Super Bowl Sunday brings an important domestic violence problem to attention

Domestic violence is an epidemic in the United States and evidence suggests the violence is above average on the Super Bowl

On average, 20 people every minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. One in three women and one in four men are victims of some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

These problems are startling, but the fact that some evidence suggests domestic violence may increase on Super Bowl Sunday is even more troubling.

According to the New Republic, domestic violence has been shown to increase during holidays that are revolved around drinking and being around the family. While rates of violence have annual highs on New Year's Day and the Fourth of July, other holidays and the Super Bowl also have their own considerable share in the rise in violence.

There has been a myth floating around for years that the Super Bowl is the largest day in the United States for domestic violence. Some evidence points towards an increase in violence, but it is not actually the largest day of violence. However, while this day is not to blame, it does still pose a problem to the public.

Some people use this claim and believe that the violent nature of football is what sparks these fights, but the facts don't back up the accusation. 

“The claim that Super Bowl Sunday is the largest day for domestic violence is one that is not well supported by statistics,” president and co-founder of Arizona State's Team One Love organization and ASU biochemistry sophomore Julie Alvarez said. “This may have stemmed from the idea that testosterone-filled heterosexual men on game day will get angry if their team is not winning and take it out on their wife or girlfriend.”

Alvarez continued to explain that this assumption was incorrect for two main reasons. People assume that domestic violence is based off anger, when it is instead a pattern of controlling behaviors, and that this issue only exists between a man and woman, while it actually presents itself in many different roles.

“I think this myth can be harmful because it can cause people to believe that domestic violence is an issue that only happens one day a year, rather than the wide-ranging issue that it is,” Alvarez said.

For people to blame a sports event for violence is unfair to the victims and is not an excuse for the abuser. Abusers need to be held accountable for their terrible actions, but more importantly these fights should never happen in the first place.

Too many abusers use high-stress situations, such as the Super Bowl, to justify their violence. There’s no reason to allow this game or anything else on this day to cause a fight.

The day undoubtedly has its fair share of victims but this is a much larger problem than just football.

Domestic violence is a problem in the United States that is out of control. In 2013, Arizona was ranked as one of the worst states in the country for domestic violence.

A confrontation regarding the final score, or anything else revolving around the game, probably stems from a much deeper issue than just a football game. While this day definitely causes emotions to soar year after year, it's no excuse to have a violent fight in anyone’s home.

We can't move forward through lies and misinterpretations spread about domestic violence. The only way to move forward is to look out for the people around you, raise awareness, recognize the signs and stop toxic relationships before someone gets hurt.

“Society can lower this wide-reaching problem by learning to recognize the signs of unhealthy relationships including control, isolation, guilt, jealousy and criticism,” Alvarez said. “We can all make more of an effort to hold abusers accountable for their actions as well.”

For anyone who is watching the game in a toxic environment and is fearful for their well being, or who knows of a friend who may be in any kind of trouble, there are people on Sunday, and every other day of the year, available to help.

The national domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233 and the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence number is 602-279-2900.

Be there for your friends and family no matter what the final score of Sunday’s game may be. Don’t let the Super Bowl spark a fight between you and someone you love.


Reach the columnist at kmarlin1@asu.edu or follow @kynan_marlin on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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