Domestic violence is more complicated and prevalent than most would think. Just this past April, a man was caught on camera physically assaulting his girlfriend late at night in a Dallas neighborhood. In addition to the beatings that could be seen in the footage, the police report also stated that the boyfriend “banged the victim’s head against the floor several times, had his hand pressed against victim’s throat holding her head against the floor, and choked her.” Despite the incredibly gruesome act, the woman did not press charges. This highlights the depth and complexity of abusive relationships.
In Texas, “Family Violence” is defined as “an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.” The definition also includes child abuse and dating violence.
A finding of family violence by a Texas court has a number of implications. Chiefly, victims of family violence are entitled to a protective order, which could protect the individuals victims or any children relevant to the aggressor. However, exposing domestic violence is not always so simple, and it often goes unreported. Women often feel trapped in violent relationships because they fear that consequences would be worse if they reported the activity. An aggressor could come back for the woman after serving his time, for example. And while the victims of domestic violence are often female, it affects countless males as well.
Approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Moreover, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. About 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are also eyewitnesses to this violence. Clearly, this issue is more widespread than one might think.
It is important to have open discussions about this topic, so that individuals everywhere know that they deserve better, and are not alone. Overall, it is clear that we need to make people aware of the resources they have to help them achieve freedom. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence, please see the following resources:
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1 (800) 799-7233
Genesis Women’s Shelter
4411 Lemmon Ave #201, Dallas, TX 75219
1 (214) 389-7700
The Family Place
1 (214) 941-1991
Emergency Shelter for Both Women and Men available
Written By: Andrea Hunter