By Yvette Tello

Judge Rosie Gonzalez is looking for ways to address this domestic violence problem that is so prevalent in our community. She asks, if you had the opportunity to create change, to rid ourselves of this epidemic, How would you do it? Let’s talk about it…..

Vanessa Martinez Campos : “We need better educational and income opportunities for the families in SA. Education and stable incomes help reduce DV/IPV.That means starting in PreK and going all the way through high school, not giving up on getting our children educated and prepared for jobs that will help them thrive.We also need to make sure everyone in SA has living wages. Iowa State also created an educational program for offenders that reduced recidivism. Hand in hand these two ideas would be excellent prevention techniques.”

Nikki Jon Beltran: “ We need to do better about just attesting people and releasing back to hurt the same people again. It doesn’t always work, but I’ve seen success helping perpetrators control their rage by going to mandatory domestic violence classes to help them understand their violent reactions to stress.I speak from experience sadly. My life almost taken twice by the same person. He went to those classes at my request not a court ordered decision because I could not get proper help through the law.”

David Yanez: “ I worked with Domestic Violence Victims and family for 2 1/2 years at the Battered Women Shelter and Bexar Family Justice Center and the one thing that needs more resource support is to have the children in an abusive household receive counseling also, they are overlooked. Remember they see and hear everything. We should try to help the next generation also.”

Raul Maya: “ Maybe starting in the school system, and advocating to our youth and educating them about what domestic violence does and how it can impact someone’s life.”

Dacari Lambert: “ Make services easier to access for folks, it’s so difficult to get help! We make people jump through hoops.”

Rosie War: “ Harsher punishment and thorough investigations. I feel bad saying this but I feel like our system has failed us time and time again. Why report things when nothing is done. Theres more leniency when it’s a female abuser. I gave up a long time ago. This is just my personal experience.”

Ana Alicia Amoricity Perez: “More mental health services as well. I speak from personal experience here on this (and work experience). I survived a domestically violent relationship in my early 20s with a guy who was schizophrenic. More mental health services access is important And to coincide that— more substance abuse treatment programs. Because in my work as a licensed social worker and a licensed chemical dependency counselor, we know a large chunk self medicate. Add all this with domestic violence… it’s a large issue”

Geo Rodrix : “There’s got to be a way to learn some early signs before anyone gets in to deep or involved in a relationship that leads to violence. It needs to be nipped in the butt from the very beginning. People need to learn to walk away from this type of situation and read the early signs which are usually jealously and possessiveness. Unfortunately, it is not an easy thing.”

Letty Padilla: “ I’m a domestic violence survivor and I can honestly say we need more places like the family violence prevention center and shelter. They helped with me and kids so much. We ended up at the women’s battered shelter and help me get out of that marriage. Not everyone knows about it. Sadly the abuser won’t see there’s a problem even after going to counseling, or even after being arrested. Which was in my case and in many case I know.I am very thankful for the battered women’s shelter, there they helped me with getting a restraining order, lawyer for my divorce and custody, and counseling for my kids. They also helped me start a new life. They helped with getting me and kids a place to live. Which they needed. We need more resources!”

Jose Rosario Gonzalez: “ Follow up on domestic disturbance calls, letting the involved know that they will be monitored, especially if there are signs of abuse and the abused party “chooses” not to press charges. On the same path, allow victims to testify away from the victimizer, in a safe environment. It may cost some money, but dedicated, honest, and caring case workers could be assigned to follow up. Overall, take the claims seriously and strictly enforce laws requiring abusers to stay away from victims. Many times abuse victims are not seen as a priority by law enforcement until it’s too late.”

Krissy Jones: “ I know someone mentioned education within the school system but to add to that… Teaching our youth and giving them the tools to build; self-confidence, what is and is not “love”, and what a healthy relationship looks like. All too often DV victims are lacking confidence and their Abuser feeds into that. Which then starts dependency b/c the Abuser is filling a void in the victim to their liking.”

S. Martinez: “ Victims need options; finances to start over again. Sometimes, staying is the only option when there is nowhere to go. If they leave, most of the time, they have to go back. Family members want to help but after a while, an extra family to support becomes a burden. No one wants to admit that but it happens. The victim becomes a victim again. This problem needs to be addressed on many levels but the priority needs to be keeping the victims safe and away from the abuser. Money to start over for more than a month is necessary.”