A review of recent headlines in Houston continues to highlight the pain of domestic violence. These cases, including some in Spring, have included death, standoffs with police, kidnapping of children and mayhem. Sadly these cases are really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. They are the cases that involve law enforcement and, therefore media attention which brings the stories into your home. However, less deadly and dramatic instances are taking place in homes throughout our area on a daily basis. Texas statistics continue to report that an estimated one in three women are victimized in this way during their lifetime. To help visualize what that means… imagine that every third house on your street has a big red X on the door, indicating that domestic violence occurs behind those closed doors. On a street with just twenty homes… 6 would have that mark. The same theory applies to your extended family, social group, congregation, and workplace.
Domestic violence occurs when one person in the relationship is exerting power and control over another. That behavior can start out as being controlling, lashing out verbally, or physically harming/restraining a partner. The violence is often compounded by other life issues, such as addiction, mental health issues, stresses over money or job loss, or the struggles with the current pandemic. These life issues do not cause the violence, but can certainly escalate it. It is interesting to note that in many cases, you will hear the survivor (or another person acquainted with the case), indicate that there were prior problems or concerns but that they “never expected THIS to happen.” Frankly, that is one of the most frightening parts of domestic violence… that when it escalates, it is never predictable.
What are some of the signs that one might look for? Previous battering behavior, lack of open and safe communication, inability to calmly respond to stressors, increasing control over others, or situations that become more physically dangerous.
If you or someone you know is struggling in a relationship that sounds like this, please call NAM’s Family Violence Center Hotline at 281/885-4673 or toll-free at 888/750-4673. A trained advocate will answer the call prepared to listen, offer suggestions, and help plan your next step. The call and services are FREE.