This time of year can be especially stressful and dangerous for people in abusive relationships. For friends and family, it's often equally as hard to know how to help.
L.Y. Marlow is a survivor of domestic abuse determined to help others. Her book, titled "Color Me Butterfly," is about the abuse in her family.
"Even though I didn't know a whole lot about what was happening, I didn't understand it to be generational domestic violence. This was our normal," Marlow said. "And I realize it came down to one-word silence. My grandmother didn't talk to my mother about it, my mother didn't talk to me about it, and I'm not ashamed to say that I did not talk to my daughter — not until Promise screamed."
Promise is Marlow's teenaged granddaughter, and "Saving Promise" is the nonprofit Marlow started to break the cycle and prevent intimate partner violence by getting people to talk about it.
"Breaking the silence, getting people talking about it around the dinner table, getting people talking about it in the workplace, getting their doctors to talk about it behind closed doors when they're examining them," Marlow said.
Marlow encourages people to host what she calls a "virtual salon" — a discussion about intimate partner violence with friends, family, co-workers, community members and other loved ones. The Saving Promise website provides the platform, the script and tools to make the conversation productive.
"When you come together with community and build connection and feel open enough to have conversation, that is, each of us, given our selves permission to be vulnerable," Marlow said. "Vulnerability is not a weakness. It's a power that can save a life."
Why talk now? Domestic violence experts say victims may accommodate abusive behavior this time of year, especially if children are involved, because they don't want to break up the family. Abusers are also more likely to be home and off work during the holiday season.