Domestic Violence Awareness: Time for Action

This week’s article is focusing on Domestic Violence Awareness and encouraging ideas for help in its prevention. Domestic violence is defined as the willful intimidation, assault, and/or abusive behavior of an intimate partner to establish power and control over the other partner. Domestic violence offenders use physical, sexual, emotional, and/or psychological abuse or violence to establish and maintain power and control over their victims. Some examples of these actions include intimidation, coercion, threats, social or economic isolation, and/or belittlement.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. There are no exceptions based on background, economic status, gender, age, and/or ethnicity. In the United States (US), 1 in 4 Americans experience at least one of these abusive actions by their partner. In Texas, more than five million people will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Additionally, there are over 150 deaths each year in Texas due to domestic violence.

Besides the direct effects on the victim, domestic violence affects the victims’ families. For instance, families are torn apart due to denial or fear. Children who witness violence are at a much higher risk of experiencing violent relationships throughout their lives. If this violent pattern is unaddressed, it can last for several generations.

The trauma of the abuse also affects the victims’ relationships with peers and ability to resume their daily tasks due to their depleted mental and/or physical health. Victims of domestic violence often live in fear, need health care for injuries, or develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sadly, between the injuries and/or fleeing their abuser, victims can accumulate a noticeable amount of absences from work and/or school. Because of domestic violence in the US, large sums are spent each year on medical costs and lost productivity hours.

Educating ourselves and our peers to recognize domestic violence and familiarizing ourselves with the available resources for victims is a constructive start to end domestic violence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Texas Council on Family Violence, and the Texas Advocacy Project websites all contain excellent materials on current statistics and information about domestic violence and they provide resources to help regarding this issue. Also, a good contact is the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the number is 1-800-799-SAFE(7233). Each of these resources is confidential and provides efficient ways to report any domestic violence concerns.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672