It is estimated that 130 million Americans will tune in Super Bowl XXXVI this Sunday to watch the New England Patriots versus the St. Louis Rams. Emotions will run high and in some cases tempers may flare among viewers, especially when alcohol and/or bets involving money are involved. But do events such as the Super Bowl encourage domestic violence in society? Some say reports of domestic violence increase during and after the big game.
Margaret Brackley, Ph.D., professor in the department of chronic nursing care and director of the Center for Violence Prevention at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said insufficient evidence is available to directly link the Super Bowl to increases of domestic violence. However, Dr. Brackley says that whether or not the claims are true, domestic violence is a daily occurrence in millions of people's lives. "Batterers use any excuse, whether it's losing a bet on the Super Bowl or being served dinner late, to commit violence," she said. "Alcohol only adds to a potentially violent situation."
Dr. Brackley said women who find themselves in a violent situation this weekend, or any time of the year, should take the following steps:
- Leave a violent situation immediately and go to a neighbor's or a friend's house.
- Take your Social Security card and health insurance card with you.
- Call 911 or the Battered Women's Shelter at 930-3669. The Battered Women's Shelter not only offers help for abused women, but also offers programs for perpetrators of domestic violence.
"Men and women who are in abusive relationships also need to realize how the violence affects their family members, especially their children," Dr. Brackley said. "Boys who live in abusive homes are more likely as adults to abuse their spouses and end up in jail. Girls who come from abusive homes may end up in abusive relationships themselves."
The Center for Violence Prevention was established as part of the School of Nursing at
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to support violence-related research, education and practice. It serves as a clearinghouse for information and resources related to violence and violence prevention.
Note: To interview Dr. Margaret Brackley, call the Health Science Center's public affairs office at 567-2570. After 5 p.m. or on Saturday and Sunday, call pager (210) 553-5495 or cell 275-2160.