HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen has a Child/Adult Abuse Response Team that has been around since 2006 helping victims of domestic violence.
“We see patients that have been sexually assaulted come into the hospital. We may see patients that are strangled, we may see people that have been stabbed,” said Sonja Eddleman, Director of the Child/Adult Abuse Response Team.
Eddleman said domestic violence affects women, children, and men of all ages. Their response team is equipped with specialized nurses to guide them and provide help.
“’So did they do this to you?’ No, we let them tell us what happened and they may think they only have one injury on their body but we are going to examine them from their head to their toes because they may have other injuries that they didn’t know,” said Eddleman.
Victims of domestic abuse are often afraid to come forward. Eddleman said it is important for them to know it is not their fault.
“They’ll say I’ve put up with this or I let this happen. They didn’t really let it happen, they just didn’t fight back because they’re afraid they may be murdered or their children may be murdered,” she said.
Eddleman added the signs to look out for in a domestic abuse relationship differ based on the predator.
“They are typically controlling. They’re very unpredictable, they will become jealous at the snap of your hand, they’ll have a temper, they’ll be possessive,” she said.
Eddleman encourages victims to speak out and tells them they will be believed. Shelters like the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen and Friendship of Women in Brownsville are also available to provide counseling.
For more information about the Valley Baptist Medical Center Child/Adult Abuse Response Team contact (855) 720-7448, Family Crisis Center (956) 423-9304, Friendship of Women (956) 544-7412.