Alcohol may increase the likelihood of domestic violence in an at-risk home, but there is no reason to believe more women are abused on Super Bowl Sunday, experts say. It’s been one of the more enduring Super Bowl “myths,” lumped in with reports of spikes in sales of antacid or nachos.

Alcohol may increase the likelihood of domestic violence in an at-risk home, but there is no reason to believe more women are abused on Super Bowl Sunday, experts say.

It’s been one of the more enduring Super Bowl “myths,” lumped in with reports of spikes in sales of antacid or nachos. 

Lisa Holden, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said she knows of no statistics to back such a claim.

She said, however, she does recognize the correlation between alcohol use and domestic violence, especially if there is a propensity for violence in a household.

Cathy Zeiner, executive director of the Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut, said she has kept her radar up for any spike in incidents of abuse. In the last four years, she said calls to the domestic violence hotline or requests for shelter increased only once on Super Bowl Sunday compared to regular weekend calls. The increase was “on the high end of normal,” Zeiner said.

 “The Super Bowl itself doesn’t seem to have an effect,” she said. “Absolutely, alcohol does have an effect. Alcohol doesn’t cause it, but very often escalates it.”

Anything that causes stress can be a precipitator for violence, said Ed Koistinen, manager of the domestic violence program for United Services.

“The bottom line is domestic violence is way too high any day,” Koistinen said.

Several sources point to the 1993 Super Bowl as the origin of the belief that domestic violence increases during game day. It was the same year several news organizations reported stories using mostly anecdotal evidence.

Norwich Police Officer Peter Petrides, who handles many of the department’s domestic violence cases, said he recognizes a general increase in general police calls on Super Bowl Sunday, but has not experienced noticeable problems with domestic violence.

“It’s usually calls for loud noise, parties and things like that,” Petrides said.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of areas of domestic violence that haven’t been studied.
We don’t have all the answers. As a rule, if drugs and alcohol are involved, they’re going to do stupid things.”

Reach Greg Smith at 425-4219 or gasmith@norwichbulletin.com

 

AT A GLANCE 85% to 95% of all domestic violence victims are female. More than 500,000 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year. 5.3 million women are abused each year. 1,232 women are killed each year by an intimate partner. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. Women are more likely to be attacked by someone they know rather than by a stranger. Source: American Institute on Domestic Violence