Domestic violence can increase during the holidays

Published: Nov. 25, 2011 at 9:44 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2011 at 3:39 AM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Sometimes violence tends to increase during the holidays, and Black Friday has nothing to do with it.

According to experts, domestic violence can increase during the holidays for a number of reasons: the stress of the holidays, gift giving and close quarters with family members can all factor into a violent situation.

Jim Rays, Family Counseling Center program director, says people begin to feel guilty during the holidays if they don't provide gifts for family and friends, but do  spend money on drugs and alcohol. Ray says the result can be violence.

Some women said that Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday was one of their first in more than 10 years without drugs, alcohol and violence.

"It was horrible he destroyed our Christmas. It made it miserable for all of us."

"I've never had a normal Christmas, I've never had a normal Thanksgiving."

These women, who wish to remain anonymous, have witnessed violence during the holidays first hand.

"A couple of fist fights at the house."

"He broke all of my ornaments that I collected since I was a little girl so it was stuff that really meant something to me."

"Run over Christmas gifts in the street, threaten to beat people up, so it was no fun."

"Christmas Eve he was back at it again and the same thing would happen every year."

Family Counseling Center Program Director Jim Ray says violence can happen for a number of reasons including: Family tension, drug use and financial responsibility.

Ray says a lot of times people spend their money on drugs and alcohol, and don't have enough for gifts.

"The guilt and the shame that comes with that creates blaming and pushing and violence because I'm acting out trying to take the focus off of me, so I'm throwing it at you," said Ray.

"People start feeling like things are crashing in around them, and it leads to violence," said Cape Girardeau Police Officer Darin Hickey.

Hickey says in past holiday seasons sometimes they've seen more domestic violence calls, and sometimes they haven't.

But either way, it's not the kind of surprise anyone wants during the holidays.

"Domestic violence cases especially are extremely volatile, because you're dealing with family, dealing with people who care about each other," said Hickey.

And because of that caring feeling, Ray says people always hope it will get better.

"We have this illusion over and over again that it's going to be different," Ray said.

And this year the women tell me it is different.

"Relaxing and peaceful."

"Even though my family wasn't here with me, I walked around with a smile on my face all day it felt great, it really did."

"It's been happy ones the past few years."

"It's amazing actually."

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