Don’t Suffer Alone: STOP Domestic Violence
Jo-Carolyn Goode | 4/2/2021, 4:07 a.m.
This time last year domestic violence was on the rise in Houston. Increasing by almost 10%, victims were now trapped in an enclosed space 24/7 with their abuser. No help from family and friends was available as all were practicing being socially distance while quarantining. Although staying at home to stay safe was enacted to keep everyone was safe from catching the coronavirus, it gave abusers the opportunity to take total control over their defenseless victim(s). Through various community partnerships with the city of Houston, a message was sent out to let survivors know that they don’t have to suffer in silence.
Domestic violence is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner. It can be verbal, sexual, emotional, and, of course, physical. It does not discriminate against age, race or gender. Whether you are in a heterosexual relationship or same-sex relationship, man, woman, boy or girl you can all be potential victims of domestic violence.
The lingering effects of domestic violence run the gambit. There are the physical scars that can heal over time. The more severe ones can cause the development of physical disabilities, health problems, and psychological disorders. The latter are the hardest to identify in survivors. They can become so brainwashed years and years of therapy is needed.
Would you know the signs of domestic violence if victim a was staring you in the face? Domestic violence scars can vary from individual-to-individual. People must educate themselves on the signs of abuse and know how to offer help. In children, abuse can present itself with the child having poor motor skills, being withdrawn, lacking bladder control, bad grades, headaches, nightmares, and more. In adults, domestic violence can be spotted with bruises, lack of appetite, missed activities, and more. Emotional and psychological abuse is hard to treat. These signs are not as obvious depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, a drug or alcohol addiction, and much more. This matter of the mind so it will take time and patience to unravel all that was done over a course of time
Data indicates that 10 million people in the U.S. are victimize a year. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence breaks that number down to 22 people per minute. Texas is one of the top ten states with the highest rate of domestic violence. Just 6% lower than the high-ranking Michigan, Texas averages 35.10% of violence towards women and 34.5% towards men by the World Population Review.
After spotting someone with abuse, you may feel the need to help them get away. You can’t always force them to leave, but you can let them know that you want to help. It is best to see why victims stay with their abusers. Experts have noted the reasons victims sometime choose their abuser over freedom because they alone. One of the first things abuser do to victims to control them is to isolate them from family and friends making the victim feel like the abuser is there only support. Feelings of fear and shame can one freeze in their tracks. Lack of finances is a big one.
Victims of domestic violence have a bevy of resources available. Mid-way into the global pandemic Houston stepped up its services even more as shelters started to see an increase of individuals seeking refuge, Sadly some had to be turned away due to COVID decrease the number of beds they had available. That is when Houston took a big stand to help survivors.
Almost a year ago the Houston’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence launched a new website with community partners Houston Area Women's Center and the Harris County Coordinating Council to give survivors a way out. Through the social media campaign #NoCOVIDAbuse. According to the website #NoCOVIDAbuse is a public initiative to address the spike in domestic violence reports during the COVID-19 public health crisis through a partnership with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, District C Council member Abbie Kamin, the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, and the Houston Area Women’s Center. Together with community leaders, domestic violence organizations, the criminal justice system, law enforcement, and private partners, we are united and committed to ensuring that services and responses remain available and ready to meet the needs of survivors. Survivors not able to escape to shelters maybe able to get refuge temporarily in a hotel through the program also.
April is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Take time to check on friends and loved ones to make sure they are ok and not suffering in silence. If you or someone needs help getting out of a violent relationship utilize the resources below as a starting point.
Houston Area Women’s Center Domestic Violence Hotline: (24/7, free and confidential)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: (24/7, free and confidential)