Christmas is a time for rejoicing. A time for family celebrations and a
time for giving. All over the world the different nations, religions
and even families have their own unique tradition that they associate
with Christmas. Even those who do not belong to the Christian faith and don't recognize Christmas as a religious holiday can't help but get caught up in the excitement of the festive season.
All except the victims of Domestic Violence!
Although Christmas is perceived to be a time of peace and happiness for families, stress, debt and alcohol levels can create an unhappy alliance.
Over the holiday period cracks may appear in family relationships particularly for individuals not used to spending a lot of time together. In some families the breadwinner may be more accustomed to spending long hours at work rather than at home with their partner and children. Additionally the pressure of providing expensive gifts can leave families with the prospect of paying off debts in the New Year.
Domestic violence knows no prejudice and cuts across all ethnic, religious, economic and social groups and includes people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered.
And when Christmas comes round domestic violence escalates and the victims suffer.
Not only does the abused partner suffer but the children who witness abuse suffer. More often than not the abuser does not allow Christmas gifts. Abusers are self-centered and if there is no gain for them then they generally classify such expenditure as frivolous. There is very little joy in Christmas for the children of these dysfunctional relationships.
Christmas As Remembered by a Victim of Domestic Violence
- Clare Barnes on her experiences of domestic violence | Life and style | The Guardian
Clare Barnes grew up watching her father beat her mother. As a child she felt torn - whose side should she be on? Now that her parents are old, and the violence continues, so too does her confusion.
Emotional Abuse During Christmas Season
Not all abusers resort to physical violence. Don't ever under-estimate the stress of being the victim of emotional abuse which also escalates over the festive period. Very few victims of emotional abuse lay charges against their abusers and the number of victims is unknown.
Statistics that are available do however indicate that more women are subject to emotional abuse than to physical abuse. Women who have been victims of both emotional and physical abuse have reported that emotional abuse is just as traumatic, if not more. than physical abuse.
Domestic Violence Escalates During the Festive Season
Domestic Violence victims are not a small minority. 25% of women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and 1.3 million women in America are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, according to the National Coalition on Domestic Violence.
That means that the
chances are slight that you do not know someone that is a victim of
domestic violence. If you do not know of someone now, the chances are
there that you will at some time. It could be your sister, your cousin
or your best friend.
Domestic Violence centers experience a drastic increase in calls from victims during the festive season. This year is going to be a particularly difficult period for both victims and domestic violence shelters, the lifeline for victims and their children who need to flee to a place of safety.
Domestic violence affects each and every one of us. Physical and emotional abuse does not discriminate against age, income level or ethnicity. Besides the direct impact on the victims and their families everyone of us carries both the financial and societal burden of domestic violence.
Nationwide monies spent annually on direct medical care and mental health services as a result of domestic violence is equal to more than half of the entire budget of the city of Los Angeles.
Plight Of Domestic Violence Shelters This Christmas
In July this year Governor
Schwarzenegger cut back $16
million to domestic violence shelters. As a result six
domestic violence shelters have closed their doors and many more have
had to scale back services. These shelters serve as a literal life-line
to domestic violence victims and children escaping violent and abusive
situations. The closing of these shelters could mean that victims of
domestic violence living in those communities will probably end up
living in continued terror in the hands of their abusers.
On 21 October Governor Schwarzenegger signed a one-year stop-gap funding measure to restore 80% of the domestic violence shelter funding but to many of these shelters it is too late. They have already laid off staff members and had to reduce staff hours which means there is a cut back on critical services during the Christmas season.
What Other People Are Doing To Help
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month in the States but hopefully it will not end on the 31 October.
During the next few months leading up to Christmas I would like to challenge all hubbers in the Hubpage Community to do something to help Domestic Violence Victims.
Whatever you do no matter how big or small we can publicize on this hub. I am sure a lot of you work for big corporations that would be willing to make some kind of donation to the Domestic Violence shelters in your community. Even if you just have posters printed and displayed in areas where people are busy with their Christmas shopping it may change someone's life.
10 Year Old Boy Makes Bookmarks For Domestic Violence Victims
A ten year old boy from the Mary Blount Elementary School spends his free time and energy making bookmarks that he sells for $1 each and then donates this money to Haven House, a domestic violence shelter.
Pajamas and Books For Children in Domestic Violence Shelters
The Early Learning Coalition of Marion County in partnership with United Way collect donations of pajamas and books to give as Christmas gifts to various charity organizations with children living in domestic violence shelters being their number one priority.
According to the news report for a large number of the children that received books or pajamas from this organization last year, these were their only Christmas gifts.
Used Cellphones for Domestic Violence Victims
Shop has joined forces with Greener Solutions, a mobile phone recycling
company, to collect customers' unwanted mobile phones - and in doing so all funds
raised will go to Refuge, the charity dedicated to helping women and children
affected by domestic violence.
Sandra Horley, OBE, chief executive of Refuge, says: "Every day at Refuge we see the black eyes and broken bones of many women. We know about the despair, the fear and the terror that women and children face. But by recycling your mobile phone you can help Refuge provide the vital life-saving services to women and children who live with domestic violence every day of their lives."
Over 300 stores if The Body Shop in the UK are running The Help Stop Violence in the Home campaign which aims to increase domestic violence awareness- a problem that affects one in four women in their lifetime. Almost 19 million Britons - that's 42 per cent of the adult population - say they personally know someone who as suffered at the hands of a violent partner.
New York Cellphones for Domestic Violence Victims
More than 150 state agency offices across New York are collecting used cellphones in recognition of Domestic Violence awareness month.
Jewelry Sale for Domestic Violence Victims
The holiday season isn't too far away, and that's why the S.O.S. Shelter is looking for even more help.
Bewitching Tea for Domestic Violence Victims
For the fourth year running, the Benicia chapter of Soroptimist International, a women's service organization, held a Bewitching Tea to raise money for two domestic violence organizations.
Domestic Violence Victim Supports Christmas Campaign
Break the Silence
More Hubs on Abusive Behavior
- How to Prevent Domestic Violence
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- Domestic Violence in the LGBT Community
Domestic violence is a violation of human rights in any relationship, regardless of the gender or sexual identity of the parties involved and regardless of the relationship between the victim and the...
- Living With Domestic Violence is Damaging Our Children
When we talk about abusive relationships and domestic violence we tend to concentrate on the adults, the abuser and the abused. Sadly, though all too often the people affected most are the innocent children....
- Emotional Abuse
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- What You Should Know About Physical Abuse
Everywhere we look we see violence - in movies, on the news and in many of the computer games that we give our children to play with. Its not surprising then that domestic violence and abuse is often overlooked or excused. Contrary to what many peopl
- The Best Christmas Gift Anyone Can Give
The best Christmas Gift anyone can give this and every Christmas is to donate a toy to a needy cause. We are all so busy planning our Christmas that we tend to forget about those less fortunate than we are. ...
FirstStepsFitness on July 25, 2010:
Great Hub ! Many holidays , weekends , vacations etc ...see a rise in domestic incidents . Law enforcement really do not like these calls for many reasons , one being they are so unpredictable .
Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on November 29, 2009:
I could not agree more with you Pollyannalana. I recommend you read my hub on emotional abuse.
Pollyannalana from US on November 29, 2009:
Glad you also mentioned the emotional abuse, because it is every bit as important, no one can see it to help and even the victim will go through years not realizing what is wrong with them and can never do enough to please and feel to blame for all anyone else does to their spouse because the spouse verbally abuses them over all bad that happen to them, which is almost a constant. Probably more women are emotionally abused than physically because it is so hard to recognise as abuse, although their whole life may have been ruined because of it.
Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on November 16, 2009:
Thanks for the comment mistywild. I am so glad to hear that you help out during the holidays as these shelters are really swamped during the holiday season.
mistywild from Houston, TX (Proud Texan) on November 16, 2009:
Very informative article. I volunteer with an organization for women of domstic abuse. Holidays are the worst time. Thanks for sharing.
Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on November 04, 2009:
Thank you for your comment robertsloan2 .
Thanks for your input. I agree with what you say and will do a separate hub on this topic.
robertsloan2 from San Francisco, CA on November 04, 2009:
Excellent but for one gap. Men are sometimes the victims. Women are sometimes abusers. Resources for men getting out of an abusive relationship are slim to none in some areas and the chances of a man getting custody of his children from an abusive spouse are ludicrously low.
Abuse doesn't respect gender or age.
Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on November 02, 2009:
I am glad that I could inspire you to support a good cause and maybe we can help a few of those less fortunate than we are!
Wendy Iturrizaga from France on November 02, 2009:
Hi Laura, just to let you know that the HubMob will be supporting the Domestic Violence Awareness cause, thanks to your awareness hub. Thank you for the inspiration for this week's topic! https://hubpages.com/forum/topic/26027
Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on November 01, 2009:
Thanks for taking the time to read my hub.
Abuse of any nature is unacceptable and without making people aware of the magnitude of the problem and where to go if they need assistance we will never reduce the damage being done to people throughout the world.
Wendy Iturrizaga from France on November 01, 2009:
Thank you from bringing the topic into attention Laura. I did not know that October was Domestic Violence Awareness month in the States, we could have taken the subject as a hubmob topic.
Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on October 28, 2009:
I just think it is important that all us us keep our eyes and ears open and reach out to those in need of support - not only at Christmas but every day!
Joel McDonald from Denver, Colorado on October 28, 2009:
Laura, There are no words to describe my sadness when I think of all of the victims who don't get to appreciate the love and joy of Christmas because of being in an abusive relationship. Even for those of us not in such a relationship, it's important to keep things in perspective when stresses get high during this time of year.
You've got a new fan.
Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on October 27, 2009:
Your life stories are what started me writing about abusive relationships. I'm not telling your story - I'm just trying to make people aware of the problem and aware that there is help!
Paradise7 from Upstate New York on October 27, 2009:
Thank you for another good hub. My own story, my background, was FULL of domestic violence against us children, but not against our mother. I think she might have used US, her children, as her shield.
So I know, I've seen it close up and personal, and know what a desperate case these women are in, AND their children. I'm glad to help; I'm glad to do what I can, now that I'm an adult and have resources at my command.
Thank you again for writing this hub.
Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on October 27, 2009:
Yes - it's a disturbing thought that as we go about getting ready for our festivities thousands of woman sit and wait for the next attack - either physical or verbal.
Thanks for reading!
Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on October 27, 2009:
The holidays certainly bring out the best and the worst of us. I sometimes blame the media for flooding people with images of perfection and money a-plenty.
Thanks, Laura, for another thoughtful Hub.