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Blog- What is domestic violence and how can you get help?

There always seems to be a day or month dedicated to everything. October 29 was National Cat Day, complete with the White House sharing a photo of President Obama and Grumpy Cat.

However, the month of October was more important as a whole. Among other things, it was Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2010 statistics, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience some form of abuse, among them physical and mental, in their lifetime.

La Casa, a community dedicated to helping New Mexico survivors, defines domestic violence as “pattern(s) of behavior that one partner in an intimate relationship uses to control the other. Anyone can be a victim regardless of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status.”

Their website lists economic abuse, isolation and coercion as some of the least-known forms of abuse. Economic abuse can extend from an ‘allowance’ to preventing a partner from obtaining a job. Another way in which this latter symptom can present is by making a partner feel so unsafe at a place of employment that they quit to escape the abuse.

Isolation occurs primarily when a partner is kept away from friends or family and anyone else who might be able to help them escape.

Coercion and outright threats are only different in their approach. A common form of coercion is to convince a partner you will hurt yourself if they ever leave you. This is also a form of manipulation.

New Mexico State University graduate and Center Against Sexual and Family Violence volunteer Sam Horstman says the most common situations they encounter are domestic violence and sexual assault. As the Community Relations Aide, he doesn’t deal directly with clients, instead assisting with social media and print materials.

The La Casa center, located in El Paso, provides many resources for victims. Among them are transitional housing, emergency shelter, youth services and a battering intervention and prevention programs.

In Las Cruces, La Casa provides similar resources, as well as legal services, parenting education, advocacy and counseling. The physical building is located at 800 Walnut Street. Both also provide other area resources.

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