Oct. 3, 2106 ROUND ROCK, TEXAS — The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today reported that the number of women killed as a result of domestic violence rose more in 2015 than in any other year since the group started compiling statistics 25 years ago. In 2015, 157 women were killed in cases of domestic violence, compared to 132 in 2014 and 119 in 2013.
Why? Because there are too few shelters, so women are turned away. “We firmly believe these are knowable, predictable, preventable homicides,” said Gloria Terry, the CEO of TCFV who announced the statistics in a press conference this morning in Williamson County. She said that statewide, 39 percent of women and families seeking shelter are turned away because there’s no room. In Williamson County, the rate is even higher at 45 percent.
Terry was joined by Hope Alliance, which operates the county’s sole family and sexual emergency center and is supported by Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and his wife Ruth. The group is trying to raise money for a desperately needed new shelter. “When women are in the most danger and we have no room, there can be devastating consequences,” said Patty Conner, CEO of Hope Alliance in Williamson County, which is among TRLA’s partner shelters.
Suzanne Bertran, who survived 10 years of domestic abuse from her husband, told media at the press conference that her husband became more and more abusive over the years. On the day she fled, “I thought today is the day he’s going to kill me.” She closed her statement by saying that Hope Alliance had helped save her life.
Terry broke down the stats: Sixty-one percent of the women murdered were killed by firearms. The youngest woman was 16, the oldest 93. “Thirty-seven percent (of the women) had taken steps and had ended the relationship,” Terry said.
In total, 20 percent of Texas women and 5 percent of Texas men have been the victims of sexual assault, and a high 74 percent of all Texans have experienced some form of domestic violence. “It takes so much courage for women to leave these horrible situations, so it’s on us to make sure they a safe place to go.” said Maricarmen Garza, an attorney for TRLA.