Williamson County has the well-deserved reputation as a great place to live for individuals and families. But beneath the surface, as well as across the world, there is a dark and sinister underbelly of family and youth violence and abuse.
Serving those victims here in our county is Hope Alliance in Round Rock, a crisis center that assists victims of domestic or sexual violence and their families. This non-profit organization offers safety, counseling and ultimately training and skills to break the cycles of violence in which individuals live. They give victims hope for a safe and healthy life.
Don’t think this happens that often here? The data is startling and has no socio-economic boundaries: 1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 3 teenagers have been victims of a violent relationship. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injuries to women ages 15 to 44, and one-third of female homicides are the result of violence from an intimate partner.
While abuse is often physical—1 in 10 high school students have been purposely hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend—emotional or verbal mistreatment by a partner frequently occurs. Together they exceed the rates of all other types of youth violence. Social media greatly facilitates the mistreatment at all ages.
For these very reasons, in September, the Williamson County Commissioners Court proclaimed October as “Domestic and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.” This past Saturday, Hope Alliance’s kickoff for their 2nd annual 5K was held in San Gabriel Park where I had the pleasure of delivering a poignant message, setting the tone for this virtual race and cause via Facebook Live.