Domestic violence, or battering, is a pattern of behavior used to gain power and control over someone in an intimate relationship or has been through fear and intimidation. This will more often than not include violence. The batterer typically feels this behavior is okay. Victims may or may not call a hotline or seek help elsewhere. The National Domestic Violence Hotline compiles data of calls annually. In 2011 there was a reported approximately 22,000 calls per month with 12% coming from Texas. Texas is number 2 in call volume to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In 2011, the Hotline reported that Texas had over 17,000 calls. The calls are typically from the victim; however, there are calls from batterers, family members and friends. There is a lot of information gathered during these calls that help advocates determine who is calling and what their individual needs are. The National Domestic Violence Hotline gathers information pertaining to who is calling, ethnicity, needs, age, gender, immigration status, location, marital status, etc. All of this information assist those working to end domestic violence in better helping current and future victims. Most of the time when you hear about domestic violence, the thought of the person that has been physically abused and/or hospitalized is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But more than 90% of the people that are domestic violence victims suffer from emotional and verbal abuse. Just over 70% of victims are dealing with actual physical abuse. Generally the abuse will escalate over a period of time. This is important to know because there are many things to look for in determining if you are a victim of domestic violence or recognizing a friend or family member dealing with it. You may be a domestic violence victim if you experience control of finances, using children to manipulate situations, isolation from family and friends, shame, criticism, cuts, children that are afraid, rage, harassment, shoving, jealousy, possessiveness, loss of self-esteem, unwanted touching, destruction of personal property, violence to family pets, being kept away from resources, public humiliation, rape, stalking, threats with weapons, threats to take away children, threats of life, depression, slapping, biting, kicking, bruises, threats to family, keeping from job or school, just to name a few of the more common signs. According to the National Domestic Hotline collection of data about 5% of the calls that come in are from rural areas. Rural areas tend to have a very high occurrence of domestic violence given the socio-economic, educational, cultural backgrounds. Victims in rural areas are less likely to come forward due to transportation or fear of having to leave and start over in an unfamiliar place. There are many obstacles for battered women, especially those who are not legal residents or immigration status is directly related to partner. The likelihood of victims coming forward may also be hindered because of a distrust of the legal system, language barriers, cultural barriers, and fear of deportation. Rural battered women face a lack of resources, isolation, small town politics, transportation barriers, communication barriers in addition to other intimate partner violence that is intensified in rural lifestyles. Domestic violence also affects children greatly. It affects children much like it does adults. They may become withdrawn, anxious, depressed, antisocial, angry, confused, problems eating, difficulties in school, challenges in making friends. They often feel like they are in the middle or the reason for the abuse they are witnessing. Children may also become violent themselves, turn to drug and alcohol use, or may even become abusive to their mothers. There are so many others that are affected and other things to look for with domestic violence. The key is to remember to speak up for those that cannot speak for themselves. Don’t be afraid to come forward to help someone in need. Ask questions when you don’t have the answer. The only way to end domestic violence is to educate ourselves and neighbors. Dove Project is here to assist in these matters. We are your local resource to finding out who is affected by domestic violence and how to help the many victims. If you have any questions or domestic violence to report please contact Nikwai Noble at 325-372-4357.