TIS THE SEASON TO ABUSE
While people who celebrate Christmas prepare for a time of family, friends, over-eating and opening gifts. Others look forward to a time of stress, on edge in case the abuser decides to mentally/physically abuse loved ones. The Christmas tree is decorated, but will it stay up or be trashed in a fit of rage? Presents are wrapped, but will they be given out or destroyed? Children may be waiting for Santa Claus, but not sure that he will be safe if he comes into the house. What if daddy or mommy don’t like him and assault him? If alcohol and/or drugs are an issue, will the abuser get high and fly into a rage? Will the money put aside for presents for the children be used to buy substances? Or will the family have to tiptoe around the house to avoid waking the beast
Those who have left the abuser are fearful that he or she may go on a rampage because the family is not together. Will they be safe? If hidden, will they be found? Most parents would like for the children to have a relationship with the other parent if it can be done safely. If the abuser is in better financial shape than the victim, which is not unusual, will he/she use this time to buy expensive gifts for the children to manipulate and impress them?
The staff who work at domestic violence programs prepare for a rise in the number of calls. I know that at the domestic violence program in our area the calls have increased. It may be quiet on Christmas Day, but prior to the 25th it is busy. Safe homes can be full any time of year, but often during December. The staff are also ensuring that the clients they are assisting have presents for their children. By the time Christmas day arrives, most staff are ready to collapse. But wait, it’s a 24/7 operation so several will be working.
Public safety will be responding to calls for assistance, so they will be working also. Hospitals, nursing homes and other 24/7 facilities will be staffed. Military around the world will not be home to see their loved ones. Will the homeless find a meal and a warm place to sleep?
There can be conflict within families during this time of year if abuse is not in the home. The threat of violence makes the holidays more dangerous.
I’m not trying to depress you, I pray that you do have a calm and peaceful Christmas. We just need to remember those who are struggling to survive, in danger, and need assistance.
Prayers and thanks to all those who will work to assist others on Christmas day. You are appreciated.
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!