My main gig was volunteering at a domestic violence agency where I researched and wrote the organization’s history, taught dating violence prevention in local schools and worked on the 24-hour crisis hotline. And in order to do this terrifying and terribly important hotline work, I went through an intense and long training program.
- I learned why women stay in abusive relationships when it seems so obvious to the rest of us that they should leave.
- I learned that violence is a vicious cycle.
- And, I learned a number of statistics.
Most of theses numbers have stuck in my brain like gnarly, nasty pieces of chewed gum stuck under the lunch table – ugly to look at, hard to touch, easy to pretend they aren’t there. One of the stats goes like this: The day with the highest rate of domestic violence in the U.S. is Super Bowl Sunday.
Colts vs. Saints
Two days ago, as I sat at my computer working and occasionally watching the Facebook and Twitter streams of Super Bowl brouhaha pass me by, I found it hard to ignore this stuck-in-my-head statistic. I felt rising panic at what was likely going on as the Colts looked good…and then really bad, as the alcohol was consumed, as the chips ran out, as the bets were lost.
So, I put up a tweet and a FB status update telling people about the stat and offering up the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
What happened next utterly, totally and completely floored me.
Some women, women, came after me. They said the stat was bogus. One said, and I quote: “That is an unfounded myth propogated by the media and womens activist groups. Set the record straight.” (spelling/grammar errors are listed verbatim)
Can you imagine? Women-centric activist groups having the nerve to tell the world that on a day when alcohol, tension and the chance for losing large sums of money are high, there is a greater incidence of domestic violence? The horror. Don’t get me started on the idea that these groups have been lumped in with ‘the media’.
I’ve since learned there are many sides to the validity of the actual stat.
This comment also included the following quote, “On January 31, 1993, when Ken Ringle of The Washington Post questioned the information mentioned in the press release, other news media quickly retracted their articles covering the domestic violence story. The damage was done. The myth continues and Super Bowl Sunday is still sometimes referred to as Bloody Sunday, Abuse Bowl, a Day of Dread, and the Most Dangerous Day in America.”
The damage was done. Yes. Citizens of this country were once again made to look at the fact that women and children are beaten in their own homes every single day by the people who are supposed to love and cherish them. And how dare we disrupt Super Bowl Sunday with this blasphemy! Oh holy, holy day!
My question is, who cares about the validity of this stat? IS THIS WHAT WE SHOULD BE WASTING OUR BREATH ARGUING ABOUT? Domestic Violence is true, real, happening – right now. And what made these women flare up against me and my status update about this? It confounds me!!! For heaven’s sake, use your breath to help someone, not squabble over what Snopes says!
And how can we believe that information from Ken Ringle up above. Hello? How many lies are we fed every day by industries with ulterior motives!?! I mean, do you really think Cheerios will save you from getting heart disease? PLEASE!!! The fight against the Super Bowl stat is based in the fact that it is a huge day for advertisers and TV: ‘Don’t fuck it up for us with your downer information, thank you’ is, I believe, their message.
My mother, bless her, has spent roughly 20 years of her life tirelessly working to bring awareness to and raise money for the ugly reality of domestic violence – and she isn’t done yet. Having retired from her role as Development Director, she’s now taking the training again so that she’s up to date and ready to again volunteer on the crisis hotline at Safe Connections in St. Louis.
In her training session this past Saturday (the day before the Big Game), someone (coincidentally) asked about the Super Bowl statistic. And the Director of the hotline said there’s a lot of discrepancy about the statistic. But that the organization personally tracks all of their calls, and every year, every year calls and DV reports spike on Super Bowl Sunday and the entire week that follows.
Statistic are hard to get. Especially when they surround an issue that people keep quiet, viciously undercover – so they don’t get arrested (the abuser) or so that they don’t get killed by their abuser (the abusee). Another stat: the chance an abused woman will be killed by her abuser if she tries to leave the situation increases roughly 75%.
What we do know is that an agency in downtown St. Louis, Missouri (middle America, right in the heartland) has their own stats. And they aren’t good.
If you or someone you know is being hurt, please reach out. Everyone deserves to be safe.
1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Image credit: sinosplice