Beaumont — October is all about drawing awareness to domestic abuse. It’s a problem not only nationwide, but prevalent in southeast Texas. This year alone, there have been 6 domestic violence-related homicides in Beaumont, and now the Beaumont Police Department is hoping victims chose to seek help before its too late.
Angie Powell lived to tell her story, she nearly died at the hands of her abuser, a man she’d been dating for only a few months.
“Got home late that evening, and I pulled into my driveway, and I realized someone walking towards me and I looked and it was him. So I leaned up against my car and I said ‘what are you do in here’, and that’s when it started,” said Powell.
Powell says she doesn’t remember much about what happened next, but does remember her head ‘swinging from side to side’.
After being beaten and knocked unconscious, she woke up in a hospital bed paralyzed from the waste down. Her injuries – so severe – she was transferred to a Houston hospital where she underwent life-saving brain surgery.
“54 staples from ear to ear. The horror it put my family through was terrible. Even the aftermath of getting home and trying to go back to daily life, while awaiting his arrest and conviction. Constantly looking behind my back, wondering, is he coming after me again,” added Powell.
Her case and countless others, is the reason Beaumont police created a special unit of investigators dedicated to identifying victims and aggressors.
“When we realized that we had six fatalities here and we had not seen any of those six people we knew we had a problem,” says Bonnie Spotts, with Family Services of Southeast Texas.
Spotts also helps train officers about domestic violence.
“The policemen are our heroes, they’re the first responders that get out there,” added Spotts.
Chris Schuldt, Beaumont Police Captain, says the department typically only sees cases where physical violence has happened, but says domestic abuse can happen many other ways.
“The great loving couple that you see on Facebook may be experiencing something that is very different in real life,” said Schuldt.
“Abuse isn’t just about physical it’s mental as well,” added Powell.
Even though Powell’s abuser sits in jail, and her case is closed, she wants other victims to get out of potentially deadly relationships.
There are many reasons law enforcement say victims do not seek help, including manipulation and fear of the abuser.
If you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship, call the hotline: 409-832-7575 or 1-800-621-8882. If you’re involved in a life threatening situation, call 911.
To reach Family Services of Southeast Texas click here
Written by Rocio De La Fe