Self-Defense Workshop

Self-Defense Workshop Teaches Del Rio Girls How to Handle a Physical Altercation
Annual workshop hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio

Thirty-two middle and high school girls learned the basics of self-defense at an annual workshop hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio. The workshop was held in observance of February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Photo: Assistant Demonstrates Self Defense Techniqus

Along with instruction in taijutsu martial arts, the young ladies learned how to avoid a dangerous situation, good decision-making skills when in trouble, and how to react in a life-threatening situation. Attendance at the workshop, which was open to girls ages 12-18, doubled from last year.

According to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, one in three girls in the United States is the victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and according to the American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center, violent behavior often begins between the ages of 12 and 18. The self-defense workshop equipped girls with the skills to react quickly to destabilize or disarm an attacker.

The workshop was led by Hector Cruz, Jr., a healthcare professional with teacher certifications in tai chi, gymnastics, the martial arts and yoga. Throughout the workshop, Cruz and his squad of assistants demonstrated different moves that used balance, weight and the body’s pressure points to fend off an attacker. After each demonstration, the girls partnered up to try their newly acquired skills.

“We always want our kids to be safe, but when they’re faced with danger, we want them to be prepared to defend themselves if necessary,” said BCFS-Del Rio Family Violence Specialist Claudia Lopez, who organized the workshop. “Although this workshop was only for middle and high school students, some people from around the community have asked us to host a session for older women. Self-defense really is important for people of all ages.”

BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio operates programs to serve those in need throughout Val Verde County, including free counseling and crisis intervention through the Services to At Risk Youth (STAR) program, and domestic violence treatment and prevention through the Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program.

BCFS-Del Rio’s domestic violence hotline is available around the clock at (830) 768-2755.

For more information about BCFS-Del Rio, or to seek help for an abusive relationship, visit or call (830) 768-2755.

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

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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.