Local group helps perpetrators of domestic violence get to root of anger

Group composed mostly of women

SAN ANTONIO – In just the last two weeks, two women have been accused of violent acts against loved ones.

One allegedly stabbed her husband in the arm out of jealousy, the other of allegedly tried to set her house on fire with her baby inside after arguing with her boyfriend.

Patricia Castillo, director of the P.E.A.C.E Initiative, said when men and women commit violent acts, she wonders, “What happened to you? What did you experience as a kid? And, how did that affect you?”

She said the P.E.A.C.E Initiative tries to get the root of that kind of anger.

Castillo said women often react violently because they were raised in that environment, or they don’t know how to resolve arguments peacefully.

She also said 56 percent of the people accused of domestic violence who participate in Project Advance are women.

“A lot of times when women are defending themselves because they’ve been battered for a long time, they’re being arrested,” Castillo said. “It seems like a very huge injustice.”

But, she said when they get their Project Advance certificate after an 18-hour course, it shows the Family Violence Court they’re “working on themselves."

She said they learn not to blame others for their behavior.

Castillo said she’s heard men and women say, “She provoked me. He provoked me. They made me act this way. If I didn’t love you so much, I wouldn’t do this.”

The biggest lesson that Castillo said she hopes they learn is “violence is always their choice.”

“They are the ones that have the final decision,” she said. “They have to decide what it is they want to do.”

About the Author

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

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