EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Center against Sexual and Family Violence wants to continue to bring this conversation to the forefront. Executive Director Sandra Nevarez Garcia believes that even though it my be “taboo,” it is still important to to talk about this subject.

On average, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some sort of physical violence from their intimate partner. There are a range of behaviors that they experience that might not be seen as “domestic violence.”

When a survivor does come forward, Garcia explains that they feel that immediate pressure to act on it which can cause difficulty in an already difficult situation.

“Now you not only have to deal with the pressures of what’s going on in your personal relationship just throughout the domestic violence, but now you’re dealing with the pressure of they want you to do something right. So often times victims are still trying to gather information. They’re still figuring out what are the other options, what is the best thing.”

Garcia has previously shared her concerns about the hundreds of cases that have been dismissed in El Paso. They face a challenge of being the only domestic violence program in El Paso and Hudspeth County. Despite those setbacks, the center will continue supporting survivors in other ways, she said.

However, she does believe that this will create a precedent of the community not taking action.

“If there’s not a consequence, if there’s not this progression consequence that happens, then these individuals will continue to behave badly right and will continue to perpetrate whether it’s against their current victim or if they leave that relationship, then potentially another victim.”

If there is someone in your life that you suspect to be in a domestic violence situation, Garcia says it will take time before they are comfortable coming forward. She adds that while it is very common to assume that we could fall victim as well, it is best to be supportive of their decisions.

“What we can do is provide them resources, make sure they have the information they need so they can make the decisions that are best for them and be there for them and not in a judgmental way because what makes sense for you may not make sense for me.”

The center does have some upcoming events and if you want more information or wish to reach out you can find that information on their website.

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