No myth here: On Super Bowl Sunday, can domestic violence be far behind?

By Cristina DC Pastor

I was dredging my chicken wings in flour when I checked my laptop and noticed what looked like an urgent message that has been sitting on my Facebook screen.

“I’m looking for a divorce lawyer, know anyone?” my friend wrote. This friend loves to kid around with me so I thought it was another one of her random ways to call my attention and make me laugh.

“I hope it’s not for you,” I replied in kind.

“It is for me,” she said quickly. “I can’t take it anymore.”

With that, the thought that my friend may be in grave danger sent me to the nearest wash cloth to wipe my hands and contact a lawyer friend. The lawyer promptly gave a contact number of a colleague who specializes in New Jersey matrimonial law.

All of a sudden, everything I thought I knew about Domestic Violence I totally forgot. I don’t remember the name of the shelter to send her, the number to call, or how to contact the women’s organization that could assist her. My mind drew a blank; I was in panic.

“Leave, leave right now,” was all I could write. “Go to the nearest police station and file a report.” I’m guessing the husband was home and so she could not make her move.

While waiting to hear back from her, I came across a report how there appears to be a spike in domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday. bowl 2

There is a myth suggesting a link between domestic violence and the alcohol frenzy of a Super Bowl Sunday, writes Alice Robb in a January 30, 2015 article for the New Republic.

One of the research studies that supported her article was a paper published in the Journal of Family Psychology which analyzed data on 25,000 cases of “partner maltreatment” involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“On the week-to-week level, rates of domestic violence were highest on Saturdays and Sundays…since those are the days couples tend to spend the most time together,” writes Robb. “For the same reason, they predicted an increase in domestic violence on holidays: As they expected, rates of domestic violence reach annual highs on New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July. But they also rise on New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day and, yes, Super Bowl Sunday.”

The theory was, however, disputed by Jane Shivas, the executive director of the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women. She said in Robb’s article that Uniform Crime Reports from the NJ State Police have shown that, “for at least the last two years, the highest number of reported domestic violence incidents occurred on Sundays, but do not support the belief about Super Bowl Sunday, specifically.”

Some psychologists dismiss it as ‘myth.’

The chokehold that happened to my friend — as her daughter watched — was all too real. Her fear of being killed – “baka mapatay ako” – was the haunting final word she left on my screen. It all happened as NBC was airing the Super Bowl Pregame, as I was dredging my chicken wings in flour, as I was preparing to watch the Super Bowl.

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