What is Domestic Violence?

It includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the state of Texas, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the state of Texas.

It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. These are behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of abuse can be going on at any one time.

The Power & Control Wheel is used to describe most accurately what is occurs in an abusive relationship.

Think of the wheel as a diagram of the tactics your abusive partner uses to keep you in the relationship. While the inside of the wheel is comprised of subtle, continual behaviors, the outer ring represents physical, visible violence. These are the abusive acts that are more overt and forceful, and often the intense acts that reinforce the regular use of other subtler methods of abuse.

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Domestic violence can happen to people of all ages, races, ethnicity, and religions. It occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. While it is important to remember that we all have different cultural practices, beliefs, and experiences that shape our view of what intimate relationships look like, everyone deserves to feel safe and respected.

No one deserves to be abused. Abuse is never the victim's fault! If you have been the victim of dating or domestic violence, you are not alone. Help is available.

SAFETY PLANNING!!!

  • Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess the risk of physical danger to you and your children before it occurs.
  • Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
  • Don't run to where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.
  • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target. Dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
  • If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest public phone is located. Know the phone number to your local battered women's shelter. If your life is in danger, call the police.
  • Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
  • Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
  • Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
  • Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
  • Plan for what you will do if your children tells your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
  • Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
  • Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver's door unlocked and others locked – for a quick escape.
  • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
  • Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.

More information can be found at thehotline.org