Everyone knows domestic violence rates increase on Super Bowl Sunday right? Wrong. During the 1990s, reporters began quoting statistics about Super Bowl Sunday being the most dangerous day of the year for women in abusive relationships. It was said that due to the combination of alcohol and the aggression generated by watching football, men who were prone to domestic violence were more likely to act on that day.
The statistics are not verified. In 1993, Ken Ringle of The Washington Post contacted the researchers mentioned by various reporters, and each one said they had been misquoted or misunderstood. Ringle said, “I proved that all their assertions and demographics were fraudulent, but the myth persists. It’s harder to kill than a vampire … It resurfaces every year at this time.”
New research shows that although there may be an increase in domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s no greater than on any other holiday involving drinking and spending time with family.
The Journal of Family Psychology published a paper on the topic in 2015. Researchers had analyzed 25,000 incidents of partner maltreatment (defined as physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect) involving military members. Rates were higher at the weekends and annual highs were on New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day and Super Bowl Sunday.
In 2007, Kathryn Ochs and Tara Robertson studied calls to a local women’s shelter in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to follow domestic violence trends. They analyzed 2,387 calls over a three year period and also conducted interviews. There was no increase in calls during Super Bowl Sunday. The results were published in the journal Human Organization.
In New Jersey, Jane Shivas, executive director of the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, said that Super Bowl Sunday is not a particularly busy time for shelters, and reports from New Jersey State Police have shown no uptick in violence on Super Bowl Sunday for the past two years.
Kenya Fairley, a psychologist who treats battered women, says that society’s focus should not be on which day the abuse occurs but the fact that it happens every single day, and that’s what people should be talking about.
According to a 2010 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in three women in the United States experience some kind of violence from their domestic partner. These attacks often resulted in women becoming fearful, feeling worried for their safety or experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mental trauma from domestic violence often develops into a lasting mental illness, such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse disorders. Sovereign Health treats mental illness and addiction at all of our California locations. Our location in Chandler, Arizona, is a women-only facility specializing in patients who have experienced trauma. Contact us 24/7 to find out more about how we can help.
Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer