One by one, members of City Council looked at the camera. One by one, they spelled out what a healthy relationship is – and what is not.
“If she says you’re worthless,” Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia (D4) said.
“If he hurts your children,” Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) said.
“If he hits you. If he makes you feel small,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
“That’s not love.”
City officials launched a new “Love Is” public awareness campaign about domestic violence at a Tuesday news conference. It featured the public service announcement with members of City Council explaining what love is and what love is not.
“Sometimes abusive behaviors are rationalized by the abuser as showing love,” Nirenberg said. “Love is compassionate. Love is respectful. There is help and we urge you to get it.”
The campaign aims to educate the San Antonio community about abusive behaviors and relationships, as well as how to find resources to combat abuse or leave a bad relationship. People with concerns or questions on what resources are available can call 211, or 911 in an emergency.
“This PSA is setting the ground-level cultural expectations about what love is, moving to what love is not, moving to what resources are available to you in the community,” Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger said. “This is a campaign that will be building through the year and will have multiple iterations as we stress that violence is not love.”
Chief William McManus said the San Antonio Police Department is working to improve its response to domestic violence and has added supervisors who focus solely on those cases.
“I’m happy to be here,” McManus said. “And don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m really not happy to be here, too. That’s because the reason that we’re here [is that] despite all our collective efforts to reduce and eliminate domestic violence, we have not done so yet. We still struggle with high numbers of injury, death, and the collateral damage that is caused by it.”
Bridger said the recently created Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence will present its five-year comprehensive plan at the end of October. Judge Monique Diaz of the 150th District Court, Bridger’s co-chair on the commission, said the new public service announcement is a good way to implement the educational goals of the commission.
“This campaign is one means through which we hope we’ll be able to reach people to teach them about healthy relationships,” Diaz said.
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has been focused primarily on domestic violence prevention in addition to policy, Bridger said.
“What we really want to do is stop it from happening in the first place,” she said.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the City will continue its awareness efforts at the McNay Museum’s Second Thursday event on Oct. 10. Community members are invited to attend and add their voices to future public service announcements that will be aired on television and social media.