CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The 1,883 purple ribbons displayed outside the Nueces County District Attorney’s office signify the number of domestic-violence cases the office handled in 2019, and Gonzalez said next year's display will likely have more because of COVID-19.
“We have seen an uptick in domestic violence due to the fact that people are more at home," he said. "Some people are unemployed. You also have children in the house. So, it's complicated in a lot of situations."
Gonzalez started the Domestic Violence Bureau in 2018 to help combat domestic violence. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the task force has not been able to operate.
"That's why it's super important that we let the public know that resources available to them,” Gonzalez said. “I anticipate that next year when we put all the ribbons up, there will be more than 2,000.”
The ribbons are meant to be a visual reminder to the volume of domestic violence in Nueces County during Domestic Violence Awareness Month -- October.
But for all the cases which do get reported, according to Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, there are that don’t, or get reported too late.
"A lot of cases go unreported, and sometimes until the very end where they actually got injured so bad that they're in the hospital,” Gonzalez said.
Sharra Rodriguez, the supervisor of the Nueces County Victim Services, said it’s important for victims of domestic violence to know there are resources that can help them, even during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“First and foremost, they should know they're not alone," she said. "It's not something to be ashamed of."
Rodriguez said the emotional toll of reporting domestic abuse can be difficult. but that it's important for survivors to know they're not alone.
"It can be really hard," she said. "Especially having to face an abuser, it takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of strength. We are still here at the District Attorney's office, making phone calls, making contacts, doing everything we can, even if we meet with them via phone or Zoom, or even in person, as long as it's 6 feet away."
"We’re making sure they're aware that The Purple Door is still open with resources, Corpus Christi Police Department is still open, the County Attorney is still assisting. Everyone is still up and running, it's just in a different type of context due to COVID-19.”
The following resources also are available at the local, state, and national levels:
The Purple Door Hotline: 361-881-888/1-800-580-4878 (HURT)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
-Text LOVEIS to 866-331-9474
Texas Advocacy Project Hotline: 800-374-4673 (HOPE)
Crime Victims-Texas Legal Services center: 844-303-7233 (SAFE)
V.I.N.E.: 877-894-8463 (VINE)
Crime Victim Services: 361-852-7540
Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid: 361-888-0282/361-880-5420
Corpus Christi Family Violence: 361-886-2670