Domestic violence and the holidays

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 12:17pm

The Christmas season is both joyous and stressful. And in a recession, the pressures are even greater.

Spouse abuse is a year round curse, but to our surprise, there is something about the holidays that produces a surprising result.

Call it wishful thinking, maybe denial, but what we learned from an expert about the holidays was unexpected.

The East Texas Crisis Center is a lovely wooded island of serenity and safety in the middle of a crowded city.

And that safety is needed, because those who come here are in trouble, sometimes they may be running from danger.

“There are a number of reasons for domestic violence and the economics is certainly a factor,” says the Director of Client Services, Martha Carney.

Domestic violence knows no season or economic condition. Recession or recovery, rich or poor, July or Christmas, family trouble is a constant.

“It’s really about power. His need to control her in any situation,” Carney says.

But during the holidays, when money pressures would seem to be an added stresser, the shelter here, which can accommodate up to 40 women and children, sees fewer clients.

It seems that the power of the season makes people want to stick it out, give the kids a nice holiday, maybe even hope for a miracle…

“Maybe he’s going to change this time,” she told us, “and often after an explosion, he’ll be very sorry, very remorseful. There’ll be presents, there’ll be flowers..I’m so sorry, I’ll never do it again. And like you said hope springs eternal.”

And that hope may make leaving even harder, no matter how much sense it makes.

But Carney says, there is a way out…there is help. And hopefully, there is a better future for women who have despaired of ever seeing one.

“To know that we’re here,” she concluded. “To know that she doesn’t have to stay there. To know that she does have, you know, that option.”

Though the Crisis Center is a short term shelter, it can help women find work, training, or assist them in getting to family who may take them in.

Hotline: 800-333-0358

Website: etcc.org

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