Great sporting fixtures, such as the World Cup, can provide us with fantastic opportunities to spend time with friends and family and bond over the excitements and disappointments that we share.
However, there is a dark side to these otherwise happy times in our collective lives. Research shows that domestic violence tends to soar by significant levels every time there is a major sporting fixture. They soar the most when the aggressors are disappointed because their team has lost—but they also soar when their favourite team wins.
Why is there a relationship between domestic violence and sports? One aspect is the simple fact that sports fans often drink while they are watching their favourite teams play, frequently to excess. Anyone with an inclination to lash out is much more likely to do so when they are drunk.
While both women and men can be violent, and it is important to remember that men can also be victims of domestic violence, simple biology means that women and children are at greater risk of being seriously hurt. Women’s shelters and emergency services have, sadly, grown used to getting prepared to give extra help when major sports events take place.
While we all need to have a serious conversation about domestic violence and how to stop it from taking place, on an immediate level, there are steps that people can take to keep themselves safe, or at least safer, if they are afraid that a major sports event is likely to precipitate violence in the home. For example, they can leave for the duration of the event, and try to take measures to limit the amount of alcohol consumed. However, whatever they do or don’t do, it is never their fault if someone lashes out at them.
If you are experiencing domestic violence—even if it only occurs during events such as major sports fixtures—you have a bigger problem than just figuring out where to go when you feel especially vulnerable. Everyone needs and deserves to be safe in their own home. If your spouse or partner hits or beats you or your kids, you need to take action. This may involve leaving them (which needs to be handled carefully, as ending a relationship is often a major trigger for serious domestic violence) and, if you want the relationship to continue, engaging in couples therapy that aims to help them to understand the triggers for their own unacceptable behaviour and learn how to stop. When the abuser truly engages with therapy, some couples can manage to recover from domestic violence—but most often, the only way for the victim and their children to stay safe is to get out and start a new life.
If you find yourself dreading sports events such as the World Cup because you know that you are likely to end up getting hurt, it’s time to take action. Your safety matters.
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.