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The Myth About the Super Bowl and Domestic Violence (and the Startling Reality)

by | Feb 5, 2021 | Divorce, Domestic Violence, Spousal Support |

There’s a myth floating around about the escalation of domestic violence during the Super Bowl, worth mentioning as a very unusual Super Bowl happens this weekend. It’s been nearly a year since the pandemic has upended our lives and created a new set of concerns for people experiencing violence in their relationships. While the Super Bowl should not be a cause for increased concern, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be vigilant about domestic violence. 

Domestic Violence and Super Bowl Sunday: The Original Myth

The fantastic fact-checking website Snopes tackled the football and domestic violence connection back in 2001. That article pointed to a 1993 news conference by a coalition of women’s groups, bringing forth “significant anecdotal evidence suggest[ing] that Super Bowl Sunday is ‘the biggest day of the year for violence against women.’” 

Snopes noted that reporters looked into the claim, and while they weren’t able to substantiate a correlation between the big game and domestic violence hotline calls, it did pinpoint specific times of the year where intake rates of women with children at shelters spiked: during breaks in the school calendar such as Christmas vacation, spring break, and summer vacation. 

Domestic Abuse Happens Every Seven Seconds

A January 2020 Miami Herald article, providing an update on the myth, underscored the point that while the Super Bowl doesn’t appear to cause a spike in domestic violence, it still happens, and it happens at an alarming rate. 

“There are spikes, but the fact is that [domestic violence] is pervasive and growing at all times, so it is not limited to one segment of our society, it is not limited to one time of year,” Mary Riedel, president and CEO of Women in Distress of Broward County, said in that article. “It is pervasive. It happens every seven seconds.”

The article went on to note, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, that one in four women and one in seven men in the U.S. have been victims of severe physical violence in their lifetime. 

How Domestic Violence Affects Divorce

If domestic violence exists in a marriage, against either a spouse or a child, it most definitely changes the complexion of a divorce. It can result in the spouse experiencing domestic abuse getting spousal maintenance, as we’ve discussed in prior blog articles. It can certainly impact parenting time, even providing a case for sole custody. It most certainly means that the divorce will have to be litigated, and the abusive spouse will very possibly make it a challenging case. 

If you’re experiencing domestic violence in a marriage and want to get out of it, know that the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance has extensive experience in this area. We can do a consultation that not only goes over the plan to resolve your case, but the plan to get you and your children to safety while you’re going through the divorce. These can be very challenging cases, but in thinking about divorce as a route to a happier post-divorce life, there’s no type of person who may need that more than someone looking to get out of an abusive marriage.