Santa wept while reading the following note he found scrawled: “Dear Santa, I try to be good. I try to do everything that is asked of me. It seems that nothing is good enough. I receive constant complaints, a barrage of insults, the tongue-lashings are fierce, and the physical abuse is happening more frequently. If you can, this Christmas, all I want is to be rescued from this seemingly broken life that I’m living.”
While this may be a fictitious note, it is a grim reality for those that find themselves in abusive relationships. As the holidays approach, it is a concern that financial stressors, unpleasant visits from friends and family, and so much more can cause an already unstable abuser to further lose control.
Various data sources have conflicting views on whether or not the holidays contribute to increased domestic violence or intimate partner violence. Most of the reputable sources say that it depends on the area as to the rise and fall of DV cases. As of last year in Scotland County, there were steady numbers of intimate partner violence cases. Mrs. Beth Taylor, Shelter Manager of the Scotland County Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center, said, “Last year, our crisis response team went to the hospital to accompany DV victims a total of five times between Christmas Eve and New Year’s night; two of those responses were actually on New Year’s night.”
With regards to the increase and/or decrease in domestic violence cases, Mrs. Taylor said, “Oddly enough, though, we are really low population right now, whereas this time last year, we were nearly full. I know the assaults are occurring, but they aren’t reaching out. All of our advocates are willing to do presentations, education, and personal testimonies for any and all of our community, churches, clubs, civic groups, etc.”
In order to become survivors of domestic violence, the current victims must be willing to gain both the courage and strength to seek assistance. Mrs. Taylor and the entire staff of the shelter stand ready and willing to reach out. They have the time and the space to devote to those seeking outreach. Mrs. Taylor added, “In November of 2010, a newly built shelter was opened as a result of an aggressive and collective effort from our executive board, the community, and the local housing authority. This shelter hosts six bedrooms and four full baths, allowing a potential capacity of about 20-22 residents.”
As ugly as it is, domestic violence and sexual abuse are sickening topics that affect all genders, ages, classes, and educational levels. Mrs. Beth Taylor pointed out that, “Education is the key to awareness and prevention. The staff and volunteers at DVRCC man a 24-hour Crisis Line. The entire staff is available to provide education awareness presentations to any and all community groups.”
This Christmas, give the gift life by saving one. If you or someone you know is entangled in a domestic violence trap, please reach out to the Scotland County Domestic Violence Rape Crisis Center. Mrs. Beth Taylor, Shelter Manager, may be reached at her office phone, 910-276-5505, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. The 24-hour crisis line is 910-276-6268.