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Domestic Abuse: You can get out

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(KYTX) - After 39-year-old mother Teresa Hoyle and her 22-year-old daughter Cashuanika Hoyle are allegedly shot to death by Teresa's ex boyfriend, a serious conversation turns to domestic violence.

Family members say Teresa had recently ended a five year relationship with 39-year-old Kevin McKelvey and was afraid of what he might do. Local experts say Teresa is not alone.

 

One in four American women experiences domestic violence in her lifetime, including many women right here in East Texas. Every day at least three women and one man are murdered by their partners.

"We feel like we weren't there to help her," says Teresa Hoyle's cousin Lisa Harper. 

Harper says Teresa kept her problems private, but she sensed something was wrong with her relationship.

"She had been staying [at her house] but she was just, I think afraid. Stuff had just started going wrong and she was just trying to protect her and her baby girls," Harper says. Teresa Hoyle has two 9-year-old twin daughters too.

"It just really hurts my heart," says Tyler counselor Jennifer Wood, who says sadly, Teresa Hoyle's circumstance is common. She counsels a lot of people dealing with domestic abuse.

"The person being abused sort of builds up a tolerance and they don't see what's going on and that's why it's so important to have people that love you and support you and care about you, help you see with more clear eyes," Wood says.

She says abuse is not only physical, but sexual and emotional too. Wood says there are almost always warning signs before violence starts.

"Isolation, and what you feel internally. Try to watch for, do you feel bad about yourself? Is that person building you up or are they tearing you down? The word that keeps coming to my mind is dignity. Are they tearing your dignity?" she says.

If this sounds like your relationship, she says you need to get out.

"A lot of times if they make a report if they call the police, they think they're betraying that other person, and they're not. They're ultimately really protecting themselves," Wood says.

Experts say you're in most danger while leaving an abusive relationship, so always have a safety plan. Make sure you have somewhere to go, and someone to call if you're in danger.

"The main thing is knowing that you can't do it alone," Wood says. "There are so many resources."

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Here are some domestic violence resources in East Texas:

 

At the East Texas Crisis Center, there are support groups for children, for adults, in English and in Spanish. There are counseling sessions for groups and individuals. All you have to do show up and know that there's help for you. Those crisis center support group meetings are FREE.

 

http://www.etcc.org/

There is also a Family Crisis Center of East Texas.

http://www.familycrisiscenterofeasttexas.com/

Jennifer Wood is one of many licensed professional counselors in the Tyler area. 

http://www.woodchristiancounseling.com/

For other counselors in the Tyler area:

http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_results.php?city=Tyler&county=Smith&state=TX&spec=181


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