Preventing Domestic Violence During The Holidays

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'Tis the season for stress.
Many of us try to out-do ourselves during the holiday season and tension runs high.
That's when arguments can happen, but sometimes those arguments escalate into a domestic violence situation.
Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard explains why preventing those situations should be at the top of the Christmas list this year.

Money is tight, you're traveling to see family or maybe you're not able to be with your extended family this year.
Any one of these situations can cause stress that can lead to an argument.

Social Worker Rachel Peterson says, "The stressors that are inevitable during the holidays such as financial stress, emotional stress of being with family members that you're not typically around, maybe there's a conflictual relationship there."

Occasional arguments are a normal part of any marriage.
But what isn't normal is when those arguments escalate to abuse.
Abusers often use the holiday season to exert control over their victims.
The abuser knows the victim wants to be with family, so he uses that to get an even tighter grip.

Peterson says, "This is a pattern that you see, and it may get worse with the holidays and it may get better right after, but likely it will come back."

If you feel a situation is getting out of hand, try to remove yourself from it and allow the situation to diffuse. Then come back together when things are calm.
Sharing your feelings in a calm way should prevent an argument from becoming physical.

"It starts out as someone who's very loving and caring and wants to do everything to make you happy, and then as time goes on you will see a building of tension." Peterson says.

Don't use seasonal stress as an excuse. Abuse is abuse no matter what time of year it happens.

If you find yourself in an abusive situation, churches, shelters and your local police department are there to help.

You can call Peninsula at 970-9800 and someone will refer you to the appropriate services.

But if you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

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