The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Professionals cite perils of domestic violence

By Ashton Phillips/reporter

Every 18 seconds, a case of domestic violence occurs, making it one of the most common crimes in America, a host said during a domestic violence symposium sponsored by TR health services.

At the Domestic Violence Symposium Nov. 18 on TR Campus, Dr. Arrick Jackson, divisional dean of NW public services and social and behavioral sciences, moderated a panel of professionals: Mark Evans, TR psychology assistant professor; Jeronimo Aviles, TR counselor; Anna Cruz, SafeHaven of Tarrant County board member, domestic violence survivor and TCC student; Stephanie Storey, SafeHaven of Tarrant County program officer; and Triesha Light, South associate professor of psychology and coordinator of Women In New Roles, a college-credit program at TCC for women in transition.

Storey defined domestic violence as any form of power or control one has over another person whether it be mental, physical or psychological — all escalating to a pattern of abuse.

“This pattern or cycle of abuse is the result of the abuser’s environment,” Aviles said. “Social pressure creates tension for the abuser, which builds until they find their outlet through abuse. This cycle cannot be broken until the abuser builds awareness of their actions.”

As the conversation turned toward the notion of a cycle, Jackson posed the question many ask, “Why doesn’t the victim just leave?” 

“As a survivor, it is easier said than done,” Cruz said. “Victims receive threats toward their children, family and friends from their abuser and feel the need to protect their loved ones before themselves.”

When in the same situation, Cruz said she didn’t know what resources were available, such as SafeHaven or personal protection orders issued by the court that assist individuals in domestic violence situations to prevent further harassment.

With the mention of loved ones, Jackson asked, “Are children who are not directly abused considered victims?”

“Children are young people who are developing and looking for identity at any given time,” Evans said. “If they see abusive actions at an early age, they will associate this behavior with normalcy and cement it into a mentality. This affects how the child makes conclusions, never knowing it is a problem, which morphs into psychopathology.”

Jackson discussed the abuse cycle.

“The probability of young male children being victim of domestic abuse obtaining these abusing behaviors is large,” he said. “This is not always the case, but the strong correlation exists — continuing the cycle.”

As the discussion portion came to a close, questions surfaced regarding resources for those experiencing or who know a victim of domestic violence.

“First, learn/suggest a safety plan,” Aviles said. “Those who do not have the resources to maintain their leave from home may need guidance of the things they must remember upon leaving (birth certificates, bills, etc.) or strategies of how to prevent a situation for those planning to return to their abuser.”

Cruz said support is important.

“If you are suggesting to a friend or loved one to seek help, do not pressure them,” she said. “It is a cycle, and they will most likely return to their abuser, but never turn your back on them.”

Light said abuse victims are likely to return to their oppressor six to seven times in the course of the relationship. She said many resources are available: SafeHaven of Tarrant County and the Battered Women’s Foundation in the community and TCC’s WINR program, health services and campus police.

SafeHaven of Tarrant County has two shelters offering a total of 174 beds to domestic violence victims. To learn more about SafeHaven, visit www.safehaventc.org. For advice on how to leave an abusive relationship, call its hotline at 1-877-701-7233.

The Battered Women’s Foundation, a Hurst-based group, works closely with Light and the WINR program by offering referrals to women in transition seeking educational assistance. To learn more about BWF, visit www.bwf1.com. To learn more about WINR, visit www.tccd.edu and search keyword “WINR.” The WINR informational page includes details about the program, requirements, guidelines, scholarships and Light’s contact information.

For more information about health services or police, search keywords “health” or “police” on the TCC website. Rosa Brant, TCC officer and victim services assistant coordinator, is the district’s contact for female victims of domestic violence. She can be reached at 817-515-4060.

 

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