The Texas Council on Family Violence released the new report as part of the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The numbers show an increase in the number of women killed by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.
Banker Laura White is also a domestic violence survivor. She said after she told her husband she had filed for divorce, he convinced her to come over to sign the divorce papers. Instead he shot her point-blank.
Domestic violence survivor Laura White
“I didn’t think he was capable of this. I never saw this coming. I mean, I knew he had an edge to him. I knew he had a string of women behind me, but I didn’t really know that he was capable of something like this.”
Her ex-husband is now in prison for a long time. Statistics show victim’s ages ranged from 15 to 84, that 74-percent of the women were killed at home and that 60-percent were shot.
Rebecca White, no relation, is president and CEO of the Houston Area Women’s Center.
October is set aside to increase the awareness of the problem.
“In Harris County, there were 38,500 cases of domestic abuse reported to law enforcement authorities, and we know that it’s an underreported crime. There is some shame associated with it, so we think probably another 60,000 or so victims experienced violence, but did not report it.”
She says victims of domestic abuse need help and shouldn’t suffer in silence, but many times manipulation plays a big part in that silence.
“You won’t be believed and the batterer will make you pay for it. So there is a very real threat. Many times there’s financial dependence, that’s a big barrier. There’s isolation. Many times batterers isolate their victims, and so there is no one to tell. So, that’s why the hotline is so important because the hotline is there 24-7.”
The Harris County DA’s Office aggressively prosecutes domestic violence offenders. Last year over 10,000 cases were filed against domestic violence perpetrators, with punishment ranging from jail time to probation and counseling.
Laura White believes she is a survivor for a reason.
“God’s given me an amazing gift. For me to hide in my house, or not be a functioning part of society and achieve what I can achieve, is to let him win, is to let him control me again. And that’s never gonna happen.”