San Antonio has one of the highest rates of domestic abuse in the nation, and a local expert says the community has no choice but to do better and report abuse.

Monica Martinez’s murder on Wednesday became the second apparent domestic violence death in 2018 in the Alamo City.

Domestic violence encompasses many types of relationships.

“It could be a parent abusing a child. It could be a child abusing a parent, somebody who doesn't necessarily live under the same roof. It could be your ex-boyfriend,” said Marta Pelaez with the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter.

Joshua Lora, 26, was shot and killed while family members were arguing over bills on Feb. 18. Juan Antonio Ramos has been charged in connection with the murder.

Martinez, 32, was allegedly killed by the man neighbors say was her husband. Christian Martinez was immediately arrested for the crime.

If the current rate of domestic violence murders continues, one for each month, there would be 12 this year. That’s one more than last year, which was already high for the state and national statistics.

Pelaez said a domestic violence crime as horrifying as murder almost always indicates a progressive pattern of abuse.

“When you see that, rest assured it has begun a long time ago and that person who's now dead has gone through hell for a long time,” Pelaez said.

The statistics should be a wake-up call to every community member who needs to learn what domestic violence looks like, how to identify it and how to deal with it.

“You don't have to be disrespected, battered, much less die at the hands of someone that claims to love them,” Pelaez said.

Pelaez said parents should have conversations with their children explaining respect has to be given and expected.

Abuse victims often face the most danger when they try to leave, so it is imperative that they have a safety plan.

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