‘It begins with verbal abuse’ Identifying Domestic Violence

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The stress of the pandemic has impacted people in many ways including their relationships.

A licensed professional counselor at the Family Crisis Center, Martha Sanchez, said she has seen a rise in domestic violence cases since the start of the pandemic.

Sanchez explained that the first step in identifying an abusive relationship is to take a look at the relationship as a whole.

She said that power and control are at the center of a violent relationship and violence does not always include physical abuse.

“It begins with the verbal abuse, it begins with the name-calling, with the put-downs, with the insults, with the making you feel bad about yourself, so right then and there, you’re no longer feeling like this is a safe person, this is someone that makes me feel good about myself and so that’s how it beings, with the emotional stuff,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez explained that abuse can escalate from verbal to the isolation stage, keeping victims away from those who can help them.

She said victims can have a hard time recognizing violence if they grew up in a violent household, but once it is acknowledged you should reach out for help.

“They’re the only ones that can take the steps, but we can be there and say look, this is who you can reach out to, and these are the resources and these are your options because that’s really what we do as an agency. We tell them, look this is what’s going on, this is what it seems that it is, this is violence, this is not healthy for you, and these are your options,” said Sanchez.

She said one of the biggest signs you are in a violent relationship is when you are not being yourself anymore.

Sanchez explained that having a support system such as family members and friends to reach out to is crucial.

She said the Family Crisis Center also serves as a support system with shelter, counseling, and other services to help victims of domestic violence.

This center also has a hotline to call 24/7 for help at 1-866-423-9304.

For more information on resources available to help victims of domestic abuse visit the Family Crisis Center webpage.

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