By Monica Rodriguez
He held Alice up against the wall squeezing her throat, Alice was dangling off from the floor like a rag doll and the only thing she could do was yell for help. For the protection of my source I changed her name to Alice.
The person who heard Alice’s voice was the abusers mother, “I have called her because he was so out of control and [his mother] was literally 10 feet away “saying no don’t do that stop you know you need to stop,”” Alice said.
Now Alice is living a happy life without her ex-partner.
Domestic violence is an aggressive behavior that starts within the home, and involves with violent abuse of a partner or spouse.
Domestic violence “happens behind closed doors people don’t really know what’s going on. People pretend that [domestic violence] doesn’t exists and it exists so much more then we think it does,” said Tammy Mahan Psychology Professor College of the Canyons.
Domestic violence has grown rapidly nationwide, and here are statistics of surveys from the National Statistics Domestic Violence, Los Angeles County Domestic Violence and California Partnership To End Domestic Violence.
National Statistics Domestic Violence:
Domestic Violence Fact Sheets:
• On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
• 1 in 3 women and 1in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
• 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
• There are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
• Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
• Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.
Survey Results from the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Data Sources:
Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (FFCWS):
• Among mothers married to or cohabiting with fathers, 44% experienced some aspect of controlling behavior in their unions, and 5% experienced violence in their unions.
California Women’s Health Survey (CWHS):
• (2005 survey; last year results available): 9.2% of women reported Domestic Violence (DV) in the last 12 months (4.6% reported physical or sexually violence or both; 4.6% reported psychological abuse)
California Partnership To End Domestic Violence:
Rates of Domestic Violence:
• According to the California Women’s Health Survey (CWHS), approximately 40% of California women experience physical intimate partner violence in their lifetimes (male lifetime prevalence rates are not available).
It could be difficult to understand why a person would stay in an abusive relationship. “Sometimes situational realities like a lack of money keep the victim from leaving. The reasons for staying vary from one victim to the next, and they usually involve several factors,” Mahan said.
For example, how Alex’s relationship started out meeting her prince charming, but a couple months into the relationship become abusive. For the protection of my source I changed her name to Alex.
“He started wanting to spend time with me, and then he isolated me from my friends and family. He started telling me how much he loved me, and [would be] very entangled in my life. He would call and text me just relentlessly, and if he could not reach me at my work he would start calling other people to find me,” Alex said.
During the time Alex’s partner was obsessed with her to the point he stolen a chart that had a list of her colleagues contact information.
“He accused me having an affair with different people on that list. He would start showing up at my work. When I went to lunch with my other colleagues he would within 45 minutes to an hour of me receiving three or four phone calls and text messages saying ” where are you, are you back yet, who are you [eating] lunch with,”” Alex said.
He started to follow Alex and at first “I thought that it was all because he just loved me so much, and I was just head over heels for him,” Alex said. “So within a matter of dating him for six to eight weeks I said yes to marring him then after the marriage his behavior [became violent].”
For instants, Alex explained what her now ex-husband’s behavior became extremely violent to “taking a hammer he laid me down [on the bed] and hit the hammer as hard as he could, [it] looked like it was going towards my face, and he hit it on the pillow right next to me,” Alex said.
The violence that Alex’s ex-husband showed increased to the point he killed the family dog and blamed it on Alex’s 10-year-old daughter for leaving the side gate open.
“So it stared escalating to where he was becoming more, and more of a threat to me and my daughter. I didn’t know what to do and my sister who I worked with try to make sure I was going to be safe, but I know even if I was given help I was going to put everyone at risk,” Alex said.
It was because Alex’s ex-husband had the chart with the list of Alex’s colleague’s information.
Alex’s ex-husband went to the building where she worked and “he told somebody else that he worked up stairs with this particular planning group. So he got into the building and that day the police officers were called everybody was locked down, because he was showing up and he was in a rage [and the authority arrested him],” Alex said.
After retelling the story about Alex to Mahan she gave examples as to why she might have stayed with the ex-husband.
For instance, “reasons [victims] stay because they think that person is going to change, emotional they are invested. [Victims] think they took a value, and don’t want to break that value financially they can’t make it on their own,” Mahan said.
The abuse victims could not even go outside of their house or get a job. The victims “don’t have anywhere else to go, and are isolated from friends and family. If their family members live out of state that is going to server to another barrier, but a lot of times they are embarrassed,” Mahan said.
There are many different organization, and facilities that can help people escape from domestic violence.
For example, at College of the Canyons we have The Health and Wellness Center that has a close relationship with The Domestic Violence Center.
A domestic violence advocate comes on Fridays to the Health and Wellness Center to see students “who are or who have been in domestic violence situations or want to get some assistance with relationships. People can call Alexandra Garcia at 661.259.8175 to schedule an appointment with her, or can come and talk to one of our [Health and Wellness] counselors and we can help with the referrals,” Larry Schallert Assistant Director of the Student Health & Wellness/Mental Health said.
The Health and Wellness Center refer directly to The Domestic Violence Center “when a student is in a domestic violence situation or in need of some legal assistance e.g. a restraining order, or need shelter,” Schallert said.
The Domestic Violence Center has many different opportunities that the agency provides for example, “some services we offer at the center we have support groups so we have a 16 week support group in English and Spanish. We also have individual therapy, help with court and restraining orders. A 24 hour hotline and that is 661.259.HELP. A three day shelter for women and children who are fleeing domestic violence,” Alexandra Garcia Domestic Violence Advocate and Youth Prevention Specialist said.
The shelters give families protection and a new start on life.
The shelters are “homes, it’s not your average shelters to where here is a cotton where you can lay on a pillow. It’s actually a home and they go into their own rooms, they have their spaces, they have a restroom, they have a kitchen where they cook and share and visit with each other. They have a living room so it’s like a home,” said Nicole Feast-Williams Domestic Violence Advocate and Development Officer.
“When someone comes into the shelter we see it first hand and that’s when it becomes reality. Until you see it you don’t understand it, but me seeing it since I walk in that door scared for their life there kids scared for their life they have to transformed there whole life for 30 days. In this one place what they’re not use to, and make it happen to make a better life for them it’s a really big accomplishment to the client,” Williams said.
The Domestic Violence Center protects their clients identities and never releases any information to the public.
The people who work at The Domestic Violence Center takes great care for their clients, and will do whatever it takes to get their clients out of an abusive situation. While their clients follow The Domestic Violence Center’s programs process.
If anyone is interested on learning more about The Domestic Violence Center here in the Santa Clarita Valley it’s located at Savia: A community Partnership, 23780 Newhall Ave.
Visit The Domestic Violent Center website.