Emotional abuse victims are gaining courage in Cameron County.
They're asking for protective orders against their abusers.
"More often than not it is a request for protective orders based on some type of physical abuse, said Judge David Sanchez of the 444th District Court in Cameron County. But I'll tell you what is also very dangerous, the emotional abuse and what it can lead to."
A protective order puts certain restrictions on an abuser.
Judge David Sanchez grants or denies protective orders.
He told Action 4 News he's seen an increase in applications from emotional abuse victims.
"Those are some of the toughest cases, said Sanchez.
At first a skeptic, Sanchez said last year he learned the danger emotional abuse poses.
"That case really taught me that I need to be extra careful, said Sanchez.
A woman applied for a protective order.
She told Sanchez she was not being physically abused.
"But she was really scared of him and thought, ~He's going to do something to me, TM said Sanchez.
Her abuser did do something to her.
"Her husband was outside waiting in the parking lot, followed her from here to I think Sam's Club or some store, said Sanchez. As soon as she got out of her car, he accosted her, threw her into his truck and drove off."
Police rescued the woman following a chase.
Sanchez said he hopes other emotional abuse victims will arm themselves with a protective order.
He warns against taking advantage.
"Unfortunately people use the service that's available to the community to try to help maybe a custody battle or a divorce, said Sanchez.
Sanchez said a protective order's purpose is to keep someone safe from physical abuse.
He said it can also protect someone from the danger emotional abuse can bring.
To find out more about getting a protective order, visit the Texas Attorney General TMs web site.