Potawatomi regalia a mix of tradition and personality
November 21, 2013
Secretary Jewell Signs Historic Agreement with Citizen Potawatomi Nation
November 25, 2013

Hope for the Holidays

Having time off from work for the holidays means abusers and victims spend more time together, increasing the likelihood that abuse will occur.

Many times victims may want to flee the situation but instead choose to stay, wondering how they would provide for the children and not wanting to break the family apart during the holidays.

It is important to remember that domestic violence is any abusive behavior that allows one intimate partner to maintain control over another. An example of this type of power and control is taking away the car keys on Christmas Day to keep you from visiting family.

Most Christmas and New Year’s parties feature alcoholic beverages as one of their main attractions, causing alcohol abuse to dramatically increase.

It is a myth that stress and/or drunkenness cause abusive situations. It is true however, that stress and drinking contribute to increased incidents of domestic violence or, in many cases, an escalation of violence that has been occurring. Being abusive is a choice or a learned behavior.

If you are in a violent relationship, remember that the abuse is not your fault, and that help is available.

The holidays can be a time of celebration and spending time with loved ones, but it can also create a lot of stress. There are some ways of dealing with this holiday-induced tension.

  • First, keep the lines of communication open with your significant other and family members. Make a plan about talking through disagreements and stick with it.
  • Speak about what is important to you and your partner or family member about the holidays, specifically in terms of what is expected. Be sure your expectations are realistic.
  • Learn to say no and not feel guilty. If it doesn’t fit into your plans or is very difficult while causing more stress, just say no without the guilt.
  • If finances are a trigger for stressful situations, prepare yourself and your family about expectations and your budget.
  • Remember that making memories are what people treasure most about this time of year, not what gifts they received.
  • Do things in moderation. Too much stress, no matter the cause, can affect us mentally and physically.

If you and your family want to give back to the community or help those in need, contact your local domestic violence shelter. Many women and their children need your support, kindness and generosity. These families flee at a moment’s notice in search of a safe environment, leaving everything behind. These are everyday items that we take for granted.

But make no mistake, this doesn’t just occur during the holidays. It happens everyday.

According to the Violence Policy Center, in 2013 Oklahoma ranks 3rd nationally in women murdered by men in single victim, single offender incidents. The majority of these deaths are committed by a current or former intimate partner. Citizen Potawatomi Nation seeks to combat these incidents with the tribally funded House of Hope. At House of Hope, we serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking regardless of race, age, gender, sexuality or economic status. Clients do not need to be Native American to utilize our services. Our jurisdiction encompasses Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Cleveland counties and we can be reached at 405-275-3175. If you would like to learn more about our program, please visit www.cpnhouseofhope.org.