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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN CENTRAL TEXAS

Domestic Violence happens here, in our community. The more we know, the more we can do to ensure everyone in our community is living in a violence-free home.

%

Of women have been abused by a romantic partner

%

Of adolescents are victims of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner

%

Of homeless women with children have experienced domestic violence

Survivors Speak Out

Hear their voices. Share their stories. Make their trauma count.

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"Lalita"

Mother, Engineer

When “Lalita” came to the shelter she was sad, afraid and confused.  She had been married for just over five years and her life at home had become unbearable.

The abuse was nearly constant. Her efforts to “do better” to “be better” were never enough. She lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety, never knowing what would be the reason for the next onslaught of name calling and hitting. One day, while sitting alone in her house, she made up her mind.  She decided to leave. She and her infant could not, and would not, live like this anymore.

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It took a couple of days, but she was able to move into Hope Alliance’s emergency shelter with her daughter.  The first couple of days seemed unbearable. She was convinced her husband would find her and harm her for leaving. She was also unaccustomed to living with so many other people under one roof, which in itself was an adjustment. But Lalita was strong, stronger than she even realized and she knew she had to do everything she could to not go back to her abusive husband.

After getting to know Mercedes, a Shelter Advocate, Lalita was able to confide in Mercedes about her problems at home.  In Mercedes, Lalita found someone that would listen and give her advice without judgment. Lalita expressed her concerns for her and her daughter’s safety and desire to never have to go back to her husband. With Mercedes’ help, Lalita was able to obtain resources that she never knew existed. Resources that would help her on her path to a new, violence-free life.

Lalita also started meeting with one of Hope Alliance’s counselors where she not only learned techniques to work through the trauma she had faced, she also learned about her legal and civil rights.  This was essential as Lalita and her husband recently moved to the United States when her husband got a job with a large technology company. Part of the abuse she suffered was constant threats from her husband that he was going to have her deported without her daughter.  Upon learning this, Lalita was referred to another organization that helped her to apply for immigration benefits under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with the help of our legal advocates.

Lalita was able utilize many other services while staying at the shelter, too.  She was able to attend services at her church by using our van transportation services and she also received financial aid for her medication. Lalita, who hadn’t been allowed to have a job while living with her husband, was also able to find an amazing job as an engineer with a very stable company in the area.

Lalita is no longer the same fragile, anxious and afraid individual that once came to the shelter.  She has become very secure and proud of herself.  She was also able to confront her abuser and she hired an attorney to help her with her divorce.

Lalita is a perfect example in how knowledge can empower someone, no matter their low self-esteem when the first arrive at the shelter.  When you support Hope Alliance you are giving access to these services to innocent people who have been horribly treated. Hope Alliance counselors and advocates can positively affect an individual and motivate them to empower themselves and gain confidence to move on with their life. Empowerment can change a life. Can make a victim become a survivor. Can make our community that much stronger!

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"Stacy"

Mother, survivor

"Stacy" came to Hope Alliance in the back of a cop car with her 13 month old daughter. 

Her ex-boyfriend had broken into her apartment and strangled her while she was holding her daughter in her arms. The police arrived shortly after he broke in and it took five officers to pull him off of her.  Her ex-boyfriend then assaulted a police officer after being pulled off of her.

He was arrested but was not charged with child endangerment or strangulation. He was only charged with burglary and assaulting an officer, as these charges are higher felonies

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with higher jail time. That is right, you can try to kill someone and the burglary charge is worse than strangulation.

Stacy received both counseling and legal advocacy through Hope Alliance. She gained confidence and learned her rights. When she learned her ex was going to be offered a plea bargain with no jail time she stood up for herself and demanded the District Attorney send him to jail as both felonies hold a required minimum jail time.

Stacy knew her rights, knew the law around the felonies, and had the confidence to speak her mind in a way that demanded respect. The DA agreed. Her ex was offered, and accepted, a plea bargain with jail time and several stipulations.

Stacy was so happy. She came directly to Hope Alliance and told her counselor about the plea and her part in ensuring he received at least some jail time. She stood up for herself. Something she didn’t think she could do, but with the help of Hope Alliance she was able to make sure she doesn’t have to fear this man and can live a productive, violence-free life.

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"Monica"

Mother, Teacher

“Monica” met her husband online. He lived in the US and she lived in Columbia. Eventually, they got married and she immigrated to the United States. Their life seemed to be an unending honeymoon. At first everything was good as they were happy and getting to know each other.  A few months later Monica became pregnant and they were very excited about adding a new member to their family.

Monica enrolled in a program to become a bilingual instructor and her mom moved to the United States to help her during pregnancy and eventually with the baby. 

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During the last 3 months of her pregnancy, her husband's behavior started changing.  He would spend more and more time in his office/game room and only come out to get food.  On the weekends, he would spend all day in the game room playing video games and chatting with other gamers.  He became really concerned with noise in the house and insisted that she and her mom keep the noise to a minimum.

Monica became increasingly concerned and confronted him about his behavior.  He got really mad at her from confronting him and responded with insults, name calling and aggression.   After a few confrontations, she decided to leave him alone, she had to worry about her pregnancy, her mom and her classes.

Once the baby was born he was back to his kind, loving self.  The return of these behaviors only lasted a couple of months, though, as the baby started crying and being more vocal. This enraged her husband and his aggressive behavior started again.  He wanted her to keep the baby quiet when he was home.  The name calling and insults got worse as she was not able to keep the baby silent at all times. 

When her son became a toddler, and she couldn’t keep him quiet, her husband got so upset that he kicked her, her baby and her mom out of the house.  She was not allowed to come back home, even if that meant sleeping in her car. Thankfully, Monica was able to find a place to stay with one of her friends from class. 

While staying with her friend, Monica learned about Hope Alliance. Monica and her family were able to enter the emergency shelter where she was able to begin to heal. At the shelter, Monica got to know Mercedes, a Shelter Advocate, Monica felt she had finally found someone who would understand her situation. With Mercedes’ help, she was able to connect with other advocates and counselors.  All Monica wanted was to become an independent individual with a violence-free home to provide to her mom and child.

Monica was able to learn from her counselor at Hope Alliance how to work through all the bad situations she had experienced with her husband.  She was also able to learn her legal and civil rights. With help from Hope Alliance, she was also able to keep attending her certification classes and was able to get her own apartment through a referral to a housing organization. 

Eventually, Monica received her certification as a bilingual instructor and was able to secure a position with a school in South Austin.  She was also able to hire an attorney and she is currently divorced and shares custody of her son.  Monica was also able to apply for a new homeowner’s program and she is now the proud owner of her own home. 

Monica is a perfect example and how an individual who has been through a difficult situation can thrive by the use of Hope Alliance’s resources and services. 

Hear from one of our volunteers, Ashley, who is also a local police office.

Know more about the facts and statistics of domestic violence.

I never expected to be a victim. I was raised in Round Rock, went to college at UT, had a full-time, well paying job. I was confident, stable and ready for love. The abuse didn't start right away. In fact, it didn't start until after marriage when I became pregnant. The violence spiraled out of control from that point. This wasn't supposed to be my life, yet it was.

I am finally living a life without violence and I am so thankful for Hope Alliance's help in getting here.

-Amanda

 

 

I didn't think my abuse was enough to seek help. Other women had it worse. How could I take another woman's place at the shelter? It took a lot of convincing from my family that I needed to get out or I would be one of the women on the news who had been killed by their husband or boyfriends.

I was worthy of help. That was hard to accept, but I am so glad I did!

-Reece

 

My daughter was 17 years old. High school cheerleader, popular with her peers and doing well in school. She loved going out, doing things around town, being involved in groups and clubs. The first major change I noticed was she never talked about her friends anymore and had quit attending events at school. Then I noticed the bruise on her arm. Turns out her boyfriend had been verbally abusing her, controlling her activities and grabbing and shoving her. Hope Alliance helped both her and I and hopefully she will be able to recognize red flags when she decides to start dating again.

- Trish

 

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