alcohol-free parties.  Make changes based on what will help your situation.

3-    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, it doesn’t matter if it’s the holiday season or not.  Our compassionate, experienced Baltimore family attorneys at The Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes are prepared to intervene with restraining orders and other legal tools to help you stay safe as you negotiate the terms of a divorce.  Contact us in our office today for reliable, kind assistance today.

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