Domestic violence is an epidemic, a blight from which the entire world suf- fers. The Justice Department reports that, in their lifetimes, more than 75 percent of women and 24 percent of men will be victims of domestic violence.

According to research by SafeHorizon.org, one in three women who suffer abuse will eventually be murdered by their spouse. These numbers often vary due to the difficulty of incorporating unreported or under reported cases. At the end of the day though, change can only come when people stop being divisive and argu- ing over who has it worse. Every victim’s suffering is equally important.

Keisha Morris is the Family Violence Coordinator at the East Texas Crisis Center. Her job is to reach out to the community and educate East Texans about the often taboo crimes happening right under their noses.

“Definitely report, report, report. That’s what will you them safe. There has to be some record of it,” said Morris, citing this as the most valuable advice she could give victims.

The East Texas Crisis Center offers assistance for both men and women. In addition, they attempt to reach out to as many community members as they can. October is National Domestic Violence Month.

“Any organizations can volunteer, we have a ton of UT students doing an event called Dance Away Domestic Violence downtown on October 11 from 9

a.m.- 4 p.m. We’ll also have Candlelight at the Belltower on the UT campus, October 28 from 6-7 p.m.,” said Morris.

The goal is to spread the word about services offered by the center and to engage possible victims who may be too afraid to speak up.

Victims can come in or call 24 hours per day if they need screening. Other services include protective orders, divorce filing and child custody.

“Contact the police,” Morris said. “If you don’t have any documentation it’s kind of hard to get a protective order. Document any and every instance.” T h e East Texas Crisis Center is located at 2401 Old Noonday Rd, Tyler, TX 75701. Their 24-hour hotline is 1800-333-0358 and more resources are available online at www.etcc.org/programs/

Do you know the warning signs? It could save a life. MyTJCnews.com has the information you need to know in order to keep yourself and your loves ones safe.

Know the signs of abuse:

(courtesy of ETCC.org)

Destructive Criticism/Verbal Abuse

Name-calling; mocking; accusing; blaming; yelling; swearing; making humiliating remarks or gestures.

Pressure Tactics

Rushing you to make decisions by “guilt-tripping” and other forms of intimidation; sulking; threatening to withhold money; manipulating children; telling you what to do.

Abusing Authority

Always claiming to be right (insisting statements are “the truth”); telling you what to do; making decisions; using “logic.”

Disrespect

Interrupting; changing topics; not listening or responding; twisting your words; putting you down in front of other people; saying bad things about your friends or family.

Abusing Trust

Lying; withholding information; cheating on you; being overly jealous.

Breaking Promises

Not following through on agreements; not taking a fair share of responsibility; refusing to help with child care or housework.

Emotional Withholding

Not expressing feelings; not giving support, attention or compliments; not respecting feelings, rights or opinions.

Minimizing, Denying & Blaming

Making light of behavior and not taking it seriously; saying the abuse didn’t happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behavior; saying you caused it.

Economic Control

Interfering with your work or not letting you work; refusing to give you or taking your money; taking your car keys or otherwise preventing you from using the car; threatening to report you to welfare or other social-service agencies.

Self-Destructive Behavior

Abusing drugs or alcohol; threatening suicide or other forms of self-harm; deliberately saying or doing things that will have negative consequences (e.g., telling off the boss.)

Isolation

Preventing or making it difficult for you to see friends or relatives; monitoring phone calls; telling you where you can and cannot go.

Harassment

Making uninvited visits or calls; following you; checking up on you; embarrassing you in public; refusing to leave when asked.

Intimidation

Making angry or threatening gestures; use of physical size to intimidate; standing in doorway during arguments; out-shouting you; driving recklessly.

Destruction

Destroying your possessions (e.g., furniture); punching walls, throwing and/or breaking things.

Threats

Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you or others.

Sexual Violence

Degrading treatment based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts.

Physical Violence

Being violent to you, your children, household pets or others; slapping, punching, grabbing, kicking, choking; pushing; biting; burning; stabbing; shooting, etc.

Weapons

Use of weapons; keeping weapons around which frighten you; threatening or attempting to kill you or those you love.

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