Surviving The Holidays

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

I hope your holidays were peaceful and that you are staying warm. The emergency room I worked in was busiest during the holidays. Alcohol and drug consumption, high expectations of families and close quarters over an extended period of time seemed to contribute to the rise in domestic violence.

In my novel, Katie gets her worst battering on Christmas night by her famous plastic surgeon husband, Claude, in front of their young daughter, Rose, while reading a bedtime story to her on her bed. What made him snap? Claude yells that Katie didn’t put Rose to bed on time and she’s a horrible mother. So he’s going to teach her how to behave—he’s doing her a favor. Rose is screaming for him to stop hurting her mother, but there’s no stopping the rage.

I saw this scenario over and over in the emergency room and tended to the victims wounds while listening to their accounts—some with broken jaws couldn’t talk—others lay in shocked silence. They never knew when the abuser was going to snap and tried to cover all the bases but never could.

Katie keeps trying to please Claude. She can’t figure out what she’s doing wrong to trigger him and waits in anticipation of the next time until she realizes she might not survive and her daughter would be left alone with him—a horrible fate. Claude keeps telling her it’s her—everything is her fault. If only she would listen to him and do what he says, then everything would be fine. The fact that Katie feels she won’t survive another battering and that Claude did it in front of her daughter, Rose, is a turning point. The child is traumatized, and Katie realizes she has to face reality, but she can’t just leave. She has no money and nowhere to go. Her parents will not support her breaking up this “perfect marriage.” She will find a way.

Take good care of yourselves,