Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and slicing up a pumpkin pie are some of the holidays’ joys. Being surrounded by friends, family and those who may be a bit of neither, but are welcomed into our homes regardless.
For many, the holidays are seen as a break — a break away from the chaos of normality, be it jobs, personal life issues or problems close to home. However, while many are embracing the escape with open arms, domestic abuse victims and those in horrific situations are trapped every year.
According to Women Against Crime, domestic violence rises during the holidays because of a variety of factors. The season of giving is often stressful which may lead to an increase in drug or alcohol usage, which could intensify violent tendencies in abusers.
The National Library of Medicine stated a variety of factors lead to abuse, which are exacerbated during the holidays. Some of these include anger management issues, jealousy, learned behavioral traits or low self-esteem.
Domestic violence is an ongoing issue for many households in the U.S. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three women and one in four men will experience physical violence annually.
The National Library of Medicine also states that over three million children each year are referred to protective agencies, while around 100,000 children die as a result of violence in homes annually.
The Domestic Violence Assessment Consultancy and Training website stated that 2020’s Christmas season saw a sharp increase in reported violence cases in both men and women.
“Christmas 2020 saw the number of domestic violence incidents nearly doubling nationally, from 200,000 reports in 2019 to 369,000 in 2020,” the website stated.
This holiday season, remember to be kind and thankful for what you have, but be aware of the dangers some experience daily. Resources are available for many experiencing any form of abuse, both in the state or locally.
The Sojourner House in Youngstown, Ohio offers shelter to victims, including children, and also provides a 24-hour crisis line and advocacy and support groups. Its website also offers advice to those wanting to leave domestic violence households.
The Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley acts as a short-term emergency shelter that provides food and safety for visitors and has been serving the Mahoning Valley since 1893. Its website includes a full list of services, as well as chapel services in the dining hall.
In Trumbull County, Someplace Safe created in part with Family and Community Services Inc. also offers shelter, advocacy and a 24-hour hotline for domestic violence victims. Its website can also connect you to more out-of-county support or help locations beyond domestic violence.
The Family Mission in Warren, Ohio offers temporary shelter, food, clothing and safety for those regardless of reason. It also offers addiction recovery programs and services that can be found on its website.
All of the sources listed above accept donations and look for volunteers year-round to help aid the community.