From presents to paid vacation, many effects of the holidays are
more than welcome. However, with the winter comes an added increase
in domestic violence.
“Tensions increase when it gets cold outside,” said Mary
Mesropian, executive director of Estes Valley Victim Advocates.
“In 2003 we saw 54 women, 42 children and four men,” Mesropian
said. “It definitely increased around the Christmas holidays.”
In Larimer County, the rise in domestic violence can have very
“Money problems come up at Christmas time, one person will spend
more than the other,” said Eloise Camponella, press information
officer for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department. “Relatives can
also cause problems, and there’s more drinking around the
Trish Thibodo, the executive director of the Colorado Coalition
Against Domestic Violence, has memories from her days of working in
“It seemed that come Christmas Eve and Christmas day things
started to fill up,” Thibodo said, but she pointed out that
domestic violence issues are a steady problem throughout the year.
“It impacts everyone all the time. It’s happening to our sisters,
our moms, our daughters.”
Statewide Colorado shelters took in 5,200 victims, but they were
forced to turn away close to double that amount due to lack of
“About 10,000 had to be turned away,” Thibodo said. “Half of
them were children.”
Men who abuse women also abuse children 40 to 60 percent of the
time, according to the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and
Domestic Violence Web site.
The Web site also reports that one in five female high school
students reports having been physically or sexually abused by a
For Mesropian, one trend that causes concern is the decreasing
age of domestic violence perpetrators.
“We are seeing it in younger and younger kids,” Mesropian said.
“Younger women are seeing jealousy as ‘he really loves me.'”
As far as turning around the trend, Thibodo thinks more than
education is needed.
“We learn violence in our culture and it is socially
acceptable,” Thibodo said. “To have any change we have to have
shifting in our norms and values, the boys and the men committing
these acts have to change.”