HOUSTON – Following three domestic violence-related homicides in the Houston area over the past 24 hours, victims’ advocates called on greater community support for those who are suffering and in need of help.
“There are a lot of pressures when we look at the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year, that can lead to things turning deadly,” said trauma therapist with Jem Wellness and Counseling Chau Nguyen.
According to The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, finances, less contact with the outside world, and additional people in a living space can present challenges to domestic partnerships. Each, Nguyen stressed, are linked to power and control – the foundation of an abusive relationship.
“What we stress to survivors, or to people who are just navigating relationships that don’t seem healthy or normal is to get some help,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen said while it is crucial to recognize telltale signs, that advice isn’t solely for the abused. She cited stalking, excessive review of a partner’s cell phone, isolation, and verbal abuse as glaring examples, among others.
“The big one we see among intimate partners is financial abuse – taking away the control of money. Using a child as a pawn,” she highlighted.
Nguyen said cases such as the three domestic violence related shootings in the Houston area since Thanksgiving night, speak to a communal obligation to say something.
“Let them know that they’re not alone, that help is available,” Nguyen said, urging allies to be calm, and without judgement when reaching out to an abused loved one.
“Don’t say things like, ‘Why don’t you just leave them.’ It isolates the survivor and that person doesn’t want to talk. Respond without judgment. Say things like, ‘I’m so sorry you’re going through this. You don’t deserve it.’”