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As more people self-quarantine, concerns for domestic violence victims rise

It's more important than ever to keep an eye and ear out for our neighbors living with abusive partners.

SAN ANTONIO — During a time when many people are isolating themselves and limiting travel to essential needs, some victims of domestic abuse are captives of the people who are hurting them the most.

In the U.S., an average of nearly 20 people a minute are physically abused by their partners, per the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. And while the eyes of a country turn to efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, the silent suffering of abuse goes further unseen.

“At times of stressful circumstances, domestic violence raises its ugly head in our community,” said Marta Prada Peláez, president and CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services in San Antonio. “When these stresses are present, our numbers go higher because they trigger the abusers.”

It amounts to more fire under a steaming pot that’s already boiling over. Because it’s impossible to say something if we can’t see it, experts say it’s as important as ever to listen to victims.

“If you hear someone in distress, if you hear screams coming from the house next door, please call the police on their behalf,” Peláez said. “They will come and do a wellness check for you.”

Even as daily operations from the city and local businesses slow down amid social distancing efforts, San Antonio Family Violence Prevent Services is still fully operational, and every service is free of charge.

Peláez said contacting police is first and foremost the most important option in a dire situation.

“They will know what to do, including transporting you to the shelter—none of these procedures are being adjusted, revised or changed.”

That means that while we can continue to avoid virual exposure through social distancing, we can still play a vital role in being their for our neighbors and expose invisible struggles.

Stay up to date on the latest information regarding the fight to contain coronavirus in Texas and elsewhere: