Before reading any further: If you or someone you know is suffering from
domestic violence, please call or text
the national domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224, respectively. Alternatively, you can
click this link to find a list of domestic violence resources, such as shelters, in Texas.
Recognizing domestic violence or abuse can be difficult. Understanding
what signs to look for can help you identify and report acts of domestic
cruelty before they escalate.
Common Signs of Domestic Violence
You may be experiencing
domestic violence if your partner:
- Regularly puts you down or insults you;
- Isolates you, preventing you from seeing family members and friends (or
in extreme cases, from attending work or school);
- Attempts to control your finances, the searches you make on digital devices,
and how you communicate with others;
- Threatens you with violence;
- Commits any act of physical violence against you without your consent,
including hitting, slapping and choking;
- Forces you to engage in sexual acts against your will;
- Tells you that nobody (including law enforcement) will take the abuse seriously
due to identifying factors you possess, such as sexual or racial identity
(if you are a minority).
A person suffering from domestic abuse might:
- Have bruises on the arms, face, and throat;
- Have split lips;
- Have sprained wrists;
- Act in an isolated manner (especially if the noncommunication occurs suddenly);
- Act in an abnormal manner (such as behaving unusually emotionally or aggressively
when asked about their partner);
- Take steps to cover signs of abuse (like wearing heavy makeup or clothing
to cover bruises};
- Display a sudden dip in self-esteem or a sudden rise in depression and anxiety;
- Ask their partner before engaging in any activity (asking their permission
to socialize with friends, for example);
- Communicate with their partner constantly, even in situations that don't
- Joke about how their partner is "jealous" or "possessive;"
- Be unable to leave the house unless their partner goes with them;
- Fail to have money on-hand (this is common in situations where an individual
constrains their partner's finances).
Control is the defining characteristic of abusive relationships and the
calling card for the cycle of domestic violence.
According to most law enforcement professionals, the cycle of domestic
violence consists of three phases. For example, the Los Angeles Police
Department's Domestic Violence Department
separates the cycle into three distinct phases:
- The tension-building phase. In this phase, the abuser begins to control
their partner. The abuser's end goal is to create a situation that
"justifies" an act of abuse in their mind. They often become
increasingly controlling to the point it's impossible for the victim
to possibly please the abuser.
- The acute battering incident. In this phase, the abuser commits an act
of violence. Frequently, abusers start out by committing a "smaller"
act of abuse (such as a slap they claim is accidental, or punching a door
next to the victim's face), but the abuse almost always escalates.
- The remorseful phase. In the final phase, the abuser apologizes and tries
to reap forgiveness from the victim. They may be unusually kind or charming.
If the victim forgives them, the abuser once again initiates the tension-building phase.
If you experience domestic abuse, no matter how remorseful the abuser seems
or how "small" the act of abuse was, you should seek help immediately.
Domestic abuse, unfortunately, tends to escalate quickly, so addressing
the problem early is essential.
How to Report Domestic Abuse in Texas
If you are a domestic abuse victim, you should contact law enforcement
professionals in your area immediately. In bigger cities, such as Dallas,
police departments typically have a dedicated domestic violence department
you can reach out to. You can contact the
Dallas Domestic Violence Squad by dialing (214)-671-4304.
A law enforcement professional will come to your location and remove you
from the premises if they see evidence of domestic abuse domestic violence.
They will then take you to a local courthouse, where you can file for
a restraining order against the alleged abuser.
You should consult the court clerk about filing for an emergency protective
order. An emergency protective order goes into effect as soon as a judge
can issue it, and gives you protection from your abuser while you work
with a lawyer to get a more permanent protective order.
Once you have a restraining order, you can begin working with a domestic
violence attorney to compile your case. This phase typically involves
gathering evidence of the abuse and attending a court hearing. The judge
will then decide whether to issue a longer-term or permanent restraining
order against the alleged abuser.
At the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny, we help victims of domestic abuse
receive the care and compassion they deserve.
To attain a consultation with one of our domestic violence lawyers or learn
more about our firm,
contact us online.