ADA: Domestic Violence Spikes Around The Holiday Season

Posted at 5:08 PM, Dec 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 00:13:45-05

The occurrence of domestic violence tends to peak around the holiday seasons, according to Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Ana Escobar.

Escobar prosecutes domestic violence cases and says she talks with about 30 victims every week. She says during holidays, including Christmas and even Easter, there are more cases of abuse than normal. 

Sparkle John is a victim from one such case. Johnson was abused by her then boyfriend Christmas night after getting home from a family holiday party. Johnson said her boyfriend didn't like she danced with one of his relatives.

"He was just asking me, why was I dancing like I was dancing," said Johnson. "Why was I enticing his cousins?" 

That's when the attacks started. Johnson said her boyfriend beat her with objects from around the house, kicked her, raped her and cut her. 

"He had written on my face with a marker and video taped it all as a way to degrade me," said Johnson. "I have four children total, three by him. My daughter who's not by him, he cut up all of her pictures. [He told] me I wasn't nothing."

For two whole days Johnson endured abuse. She said her three kids were locked in a room and were only given a bag of chips. The former boyfriend would not let her go to them.

"Sometimes [he hit me] so hard, I couldn't breath if it was in my back or my stomach so hard I was throwing up," said Johnson. "He was basically playing Russian Roulette with my life. During what I call the Christmas Hostage [situation]. So, at that point, I prayed. I said God, if you get me out of this, I promise I will prosecute."

After two days, Johnson convinced her abuser to let her go. She said she was taking the kids to school, but instead went straight to police.

Two years later, her ex-boyfriend is in prison and Johnson lives in a house with three of her kids.

Johnson, a minister, said she never believed domestic abuse would happen to her, or that she would put up with it for so long. But she did have this message for anyone going through something similar:

"My church is Saint Luke Primitive Baptist Church, 135 Lewis Street," she said. "You can find me there every Sunday. If you're afraid, you can call me, you can find me. Whatever you have to do, get out. Don't let your children bury you. Don't let your children have to go to school and explain, my daddy's beating my momma, my momma's dying. My daddy's killing my momma. These things my toddlers were saying on a regular basis."

In 2017, there were 13 domestic violence homicides in Nashville. Six of those were murder suicides. According to Escobar, kids who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence or become abusers themselves.

Escobar said there are many reasons for domestic violence during the holidays, but the services for people who experience abuse are still open.

"The Jean Crowe advocacy center... they're going to be open all during the holidays except for Christmas Day," said Escobar. "They're available to help you safety plan."

Also, the YWCA has a a hotline for domestic abuse. This is the number: 1-800-334-4628.