Many People Know About Abuse, But Do Not Report It

A Nacogdoches man is in stable condition after being stabbed in the heart by his girlfriend. Investigators said the couple was having a domestic dispute when she stabbed him in the chest with a butcher knife. Police charged 44-year-old JoAnn Benton with aggravated assault.

Thirty-eight year-old Robert Blanton is recovering in a Nacogdoches hospital after having emergency surgery. The attack happened Tuesday at the Austin Arms apartments on Douglass Street in Nacogdoches.

Neighbors who know the couple said they have a history of violence. Some of them believe the woman stabbed her boyfriend in self-defense after years of abuse.

In the U.S., a woman is beaten an average of every 15 seconds. Most of the time, friends and family members do not step in to stop the abuse.

Judy May, Violence Prevention Educator for the Women's Shelter of East Texas, said, "Most of the time, it's not that they don't care. They do care, they just don't know what to do. They're afraid that if they get involved, the violence will be redirected to them or their family and that's a scary thing, so I think a lot of people don't know what to do."

Experts know abuse victims are often ashamed and won't ask for help no matter how bad the situation gets, but that does not mean they don't want help. Children are especially encouraged to report abuse to their parents and teachers because kids who bully often become adults who bully.

"Children, especially young boys, don't want to look weak," said May. "They don't want to look like 'I can't take care of myself'."

Last year, the Women's Shelter of East Texas served about 3,500 East Texans in nine different counties through its safe house, outreach, and education programs.

For more information about family violence and domestic abuse or getting help, call the Women's Shelter of East Texas at 1-800-828-7233 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

Three out of four Texans have either experienced family violence or know a friend or family member who has.