Domestic Violence

Each year in Texas, more than 100 women are killed by their intimate partner. Beyond homicide, lives of women, children and men are shatttered by domestic violence. Plans are in the works at The Bridge for October events to remember the victims, celebrate the survivors and learn ways to break the cycle of violence. Please check back for updates.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Domestic violence is behavior in which one person attempts to control another through threats or actual tactics.

IF YOU NEED HELP

Statistically, the most dangerous time for the abused person is when they are fleeing the violent situation.

TAKING STEPS TO LEAVE AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

  • Contact your local crisis center to speak to an advocate; The Bridge’s 24 hour hotline is 713-473-2801
  • Develop a safety plan by
    • Putting away an emergency fund of cash
    • Obtaining copies of documents such as
      • Passports
      • Driver’s license
      • Birth certificates for yourself and child(ren) if applicable
      • Immunization records
    • Pack a suitcase with basic clothing and hygiene needs for yourself and child(ren) that is easily accessible in an emergency
    • Develop a code word for your family and friends to let them know you may be in danger
  • Educate yourself about the legal system (i.e. protective orders, legal remedies for immigrants, etc.)

Domestic violence includes:

Physical abuse

  • pushing, throwing, kicking
  • slapping, grabbing, hitting, punching, beating, tripping, poking, bruising, choking, shaking
  • pinching, biting
  • holding, restraining, confinement
  • breaking bones
  • assault with a weapon such as a knife or gun
  • burning
  • murder

Emotional (verbal or nonverbal) abuse

  • threatening or intimidating to gain compliance
  • destruction of the victim’s personal property and possessions, or threats to do so
  • violence to an object (such as a wall or piece of furniture) or pet, in the presence of the intended victim, as a way of instilling fear of further violence
  • yelling or screaming
  • name-calling
  • constant harassment
  • embarrassing, making fun of, or mocking the victim, either alone within the household, in public, or in front of family or friends
  • criticizing or diminishing the victim’s accomplishments or goals
  • not trusting the victim’s decision making
  • telling the victim that they are worthless without the abuser
  • excessive possessiveness, isolation from friends and family
  • excessive checking up on the victim to make sure they are at home or where the person told the abuser where the victim would be
  • saying hurtful things while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and using the substance as an excuse to say the hurtful things
  • blaming the victim for how the abuser acts or feels
  • making the victim remain on the premises after a fight, or leaving them somewhere else after a fight, just to “teach them a lesson”
  • making the victim feel that there is no way out of the relationship

Sexual abuse

  • Sexual assault: forcing someone to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity.
  • Coercion by threats and/or manipulation such as accusing the survivor of cheating or infidelitySexual harassment: ridiculing another person to try to limit their sexuality or reproductive choices
  • Sexual exploitation (such as forcing someone to look at pornography, or forcing someone to participate in pornographic film-making)
  • Withholds sex and affection as punishment
  • Calls person offensive sexual names
  • Engages in sexual relationships outside of the marriage or monogamous relationship
  • Denies contraception or protection against a sexually transmitted infection

Stalking

  • repeated phone calls, hang-ups
  • following, tracking (possibly even with a global positioning device)
  • finding the person through public records, online searching or paid investigators
  • watching with hidden cameras
  • suddenly showing up where the victim is, at home, school or work
  • sending emails; communicating in chat rooms or with instant messaging
  • sending unwanted packages, cards, gifts or letters
  • monitoring the victim’s phone calls or computer use
  • contacting the victim’s friends, family, co-workers or neighbors to find out about the victim
  • going through the victim’s garbage
  • threatening to hurt the victim or their family, friends or pets
  • damaging the victim’s home, car or other property

Economic or financial abuse

    • withholding economic resources such as money or credit cards
    • stealing from or defrauding a partner of money or assets
    • exploiting the intimate partner’s resources for personal gain
    • withholding physical resources such as food, clothes, necessary medications or shelter from a partner
    • preventing the spouse or intimate partner from working or choosing an occupation
    • Spiritual abuse
    • using the spouse’s or intimate partner’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate them
    • preventing the partner from practicing their religious or spiritual beliefs
    • ridiculing the other person’s religious or spiritual beliefs
    • forcing the children to be reared in a faith that the partner has not agreed to
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WARNING SIGNS OF AN ABUSER

  • Extreme jealousy Controlling behavior
  • Quick involvement
  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Isolates you from friends and family
  • Uses force during an argument
  • Shows hypersensitivity
  • Believes in rigid gender roles
  • Blames others for his problems or feelings
  • Cruel to animals or children
  • Verbally abusive or threatens violence
  • Abused former partners

STATISTICS

  • In Texas, more than 186,868 family violence incidents are reported annually
  • 80% of all physical abuse goes unreported
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men in the United States report abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime
  • 3.3 million children witness their mothers being abused
  • Intimate partner violence, which includes teen dating violence, costs the US economy $12.6 billion dollars on an annual basis. Sexual assault is most costly of all crimes to its victims.
  • In Texas, more than 224,000 children and 104,000 adults are sexually assaulted annually
  • 77% of all rapes are committed by someone known to the victim
  • 60% of rapes occur in the survivor/victim’s home
  • 57% of rapes involve only one assailant. 16% involve 2 rapists and 27% involve 3 or more rapists
  • One person is raped every 1.9 minutes
  • Total costs are estimated to be $127 billion a year in the United States, excluding the costs of child sexual abuse.

PREVENTION

  • Respect a person’s right to say “NO”
  • Educate yourself and others on the issues
  • Believe in equality
  • Volunteer at your local domestic violence and/or rape crisis program
  • Be aware of how violence is portrayed in the media
  • Believe survivors
  • Contact your legislators and political leaders
  • Know the statistics
  • Speak out against all forms of violence
  • Stop yourself and others from ignoring sexual/domestic violence