The Courage of a Warrior Mom

BCFS-Del Rio Helps a Domestic Violence Victim Start Over

Jhenovia Campbell had served our country in the United States Air Force, earned several promotions, and seen her share of tense situations as a service member. Ironically, one of her most harrowing experiences was when she decided to uproot her life to escape a domestic abuse situation. She chose to leave as a survivor, before becoming a victim.

As she loaded her 2-year-old daughter in the car, Jhenovia replayed in her mind the gut-wrenching decision to leave her teenage daughter behind in Georgia with a relative while she searched for peace and safety. With no more than a few dollars and the clothes they were wearing, Jhenovia and her toddler drove straight through to Texas, choosing Del Rio to seek immediate refuge with a friend.

Soon after her arrival, Jhenovia learned of BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio, where she met Family Violence Specialist Claudia Lopez. BCFS-Del Rio operates the Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program, providing safety, support and resources to victims of domestic violence. Through one-on-one support, legal assistance, emergency medical care and referrals for access to community resources, the DRDV program promotes violence-free relationships and community awareness through collaboration, public information, education and advocacy.

Jhenovia recounted her recent history and journey for Lopez, discussing how her commitment to her daughters led to her decision to flee a dangerous home environment. As they spoke, Lopez began carefully planning an effective strategy for Jhenovia’s recovery and reintroduction to a safe, stable and normal life.

“She had done her research and learned about BCFS-Del Rio,” recalls Lopez. “She made it clear she was ready for a change. We filed a protective order, contacted law enforcement in Georgia and obtained all the incident reports.”

“I was impressed with her demeanor and calm voice,” Lopez says. “After all the abuse, here she was standing tall and proud. Then it dawned on me that she was a warrior. The fact that she had served our country made her strong. She was eager to learn and not take any handouts. She values hard work and discipline, and I admire that about her, too.”

Through its Special Non-Residential Program, BCFS-Del Rio’s Domestic Violence Program helped Jhenovia find an apartment and provide her a few items to start a new home. She began her job hunt, and as the start of the school year approached, she coordinated the arrival of her oldest daughter, who would begin sixth grade in a new school. Jhenovia learned about additional community resources that helped empower her and her daughters, and she attended support groups and counseling sessions to help process the events of her recent past to recover from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her former spouse.

Through sheer determination, in just under 60 days in new surroundings, Jhenovia reclaimed her independence, fully aware that the scars of abuse, although in check, remain in her memory. She is gainfully employed and caring for her children. As a testament to her resiliency, unconditional love for her daughters, and strong self-image, Jhenovia is living a life free of the insecurity and uncertainty of domestic abuse.

“I knew she didn’t want to ask for help because she wanted to work and get things done with her own hard-earned money,” says Lopez. “Everyone, at some point, needs help. Thankfully, BCFS was there to offer a few important resources, a little hope, and a shot at a new beginning.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

BCFS Health and Human Services to Hold Candlelight Vigil

DEL RIO — According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million people are affected by intimate partner violence in the United States each year. One in three women in Texas is affected by abuse at the hands of a boyfriend, spouse or intimate partner. Last year in Texas, more than 23,000 adults and children sought shelter from an abusive environment.

As the nation marks October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, BCFS Health and Human Services in Del Rio will pause to honor victims of abuse, and underscore its programs that help survivors recover and work to end domestic abuse for good.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program provides safety, support and resources to victims of domestic violence in Del Rio and Val Verde County. Victims receive one-on-one support, legal assistance, referrals to access community resources, emergency medical care, and critical safety planning. BCFS’ domestic abuse hotline is available 24/7 at (830) 768-2755.

In the last year, BCFS’ Del Rio Domestic Violence program has provided treatment and recovery services to 93 adults and 70 children affected by domestic violence.

On Thursday, October 29, BCFS Health and Human Services will hold its sixth annual candlelight vigil in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The vigil, Igniting Hope: A Community Commitment to Stop Domestic Violence, will be held at Del Rio’s Brown Plaza at 305 Cantu Street at 7 p.m. Community leaders, advocates and local families will gather with BCFS Health and Human Services to read aloud the names of every domestic violence victim who lost their life at the hands of their abusers this past year. BCFS’ community partners collaborating on the event include the Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office, New Horizon Women’s and Children’s Shelter, Quad Counties Council, the Laughlin Air Force Base Family Advocacy Center, Border Federal Credit Union and Casa De La Cultura.

“It’s a common misconception that physical violence is the only symptom of an abusive environment,” says Delia Ramos, interim director for the BCFS center in Del Rio. “But there are many ways individuals can be victimized, like suffering emotional manipulation and intimidation. No one has a right to abuse someone else. It’s important to recognize these heinous acts for what they are – abuse – and encourage victims to seek help.”

DRDV also promotes violence-free relationships and community awareness through public information, education and advocacy. DRDV’s community outreach involves classroom instruction on healthy relationships, collaboration with law enforcement, and self-defense workshops for teens and young women.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Such abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological. It can include action or threats of action to influence another person, such as sexual assault, stalking or any behavior that frightens, intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates, humiliates, blames or injures someone else. Examples include withholding money from a partner, threatening to hurt pets or children, threatening to kill oneself in the event of a breakup or divorce, or constantly belittling or criticizing an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is not limited by gender, class, race, religion, economic status, age or sexual orientation. Whether a couple is married, living together, divorced or dating, any pattern of behavior used to maintain power and control over a partner is considered domestic abuse.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-779-SAFE (7233) or call BCFS Health and Human Services at 830-768-2755. All help is free and confidential.

For more information about BCFS’ Del Rio Domestic Violence program, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.