Expert Comment on the Urban Legend That Domestic Abuse Increases on Super Bowl Sunday

facebook twitter google print email

Richard Gelles

Dean, School of Social Policy and Practice

The 1993 Super Bowl may be remembered as much for the creation of the myth that domestic violence increases on the day of the big game as for the Dallas Cowboys52-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

"There never was a study that found that Super Bowl Sunday was the day with the most violence toward women or the most hospital admissions for domestic violence.  This kind of 'urban legend' trivializes the causes and consequences of domestic violence," Dr. Gelles says.

The myth grew out of several factors that year, including the airing of an anti-domestic violence public service announcement during the Super Bowl.

Dr. Gelles is the author of he Book of David: How Preserving Families Can Cost Children's Lives," "The Violent Home" (the first systematic empirical investigation of family violence) and "Intimate Violence in Families."