LUBBOCK, Texas — October serves as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Women’s Protective Services spoke with on Monday and broke down the signs of a possible abuser and debunked common abuse misconceptions.

Steven Garcia, WPS’s Coordinator of Community Education, told the biggest characteristic of an abuser is control.

“The thing about domestic violence … and relationships is it’s about power and control, it [can be] verbal, physical, sexual, financial, emotional, whatever, the purpose is to try to get power and control over another person,” Garcia said.

Another misconception Garcia touched on was that abusive relationships only occur between heterosexual relationships and men are the aggressors.

“It doesn’t happen a whole lot, but it’s out there. I mean, we know it exists. We’ve seen it, we’ve dealt with it,” Garcia said. “We’ve seen a lot of [abuse], with our elderly and disabled. They get taken advantage of so [badly] by their caretakers who [are] usually a family member.”

Garcia encouraged people to “pay attention to the red flags.” He also said abuse never gets better “it always gets worse.”

“The reason is because the other person, the abuser, wants to gain control or maintain control,” Garcia said.

For the last 45 years, WPS has helped domestic violence survivors in the Hub City. Garcia said it has provided victims with mental health resources, legal assistance and housing.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation please call the WPS hotline at (806) 747- 6491. For more information on WPS and the service they provide click here.