TYLER, Texas (KETK) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month but it’s never too early to start helping victims.

Domestic violence affects people across all of Texas and according to Esperanza United, 37.5 percent of women living in border towns have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.

In Hidalgo County there were almost 9,400 cases reported last year. Jacklyn Medrano, community education director for the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen, said that abuse can happen from seven to twelve times before a victim reaches out for help.

“One of the largest reasons that victims stay in abusive relationships is the fear. So behind closed doors, we never know what’s been said, what’s been done, a lot of it could be threats, either to the victim, could be threats to their family,” Medrano said.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone and there are resources available to help you.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and you can call 800-799-7233 to speak with a professional right now.

The hotline also hosts a directory of assistance providers where you can find local shelters or crisis centers in your area like the East Texas Crisis Center or the Women’s Center of East Texas.