Vasquez video an opportunity to increase awareness of domestic violence
HOUSTON (Fox 26) - A disturbing surveillance video showing former Houston Astros minor league player Danry Vasquez assaulting his then-girlfriend can help increase awareness about domestic violence, according to two Houston-area organizations who work with victims of abuse.
The video from August 2016 shows Vasquez beating the woman in a stairwell at Whataburger Stadium in Corpus Christi. Vasquez was arrested and charged with assault following the incident.
"The individual committing the offense or the abuse, appeared to be calm, collected," said Sherri Kendall, referring to Vasquez.
Kendall, chief executive officer with AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse) in Houston says that’s not uncommon to see with the abusers AVDA works with in its Battering Intervention and Prevention Program.
"[The abusers] don’t see themselves as them having a problem and they’re also not out of control, in fact, they’re trying to gain control through that abuse," added Kendall. She also said that’s why viewing the video may not help the abuser realize she or he has a problem. Instead, it’s how those around the abuser react to it and she hopes team owners, athletes and other men will continue to speak up and out against domestic violence.
"When we're silent about domestic violence, it really condones the behavior and allows it to continue," concluded Kendall.
For Aly Jacobs, manager of counseling and advocacy with the Houston Area Women's Center, she noticed how Vasquez picks up the victim's purse and glasses after hitting her.
"I think that really speaks to the confusion that a survivor experiences," explained Jacobs. "[She thinks] he's doing these things but he is also doing these nice things. It sends a really confusing message."
Jacobs added that for survivors of abuse, viewing the video can cause them to relive their own pain or realize that they’re not alone and seek help. She said her organization does see an increase in calls when domestic violence in the spotlight.
"Any instance in which you have kind of all this media attention, it would be a disservice not to let survivors know that they not alone in this, that support is available, that they're not to blame," concluded Jacobs.
The Houston Area Women’s Center domestic violence phone hotline at 713-528-2121 operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All services are free and confidential.
To learn more about the AVDA Battering Intervention and Prevention Program, visit https://avda-tx.org/battering-intervention/ or call 713-224-9911.