Why Do Women Stay?

Definition of Family Violence

What Is Domestic Violence?

Abuse in Texas

What is an Order of Protection?

Why Do Women Stay?
All too often the question "Why do women stay in violent relationships?" is answered with a victim blaming attitude. Women victims of abuse often hear that they must like or need such treatment, or they would leave. Others may be told that they are one of the many "women who love too much" or who have "low self-esteem." The truth is that no one enjoys being beaten, no matter what their emotional state or self image.

A woman's reasons for staying are more complex than a statement about her strength of character. In many cases it is dangerous for a woman to leave her abuser. If the abuser has all of the economic and social status, leaving can cause additional problems for the woman. Leaving could mean living in fear and losing child custody, losing financial support, and experiencing harassment at work.

Although there is no profile of the women who will be battered, there is a well documented syndrome of what happens once the battering starts. Battered women experience shame, embarrassment and isolation. A woman may not leave battering immediately because
She realistically fears that the batterer will become more violent and maybe even fatal if she attempts to leave;
Her friends and family may not support her leaving;
She knows the difficulties of single parenting in reduced financial circumstances;
There is a mix of good times, love and hope along with the manipulation, intimidation and fear;

She may not know about or have access to safety and support.
Definition of Family Violence
"Family Violence" is defined in the Texas Family Code (Section 71.004) 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.

TCFV defines battering as:

A pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Battering is a behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents a woman from doing what she wishes or forces her to behave in ways she does not want. Battering includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation.

Barbara Hart, a nationally recognized expert on family violence, defines domestic violence as:

"domestic violence involves a continuum of behaviors ranging from degrading remarks to cruel jokes, economic exploitation, punches and kicks, false imprisonment, sexual abuse, suffocating actions, maiming assaults and homicide. Unchecked, domestic violence usually increases in frequency and severity. Many victims suffer all forms of abuse. Verbal and emotional abuse may be subtler than physical harm, but this does not mean that it is less destructive to victims. Many
have said that the emotional scars take much longer to heal than the broken bones."
Used by permission of Texas Council on Family Violence.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is behavior - emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse - that one person in an intimate relationship uses in order to control the other. It takes many different forms and includes behavior such as threats, name-calling, isolation, withholding of money, actual or threatened physical harm and sexual assault. Most domestic violence is committed against women by their male partners. It also occurs in lesbian and gay relationships and is common in teenage dating relationships. In a small number of cases, men are abused by female partners, but because 91 to 95 percent of all adult domestic violence assaults are perpetrated by men against their female partners, this booklet will refer to victims as female and abusers as male. In any case, every victim of domestic violence, whether female or male, gay or heterosexual, has the right to legal relief. The following checklist may help you decide if you or someone you know is being abused. Does your partner:
    • constantly criticize you and your abilities as a spouse or partner, parent or employee?
    • behave in an over-protective manner or become extremely jealous?
    • threaten to hurt you, your children, pets, family members, friends or himself?
    • prevent you from seeing family or friends?
    • get suddenly angry or "lose his temper"?
    • destroy personal property or throw things around?
    • deny you access to family assets like bank accounts, credit cards, or the car, or control all finances and force you to account for what you spend?
    • use intimidation or manipulation to control you or your children? hit, punch, slap, kick, shove, choke or bite you?
    • prevent you from going where you want to, when you want to, and with whomever you want to?
    • make you have sex when you don't want to or do things sexually that you don't want to do?
    • humiliate or embarrass you in front of other people?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may be a victim of domestic violence. You are not to blame and you are not alone - millions of women are abused by their partners every year. Not all acts of domestic violence are violations of the law. In any case, you need not face domestic violence alone. You deserve help, and help is available. Please call us at 817-284-8464.

Abuse In Texas
2005 in Texas at a Glance

187,811 Family Violence Incidents

143* women killed by their intimate partner
*Information provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Council on Family Violence. Continued TCFV research into women killed by ex-boyfriends (a number not tracked by the Texas Department of Public Safety) provides, for the very first time, a new level of accuracy in accounting for the tragic toll of domestic violence in our state.

11,996 Adults received shelter from their abusive relationships

17,105 children received shelter
Information provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission

In 2002, The Texas Council on Family Violence conducted a statewide polling on prevalence and attitudes on domestic violence. Below are some of the findings:

74% of all Texans have either themselves, a family member and/or a friend have experienced some form of domestic violence.

47% of all Texans report having personally experienced at least one form of domestic violence, either severe, verbal and/or forced isolation from friends and family at some point in their lifetime.

31% of all Texans report that they have been severely abused at some point in their lifetime. Women report severe abuse at a higher rate than men.

75% of all Texans report that they would be likely to call the police if they were to experience some form of domestic violence. Yet only 20% indicated that they actually did call the police when they or a family member experienced domestic violence.

73% of all Texans believe that domestic violence is a serious problem in Texas.

84% percent of all Texans report that they believe they can personally do something about domestic violence.

78% of all Texans said they would be more likely to vote for a political candidate who helped victims of domestic violence.

74% of all Texans recall recent communications concerning domestic violence.

The TCFV survey over-sampled the Texas Hispanic population to account for any insight specific to the Hispanic community on domestic violence. Below are some highlights of the findings:

77% of all Hispanic Texans indicate that either themselves, a family member and/or a friend have experienced some form of domestic violence. Indicating that approximately

5.2 million Hispanic Texans are personally affected by the epidemic of domestic violence. If the current prevalence rates remain the same, by the year 2030, more than 12.2 million Hispanic Texans could be personally affected by domestic violence.

64% of all Hispanic Texans indicate that they or a member of their family have experienced at least one form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

2 out of every 5 Hispanic Texas females (39%) reported experience severe abuse.

1 out of every 5 Hispanic Texas females (18%) reported being forced to have sex against their will.

40% of Hispanic Texans who reported experiencing at least one form of domestic violence took no action.

63% of all Hispanic Texans recall recent communications concerning domestic violence.

86% of all Hispanic Texans report that they would vote for a candidate who helps domestic violence victims. They are the ethnic group most likely to indicate such.Hispanic Texans, like the general population, have both a limited definition of domestic violence and have a willingness to blame victims for the abuse they suffer.
Domestic Violence in Texas

As a result of our recent statewide survey, TCFV was able to get a better understanding of Domestic Violence in the state of Texas. Fortunately, Texans understand that domestic violence is a serious problem in our state. Texans’ awareness of domestic violence as a crime and their understanding that it is a serious issue that must be addressed is largely responsible for the increase in services available to victims. Yet Texans clearly understand that more can and should be done to help victims of domestic violence. In fact, 60 percent of respondents to our survey believe that Texas does not do enough to help survivors and their families.

Unfortunately, Texans demonstrate a willingness to blame domestic violence on circumstances beyond an abuser’s control, rather than acknowledge the abuser’s culpability. Also, a majority of Texans demonstrate a willingness to blame victims for being abused which limits the options available to those in abusive relationships. These barriers must be addressed in order for more victims of domestic violence to get the help they need, when they need it.

A vast majority (84 percent) of Texans believe that they can make a difference in efforts to end domestic violence. Already, many Texans are taking action to make that difference. More than half of all Texans report having donated time, money or goods to a local domestic violence program. Additionally, More than three-quarters of all Texans showed a willingness to vote for a candidate who has expressed an interest in helping victims of domestic violence.

The public must become acutely aware of the tragic consequences domestic violence has on our families, friends, workplaces and communities. They must rid themselves of many of the senseless misperceptions that exacerbate the barriers that block domestic violence survivors’ pathways to safety. Far too many Texans know someone who is a victim of domestic violence. We all must help these survivors find safety, receive justice and create opportunities for them to live the violence-free lives they deserve.

Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer, call your local hotline, and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Orders of Protection

Orders of Protection or more commonly know as Protective Orders are a legal document signed by a judge that orders someone to not commit family violence against another person. The order might also specify how close an abuser can come to the victim’s residence or place of employment. Some facts you might need to know about Orders of Protection include:
· An abuser is someone who has committed family violence against another person and who meets the relationship requirement. A victim is the person who was abused.
· You must meet the relationship requirements in order to file for an Order of Protection. Relationships include persons who are married, have lived together, had a child together, are divorced, had a dating relationship, or are related by blood or marriage. This also includes foster parent and child.
· Orders of Protection remain in effect until they expire or are terminated by a judge. Victims cannot just decide they don’t want the protection any more or that everything is alright now. Abusers are in violation of the Order and can be arrested even if you give him/her permission to violate the Order.
· You can request the Order to be changed if your situation changes; the situation gets worse or you decide to reconcile your relationship, but only the judge can make the change.
· Keep a copy of the Order with you at all times and make sure there is a copy on file at the local Police department. It is on very delicate paper. Keep it in a freezer zipper bag to help keep it from tearing and keep additional copies in a safe place at home.
· If there is a violation, call the police immediately. You will need to file a report and you might need to go back to court.
· Orders of Protection are free and usually take several weeks to obtain and they are usually good for 2 years. Emergency Orders can sometimes be obtained in several days. Your local District Attorneys Office can help you.
· An Order of Protection is a piece of paper. Abusers can violate the order. It is your responsibility to be cautious and remain alert regarding your surroundings. Use common sense and listen to your gut instincts. Call the police if you feel unsafe.
· Violating an Order of Protection can result in jail time and/or fines.

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