Abuse is not just black eyes and bruises. Abuse can be humiliation, manipulation, control, threats, not allowing a person to keep their paycheck, or restricting access to money. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence—women or men, old or young, straight or gay.
One of the scariest parts of domestic violence is that it can happen to anyone—your best friend, neighbor, daughter, or sister. Oftentimes when women are being abused and controlled, they are distanced from their friends and have no way to financially care for themselves and their children.
I often tell people to make sure they have money in a separate account or stashed away that their partner can’t get a hold of. The second thing I tell them is to report the abuse. If bruises or marks are left on them, take pictures. Take pictures of the room that is torn apart from an angry rage. Send these pictures to a trusted friend so they don’t get lost or erased. Documentation and reporting to the police are imperative when seeking a protective order and fighting for sole managing conservatorship.
Protective orders can be issued with the help of the Bexar County Family Justice Center or with the help of an attorney. For a protective order to be issued there must be proof of imminent threat or harm. Voice mails, texts, and/or pictures of recent physical abuse or violence will need to be shown to the judge. The harm must be imminent, meaning you can’t say, “I was abused or threatened 3 years ago” and expect to receive a protective order.
A single protective order can protect the spouse/parent as well as the children in the household. A temporary protective order will last for 14 days and can be extended for an additional 14 days before a final hearing is held. Protective orders are serious and will only be granted when proof can be shown that there is abuse and/or a pattern of abuse. This is why reporting the abuse to the police is so important.
Hiring a lawyer who understands domestic violence and the proof you need can help you and your children stay safe. No one deserves to be abused. No one deserves to be hurt. And, no child deserves to see their parent be a victim of domestic violence. It is our duty to help break the cycle. Everyone has a right to be safe. We can help.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, trained professionals are waiting to help you.
- San Antonio Family Violence Hotline: 210-733-8810
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)