El Pachuco advices student how to deal
with domestic violence in her home

Las mujeres son, con mucho, las víctimas más frecuentes,
y los hombres son los abusadores más frecuentes.

Dear Pachuco, I am 17 years old and graduating in 2020. I plan to go on to college and study psychology. My question to you is, “How can I deal with the domestic violence in my home? My mother was in a relationship where my step-father abused her often, aboused alocohol daily, and would psychologically and emotionally abuse me and my sisters. He now has a restraining order, and my mom left him. She is now dating another man who seems to have the same abusive characteristics as her pass partner. What can I do to help her? The domestic violence situation has affected me personally with school work, and my dreams to go to college. How can I manage this situation? Ayudame por favor!!!
Signed, DVV

Dear DVV,
I feel your pain carnalita, (little sister) as well as your anxiety, depression, trauma, and all the other challenges that you may be experiencing dealing with domestic violence in your home. I know that it also interferes with your learning and schoolwork. I ask that you provide your hefita (mother) with the following information in hopes that she may break the cycle of allowing her partners to abuse her, and give her the courage to ask for professional help. Agui esta: (Here it is).

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is defined as physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, and/or sexual abuse between two individuals engaged in a current or previous romantic relationship (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2008). I often speak to youth who have been witness to domestic violence in their homes. They often have the same pain that you have described in your letter to me. Domestic violence is a widespread public health problem impacting millions of women and men in the U.S. each year and can have long-lasting physical and psychological effects on not only the individuals involved in the act(s) of violence but also on families and communities at large. Given the harmful effects associated with IPV, the CDC (2008, 2011) and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC, 2011) have recognized the lack of knowledge surrounding IPV prevention and the urgency in better understanding the factors associated with IPV to lead to more effective prevention efforts.

It would seem that your hefita (mother) does not realize that she doesn’t have to allow her partners to treat her in the manner that they do. Share with her the following information. Domestic violence affects all family members. It can happen in any relationship, regardless of ethnic group, income level, religion, or sexual orientation. The abuse may occur between a dating relationship, a married couple, or people living together. Some research studies have found that some people who are more likely to become victims of domestic violence show the following characteristics. The victim has a poor self-image, is economically and emotionally dependent on the abuser, has unrealistic belief that he or she can change the abuser, feels powerless to stop the violence, and may believe the jealousy is proof of love. If you feel your hefita fits any one or all of these, she probably needs help.

Another important fact to know is that women are by far the most frequent victims, and men are the most frequent abusers. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 95 percent of the assaults on partners or spouses are committed by men against women. Victims of domestic abuse often have additional common characteristics such as abuse alcohol or other substances, have been previously abused, like your hefita, are poor and have limited support, have partners who abuse alcohol or other substances, have previously left their abuser, represent ethnic or immigrant groups, some may be undocumented, have traditional beliefs that women should be submissive to men, and do not speak English. If any of these characteristics fit your hefita, she needs professional help.

Be prepared to accept that maybe your hefita will not think she needs help, or won’t get help. I am sorry to tell you that sometimes you have to wait until something bad happens to come to the realization that you need or accept professional help. One strategy that might work is to read this article to your hefita and tell her that you are concern with the direction she is choosing to live her life. Without proper professional help, she may never realize her dilemma. This advice may be the most difficult thing I have to say to you, but here goes. Take care of yourself first, and do everything in your power to stay clear of the domestic mess your hefita has created for the household. Take care of your siblings, and focus on your schoolwork to get into college, not your hefita. I know you can do it. Si Se Puede.

Take the lead to show your siblings that you care and show them they too can be strong. Identify 12 women that you can invite to an information workshop about domestic violence, once they agree, call me, and I will conduct a group for you and the women who want to hear the message. Take the lead to begin learning about what you can do to keep your sanity. I know its difficult but you can do it. My hefita was abused by my father who I never met, nor care to know anything about that pendejo. He was an alcoholic, a womanizer, and left the family when I was one year young. I am happy that I did not have to witness what you have to witness in your house. However, I did witness the aftermath of the pendejo leaving my hefita. No income, no child support, mom working a lot, and more. Find someone you can speak to in times of need and do everything in your power to be the woman you know you can be, strong, intelligent, confident, living your life as you choose to live it.

I close by saying I admire you for writing me and discussing your challenge. I know you have helped many others by reaching out to me. Remember, if you are serious about my suggestion, write me back.

The Educated Pachuco™