OP-ED: Abuse has many names

Published 6:26 am Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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Dawn Burleigh,
General Manager/Editor

Domestic abuse has many different names and are all just as damaging to the morale and confidence of the victim.

A meme on Facebook described it in such a way that it needs to be mentioned here:

The problem is women think he will change, he won’t. And men make the mistake of thinking she will never leave, she will.

Sadly, it is not always be by her free will that she leaves. Sometimes she leaves in a body bag.

We teach our children to watch for the red flags such as telling you who you can and cannot hang out with, not allowing people over, preventing you from seeing your parents. That is abuse by trying to control every aspect of your life, including who you can and cannot talk to. It starts slow and you may not be aware it is happening and then suddenly you are alone without a support system and screaming for help.

He/she may not have lifted a hand to strike you at this point, but that does not mean it will not happen. It is a matter of time and the abuser will make sure you are aware it is all your fault as you should have never upset them to that point.

Just another lie to maintain control over you.

I do not claim all victims of abuse are women. Men are abused as well and despite forward thinking, are still commonly overlooked as victims.

On March 3, 1955, on the front page of The Orange Leader was an article titled ‘Badly Abused Man Wins His Freedom’. Part of what caught my eye was the star above the title.

The article was from the Associated Press and the story was from London. The man had suffered abuse from his wife for things such as his lunch was packed with sandwiches made of mud and his lunchbox was filled with broken glass instead of tea as well as having a can of creosote thrown on his suit and a pail of wet garbage dumped on him. The judge granted the man the requested divorce.

Victims today are not as fortunate to receive freedom.

There is help and one does not have to live in fear.

Call the Texas Abuse Hotline when the situation is urgent. Urgent means someone faces an immediate risk of abuse or neglect that could result in death or serious harm, according to txabusehotline.org. Call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 for situations including but not limited to:

  • Serious injuries
  • Any injury to a child 5 years or younger
  • Immediate need for medical treatment (including suicidal thoughts)
  • Sexual abuse where the abuser has or will have access to the victim within the next 24 hours
  • Children age five and under are alone or are likely to be left alone within the next 24 hours
  • Anytime you believe your situation requires action in less than 24 hours

If you need to call the Texas Abuse Hotline and are deaf and equipped with a Teletypewriter (TTY), call Relay Texas by dialing 711 or 1-800-735-2989. Tell the relay agent you need to call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

According to Texas Health and Human Services website, computers use can be easily monitored and information is difficult to completely delete off the computer. If you are afraid your email, Internet or computer use might be monitored, use a computer that cannot be monitored and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

800-799-SAFE (7233) 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Hotline

Telecommunications Device for the Deaf 800-787-3224 or visit


If you’re in an emergency and need immediate help from the local police department, call 9-1-1.

The Family Violence Program promotes self-sufficiency, safety, and long-term independence of adult and child victims of family violence and victims of teen dating violence. Through a network of service providers, the program provides emergency shelter and supportive services to victims and their children, educates the public, and provides training, and prevention support to various organizations across Texas.

All services are provided for free and there is no income verification for eligibility.

Discover your freedom again.


Dawn Burleigh is general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com