Michele Jones-CZ Profile PicA few months ago millions of people watching the Super Bowl saw the NoMore.org commercial portraying the scene of a victim of domestic violence calling 911 and pretending to order a pizza to disguise the call from her attacker.

I’d venture a guess that no one was expecting such a weighty and sobering commercial during the Super Bowl.

If you’re like me, it stuck with you. Even now, I can see it playing in my head.

Traditionally, we’re accustomed to funny, creative, million-dollar commercials that keep us talking for a while. And that’s actually the point of this commercial . . . to keep us talking, keep us aware of what’s happening in the lives of the people around us.

Domestic violence is a tragic reality that affects more than 12 million people a year in the United States alone. In 2014, the CDC reported that nearly 30% of women and 10% of men have experienced some form of physical violence, sexual violence or stalking by an intimate partner. Those numbers don’t include the thousands more who suffer from psychological abuse. I’ve seen different kinds of abuse in my practice as a counslor, and it is far more complicated than we can imagine. 

Domestic violence refers to acts of abuse between intimate partners, and can take the form of physical or sexual attacks, as well as stalking and psychological abuse, in which the perpetrator belittles, controls or otherwise instills fear in a person.

Oftentimes, victims suffer without ever being hit. More often than not victims are too afraid of real or perceived threats to tell anyone what’s happening to them. Would you recognize the signs?

Signs that you or someone you know may be experiencing violence:

  • Withdraws socially, has very few friends, seems isolated from others
  • Asks permission to meet or socialize with others
  • Frequently has bruises or injuries that look like the grip of someone’s hand/fingers, black eyes, sprained wrists
  • Hides bruising and injuries with makeup or clothing
  • Makes excuses for injuries like tripping, falling or being accident-prone
  • Has little money available, no credit cards, limited resources

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact one of these trusted resources.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: www.thehotline.org | 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA): http://avda-tx.org | 713-224-9911

Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC): http://hawc.org | 713-528-2121

Innovative Alternatives: http://www.innovativealternatives.org | 713-222-2525