Experts Say Domestic Violence Could Increase This Holiday Season

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- "This is the time of year when everybody is supposed to be in love with everybody. We give gifts and we're just happy.....not everyone is experiencing that the same way," said Dr. Barbara Turnage.

Turnage is the Department Chair For The Department of Social Work at ASU.  The holidays are filled with good cheer, family and friends, but it's also a time of great stress for many. People struggling just to put food on the table, now worried about buying gifts...that added stress can lead to violence.

"I might become even more aggressive towards you, because it's a reminder that I can't provide for my family the way everyone else is," Dr. Turnage.

Dr. Barbara Turnage calls domestic violence in Arkansas an epidemic. She says while the numbers may go up a little around the holidays, she says aggressors are violent all year long.  Dr. Turnage says we may see more domestic violence this holiday season due to job losses and a shaky economy.

"I'm going to be worried about the car needing gasoline or tires or whatever. I'm going to be worried about us not having food to try and buy these Christmas gifts. I'm going to be more anxious, nervous, and on edge," said Dr. Turnage.

Dr. Turnage says fears of a failed relationship, embarrassment, or hopes of changing an abuser often keeps the person being abused in the relationship. She also says abuse as a child may make a person more likely to tolerate abuse as an adult. Dr. Turnage says her advice is to get out and take action.

"Don't be afraid to file charges against this person who is harming you. I understand the need to love and the need to be loved, but that's not love," said Dr. Turnage.

Here are some helpful numbers: 933-9449 or 1-866-982-9575

Here are some signs to notice:

More make-up to hide injuries

Wearing loose fitting clothes when they normally don't

A "down" personality all of the sudden

Notice the way someone walks--someone who was hit or pushed may move differently.

Look for obvious signs like re-occuring bruises