Domestic violence may remain hidden during holidays

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- The Guilford County Family Justice Center says the domestic violence trends in Guilford County mirror those of the nation. Calls for service tend to go down on holidays, but the risk factor goes way up.

Catherine Johnson is the center's director.

"What we know around the holidays is the pressures of finances, the pressures of family, the pressures of children being out of school, the pressures of expectations around the holidays and gifts and alcohol and drugs all of those factors are factors that could increase the likeliness of domestic violence around the home," Johnson said.

Marva Edwards is a domestic violence survivor. She says she knows those feelings well.

"You're looking forward to those happy moments, you're looking forward to those romantic times, you hope for them and so you don't want to do anything to spoil those for yourself or again for your children," Edwards said.

Edwards said her ex-husband got violent when he was agitated because he didn't have enough money to buy Christmas presents for their children.

"[He] lost his temper and hit me very, very hard on my face until I spun around and hit the floor," she remembered.

Edwards says many victims are too willing to make sacrifices during the holidays of their own safety to keep other people happy. She says friends and family need to be aware of what is going on around them and if they suspect domestic violence or abuse is happening, they need to speak up.