domestic violence: breaking the silence with women called moses

According to the Department of Justice, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence.  To better comprehend this statistic and undiscriminating problem, and to learn how to help prevent it, we sat down with Debra Nixon-Bowles, founder and president of Women Called Moses. When first setting eyes on Nixon-Bowles, it is evident that she does more than just sit at a desk and go to luncheons to raise awareness.  This presence to be reckoned with is on the frontlines, trying to single-handedly put an end to this rising epidemic, one woman at a time.

At times emotional, Nixon-Bowles elaborates on her own experiences as a survivor of domestic violence, while giving a voice to these battered women.  From her first-hand accounts, the complexity of this issue begins to unravel, it is a problem that festers over time and eventually, involves everyone who comes in contact with it.  Often compared to her hero Harriet Tubman, Nixon-Bowles found a way to create her own rescue network, bringing women from imprisonment to a position of hope.  But, we learned that leaving the situation is the hardest thing for a victim to do and only the first step in breaking the emotional and physical restraints established by their abusers.  On average, it takes about one year for these victims to reach a place of stability, and there is plenty more involved with moving forward.

And if anyone knows this, it’s Nixon-Bowles.  After freeing herself, she vowed never to allow another woman to go through what she did, and that meant tackling this problem from every possible angle.  In 2004, Women Called Moses was born and her life’s mission would finally come to fruition.  Over its nine years in existence, Women Called Moses has helped bring more than 1,100 women to freedom.  The mission is to help women of all races and social and economic backgrounds in the Dallas area, to leave their abusive circumstances and get to a safe place where they can start to rebuild their lives, through continued support and counseling.  But, this is just one layer to peel back over the many years of abuse.  Nixon-Bowles realized that targeting the abuser was just as crucial as helping the victim recover.

Check out the rest MB’s interview with Debra Nixon-Bowles.


MB. What are some of the misconceptions about domestic violence?

DNB.  The first misconception is that women go back because they want to, but they go back due to a lack of resources.  And another misconception is that there isn’t as much domestic abuse as reported, but in fact there’s more.  Many instances are left unreported and you only hear about the high profile cases.  Domestic violence happens everywhere everyday.

MB. How can we bring awareness and help stop the cycle of abuse?

DNB.  We need to work together to address the needs of these victims, and this means building more shelters.  Also, we need more people in powerful positions to take a stand against domestic violence.  There needs to be a movement.

MB. What can women do to protect themselves from potentially abusive partners? Are there early warnings signs that they can watch out for?

DNB.  Abuse isn’t just physical.  It can be financial and emotional as well.  Be leery of someone who wants to control you by taking over your finances, alienating you from your friends and family, and demeans you by calling you names.  Really pay attention to that, because mental abuse can be more damaging than physical abuse.  And most importantly, if you grew up in an abusive household then you may be at risk to suffer abuse as an adult.

MB. Once a woman finds herself in an abusive relationship, what are some of the biggest challenges she’ll encounter when trying to leave?

DNB. There aren’t enough resources out there and not enough safe places to stay.  A lot of shelters are at capacity.  At this point in the situation, the woman is broken emotionally and physically and needs time to get back on her feet.  We need more money to build more shelters, in order to give her that time.  But it is hard to get funding because people neither want to hear nor talk about domestic violence.  It’s swept under the rug. It’s important that we give these women a voice.

MB. Is the most volatile time when a woman is ready to leave?

DNB.  Yes, and she’s at the highest risk of getting murdered and becoming another statistic, especially, if she files for a restraining order.  And their biggest fear is that no one can protect them.  They’re fearful either way, whether they stay or they go.   They often say, “I can’t leave him, because he’ll kill me.”  But, if she stays, he’ll more than likely kill her anyway.

MB. Once she leaves, what happens next?

DNB.  After she leaves, the police are called and the abuser is arrested.  She will then file a restraining order and be placed in a safe house, where we will check in regularly to ensure that he doesn’t contact her.  Distance is very important.  And the next step is what I call detox.  In my experience, it takes a woman about one year to get back on track, and she can begin feeling better about herself and possibly get a job.  But it’s still difficult, because it’s hard to find a job when you’re always looking over your shoulder.

MB.  How often are restraining orders unsuccessful?

DNB. Sadly, it happens all the time. Just this past month, four women were killed in Desoto.  The abuser performed with the Dallas Mavericks Maniaacs (the all-male dance team).  He killed his ex-girlfriend and her daughter and then, drove to his estranged wife’s house and killed her and her daughter with a grenade.  In 2011, she left him and filed for a restraining order, but the system still failed her.

MB.  Have you ever feared for your life doing this work?

DNB.  Twice.  Once, I picked up a victim and the abuser was in the house with a weapon.  Luckily, the police arrived at the same time.  Another time, I picked up a woman and the abuser had poured boiling water on her little boy and had broken his legs.  The abuser was still in the house and before we made a run for it, we said a little prayer.  The little boy pointed and said, “Look, the angels are watching us.”  Then, we grabbed him and ran. I told the victim to run and not look back.  When we all got inside of my car, the abuser called the victim and said, “I see you guys.”  There’s nothing worse than seeing children involved in the abuse and their fear.  It just breaks your heart.

MB.  Take us through the steps once these women are put in a safe house.

DNB. When a woman comes to Women Called Moses for help, we take her to a hotel for seven days to get her to a safe place to regroup. We partner with licensed counselors who give on-site treatment.  On the eighth day of their stay, we have a conversation about the next steps. Depending on the circumstances, we either set her up in a safe house, apartment, or an extended stay hotel for thirty days.  She could stay in a safe house anywhere from one month to a year.

MB.  We know that funds are needed to keep these women from going back, but what exactly are they used for and how much does it cost per day to keep these women safe?

DNB. The funds are used to keep them in these safe houses, while we figure out their next steps. We have partnerships with some extended stay hotels, and for $300 per week we can place one victim and two children in a room.  Other than the room, we need to supply them with food and transportation.

MB.  What are some ways that men prone to violence can help stop the cycle of abuse?

DNB. Abuse is a learned behavior.  Men can help stop the cycle of abuse by going to counseling to deal with their anger. But, the problem is that men don’t like to talk and they don’t like talking to counselors. They don’t trust them and they see talking to someone as being weak and losing control.  That’s why we encourage churches and companies to talk about domestic violence.  It has been noted that men respond better to their bosses and pastors.  We all need to work together to get to the root of this problem.

MB. October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, how can people help you and the cause?

DNB. Give these women a voice. Be a part of the movement to stop domestic violence.  And please donate money to more shelters.  If they have a safe place to go, they have a chance.  My goal is to open a temporary safe house, so that when the shelters are at capacity, these women aren’t turned away and forced to go back to their abusers.

In support of October being Domestic Violence Awareness month, Model Behaviors has chosen Women Called Moses to be the recipient of 40 percent of the proceeds earned from our Commerce & Kindness consignment store for the next six months.  It is our sincere hope to help shed a light on this problem and give a helping hand to an extraordinary woman driven by this extraordinary cause.

You can help Women Called Moses and learn more about Domestic Violence, by taking a stand and saying No More.

If you need immediate help, call:

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

National Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474

Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-4673


63 thoughts on “domestic violence: breaking the silence with women called moses

  1. Ms. DNB you are amazing… Your words are so true…You helped change my life as well as my kids future. I love you, what you do, and what believe in. I’m inspired.

  2. Debra is a woman of God who is called to this ministry of rescue and restoration.
    Because of her dedication to this cause, our church supports the mission and
    mandate of Women Called Moses through education, finances and prayer! We need
    others in the faith community to join Debra and the hundreds of women and children
    she cares for.

  3. Debra (Dee) is an amazing woman of God. That is why people call her Moses. She has a heart for the people that has a heart that is broken. She is not just talk…she is action. I pray that she continues on this walk of righteousness. Her living and her labor will not be in vain. In Jesus Name I Pray…Amen!

  4. Wonderful article. Debra, the information provided is inspiring, it’s empowering, it’s strengthening. I know WCM will achieve the support needed raising awareness against domestic violence, bullying, teen dating violence & dysfunctional households with the circulation of this article especially in the Dallas communities , and hopefully throughout the State of Texas. God bless your endeavors, ” Make it do, what it needs to do”

  5. Debra you’re a force to be reckoned with. Since meeting DeeBowls back in. 2000…she’s consistently poured into the lives of soooo Many women who Stop Believing in themselves because of Domestic Violence or the Challenges we’ women are faced with for one reason or another on a daily basis. I myself hit a personal “Rock Bottom” separated/divorced after 17yr marriage and the sudden death of my mother in the same month (Nov 2012), Debra was RIGHT, there. I’m not one who easily pours my heart out when I’m feeling down, alone or overwhelmed however, Since meeting Debra in early 2000, she ironically surfaces when I’ve been my lowest points…via a call, text or email with those infamous words “Hey D, what’s up w/you, you? You Were in my spirit while I was in my prayer closet…let’s pray”. At times its frightening and honestly I sometime don’t answer her call because I know I’ve been out of order…its not that I’m running, I pull it together and call her back usually w/in an hour or so…I know she’s my appointed Anointed Angel and for that reason alone I have the utmost respect and admiration for the call God has placed on her life! I always tell her, “I don’t bother you with petty, I save DeeBowls for the BIG stuff. Debra ‘Nixon Bowles is the REAL Deal!!! Love ya Girly!

  6. Wow! Debra is a mighty women of God. Her faith, bravery and determination is changing lives. “A Woman called Moses indeed! Although Women Called Moses may be the name of her organization , this embodies exactly what she is doing. She is not only changing lives but saving them. I am so happy that Model Behaviors has chosen to be a part of the railroad to assist Debra to help free women and children’s offering From Domestic Violence. May God continue to bless you Debra and use to bring awareness inspire others.

  7. I think we all know someone who have experienced domestic abuse or perhaps have been a victim . Debra Nixon-Bowles has an organization called “Women Called Moses”. She and her staff work tirelessly to assist women and their children to get help from domestic abuse situations.
    Dallas has 2 domestic abuse shelters in the city of Dallas, both are filled to capacity.
    We have got to help increase the number of safe places for women who need that refuge. Its often times the difference between life and death.
    Someone has got to do something to help this cause…………….that someone is YOU/ME.
    Make a donation today. Make a difference.
    Best Regards,
    Shelia Perkins

  8. Domestic and family violence takes many forms. It involves violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour carried out by a partner, carer or family member to control, dominate or instil fear. It doesn’t have to be physical abuse. It can be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or other types of abuse. Debra’s article gives good and informative incite.

  9. Debra has been my friend, confidant and prayer partner since 1999. And, almost 15 years later, she continues to be a force for good in my life as well as the other lives she so powerfully touches. You cannot be in her presence without knowing the passion she evokes about domestic violence. As a survivor, it is her greatest desire to bring awareness to this issue and to take those who are victims to the other side where she humbly and valiantly stands, as a survivor. If you are a victim of domestic violence and you need help, contact her. And, if you are one who wants to join Debra in taking a stand against domestic violence, please contribute whatever you can to her organization, Women Called Moses. Every single dollar makes a difference.

  10. Thank you Model Behavior for placing the spotlight on Debra Nixon-Bowles and her organization “Women Called Moses”. Debra is a true angel of God and if it was not for Debra, there would be so many more women who would be a statistic at this very moment! Debra is a force to be reckoned with and is fearless in the face of danger because she has given herself to God and her cause! Every day I pray for the women and children who are living in an abusive and violent environment and every day I pray for a miracle that would touch the “Women Called Moses” organization. This miracle has to come from our community, our community leaders and our business leaders and sports leaders to take a stand and truly commit to helping this organization so it can help the victims where it is needed most! Every dollar helps and is very much appreciated but “Women Called Moses” needs funding in order to be able to survive and Debra needs larger donations to keep the organization going. Please this could be your mother, your daughter, your sister, your brother, aunt, uncle friend etc… Please spread the word!! Debra cannot do it alone, she needs our help and support especially from our business community!!! Please help stop the violence. Debra may God keep you safe and God bless you lady…

  11. The work that Debra is doing with Women Called Moses is absolutely amazing! There is not a more passionate advocate against domestic violence in Dallas. Many people would have given up by now in trying to help the countless numbers of women that need rescuing from abuse, but not Debra! I admire her so much because her passion is contagious and she tells the truth about how society turns a blind eye to domestic violence. However, Debra is a constant voice, and thanks to her continuing to speak out about domestic violence, acts of violence against women is not being ignored.

    This article highlights many great points but especially the need for more safe houses and temporary shelters. Women Called Moses is the voice and is just in need of the financial support to open a temporary shelter and continue the mission! I believe that it takes a village and my house proudly supports Women Called Moses! I hope yours will too!

  12. Very good article. This article accurately describes domestic violence and how Women Called Moses is working to assist victims here in Dallas and throughout North Texas. Debra Nixon Bowles is a very powerful advocate for victims. She needs our help so lets all support the Commerce and Kindness Consignment store so that in turn we can help Women Called Moses. Debra is doing GOD’s work as she uplifts women and children.

  13. Debra,
    You are certainly a Moses for the masses of abused women in this area. You realize that abuse adversely affects a woman’s body, mind and soul. God never intended for anyone to be abused. Awareness is a start but understanding the signs of an abuser and not developing a relationship early in the acquaintance may circumvent tragedy, using your gut feeling when it seems that something is wrong when you first meet someone, educating our youth about the attitudes and actions of possible abusers, having an exit plan and someone to confide in and having a true friend with escape options like Debra may save victims lives. Debra, I pray for you. Fighting any injustice is risky for the advocate. That’s why I have prayed for your safety and those who assist you. That-A-Girl & Friends Speakers Agency can assist you with training and negotiating skills for the victim, crisis management, self-image enhancement, survival skills and personal protection management and much more to help you do your job more successfully. We want to help you any way we can including our donations to your cause. Call me so we can discuss the options. You know my telephone number.
    Love and respect you for the good you are doing in the world.
    Mama T

  14. Very good article. It is sad to know that women are going through such horrible situations that they would have to leave their place of comfort , live in so much pain from day to day or be made to feel worthless and unappreciated by mean, insecure , ruthless people. God bless you for allowing God to use you.

  15. Thank you Debra for breaking the silence. Women suffering from domestic violence need your voice and the voices of so many more of us. DFWCITIWomen supports your efforts to bring awareness, provide resources, empower victims and to STOP the violence.

  16. I have known Debra Bowles for about 12 years and have admired her commitment to “Women Called Moses”. Her passion and life purpose to change lives, bring hope and lead the way for those that are confronted with domestic violence. When I think about the power of one and other women that have made significant changes in the lives of other like Harriet Tubman and Mother Teresa whose sacrifices were great, I also think about Debra Bowles.
    Debra marches to the same drum beat leading as a majorette of justice for all that are broken and abused. I so admire her commitment, loyalty, bravery and unselfish sacrifices. So as I write this comment, I ask of myself what I can do, what can we all do more of as women banning together for making a change and breaking the silence of domestic violence. We can start by taking more actions than just reading and saying we did not realize how rampant domestic violence is; to joining “Women Called Moses” in activities that create more possibilities to serve. Thank you seems so little to say to one that does so much, may God continue to bless and protect you.

  17. DEBRA you are awesome…I really admire you and all that you do for me and these other women..experiencing and leaving dv situations…. I appreciate you…YOU are a phenominal woman….I admire your strength and your drive to help us women who are weathering a storm…I wanna thank you for being with me during this journey im on….you are an excellent support system..and thank you for your voice of breaking the silience….they do need more safe houses for women….there’s not enough….and it makes women like myself wanna go back to my abuser/their abuser..because its soo bad out here with the resources…and lack of support…. Thank you for being you..and may continue blessing you…..

  18. This is well written article and very informative. Thank you MB for shedding some light on such an important issue. Thank you Debra for all of your hard work and dedication. You are not just speaking about it, but you have put actions behind your words. I pray that God will send you who and what you need to grow your organization so that millions of women can be saved.

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