Happy Holiday?

sexual assault

We are heading into the holiday season are you ready for it?  Are you ready for the reality of it? Everyone knows the holidays are a stressful time for families – especially families dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault.

But according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, calls to the hotline actually drop dramatically on major holidays like Thanksgiving.

“A lot of women will grin and bear it, try to keep the peace so their children don’t have to spend holidays in a shelter,” says Katie Ray-Jones, the president of the hotline.

According to Rita Smith, the executive direction of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, although some victims may “put on a good face” while family or friends are visiting on Thanksgiving or Christmas, that stoicism can’t often last long.

“We see an increase in request for service right after the holidays,” says Smith.

Jennifer Marsh, the vice president of victims services at the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) also told Crimesider that calls to their sexual abuse hotline go down on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, but go up in the weeks after.

“During the holidays, people are home together more,” says Smith. “In families where there is violence present that means more opportunity for violence.”

For those who decide to stay in – or in some cases return to – abusive homes around Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ray-Jones suggests identifying easy exits from the house and establishing code words with children who can run to neighbors for help if violence becomes a problem.

She also suggests considering what rooms in the house are “safe” to have an argument in.

“A lot of us spend time in the kitchen during the holidays,” says Ray-Jones. “But the kitchen is a very dangerous place to have an argument, with knives, boiling water, and pots and pans within reach.”

Here is where you can get help:

1-800-656-4673 – RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Hotline)

281-286-2525 – Bay Area Turning Point Hotline

713-473-2801 – The Bridge Over Troubled Waters

the night seasons…

night

There are ugly words in our society that no one wants to hear but we hear them too often. “A child was sexually abused.” The thought brings a repulsiveness that turns your stomach. Much too often the perpetrator is someone who “knows or loves” the child. To the child, it is confusion at its best. Your life it changed on every level and every relationship is not the same after you have been sexually abused. If by the Grace of God, you have never been in that position, you may wonder what a child goes through. How do they deal with such atrocities? Typically, the outcome is not good. Many just stay right there emotionally. They never progress and grow to become full mature adults. They just stay in the darkness of their pain. They just stay in

…the night season…

The bud has only begun to open as the innocence of a child is taken away.

Shattered by the weak will of a man, innocence tries to stand.

Day by day, year by year the sheerer strips away the virgin wool.

Innocence is still fighting.

Acceptance, Trust, Love, Security

Traits found in a good family.

Innocence gives way to trust.

As trust is stripped away, the life begins to decay.

During the midnight hour, comes a deafening silence

As the black night is absorbed into the abyss.

Innocence of life is nowhere to be found.

There is no east. There is no west.

It is only by the grace of God that life can find rest.

The shadow of a tainted man still remains.

Only sounds of pain are heard, moans that grieve evil spirits.

The only comfort found is despair.

The gloom of hellish shadows fills the air.

There is no path, no road, no sign.

The desolator becomes very, very dear in time.

The season has not changed.

The night has not given way to day.

Still, no one is there to lead the way.

As silent prayers cry out, the doorman stands still.

In the position of death, I find my way out.

It is only by death that I find life.

But at this death, there are no mourners,

No one to grieve, no friends to leave behind.

For no one knew that I was dying from the love of a family.

…I was buried alive

…I was the dead among the living.