A Woman Assaulted on Valentine’s Day 5 Years Ago Today Speaks Out About Her Assault and How Services Saved Her Life- Other Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Also Speak Out at Capitol Rally

Austin, Texas Feb. 14, 2011 The Texas Council on Family Violence and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and hundreds of victims’ rights advocates from across the state of Texas are rallying at the Texas Capitol to strongly support full funding for family violence programs and rape crisis centers across Texas. Last year, Texas’s 80 rape crisis centers provided free and confidential services to over 21,000 survivors and nearly 80,000 women, children and men found safe sanctuary from violence at domestic violence shelters in 2009.

Hundreds of volunteers from every corner of the state traveled to the Capitol to remember the 111 women who died in domestic violence deaths in 2009, advocate for the more than 100,000 Texans who accessed services last year and remind legislators about the importance of fully funding critical programs for those who have been abused and raped.

Leandra Krueger, a woman who was sexually assaulted by her doctor, five years ago today on Valentine’s Day told the rally, “We must support funding for victims’ of crime. My doctor sexually assaulted me when he put me under heavy sedation during an office visit to have stitches removed. Instead of hiding in some dark alley, he hid in the sanctity of his white coat and boldly assaulted me in a sterile examining room,” she said. “Services that help you recover from a sexual assault are critical to helping you heal.”

“We are here speaking out to help keep Texans safe,” said Gloria A. Terry, President of the Texas Council on Family Violence. “These services are absolutely critical for the safety of women and children. Consider that on one day in 2009, Texas family violence programs served over 5,000 victims,” said Terry.

“Funding at rape crisis centers across the state must be kept level to assure victims of sexual assault are safe,” said Annette Burrhus-Clay, TAASA Executive Director. “Texas rape crisis centers provide a 24 hour a day life line to rape survivors on a very small budget,” said Burrhus-Clay.

Nicole Salomon, a central Texas woman who was stalked, raped and beaten says the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center and the services it provided to her was a life line to her in the years following her rape.

Salomon agreed to speak out and tell her story at the rally to help other victims and to show how important funding is to assist victims of crime. ”I want something good to come out of this,” said Salomon. “If we speak out as victims, as women, against sexual violence and domestic violence, if we stop trying to hide it, maybe people will listen to us. Maybe rapists will be put behind bars. If I can save one woman, I will feel like what happened was for a purpose.”

After Salomon filed for divorce from her husband, he reported her cell phone stolen and got the GPS location on the cell phone so he could stalk her. He broke into her house, sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her. On another occasion, he said he was coming over to play with the kids. He hid rolls of duck tape around the bedroom, along with a rope and razor blades. He choked her and tried to duck tape her hands and mouth, while their 3 year old was watching through the door. She escaped the second attempted rape and pressed charges. Salomon did not press charges on the first rape, but her husband was convicted of attempted sexual assault and attempted aggravated kidnapping with an admittance of family violence for the second attempted rape.

Mary Kay Inc. and members of the Mary Kay independent sales force are also partnering with TCFV and TAASA to raise awareness among Texas lawmakers about funding needs surrounding family violence and sexual assault services.

Mary Kay is joining the rally by painting Austin Pink on Valentine’s Day to share the message that love should not hurt and that Texas families need the commitment of lawmakers for funding these critical programs.

“Educating legislators is an important part of Mary Kay’s commitment to ending domestic violence,” said Mary Kay Vice President of Government Relations Anne Crews. ”When budgets are tight, it’s imperative that the critical need for services be continuously brought to light for lawmakers.”

Sexual Violence in Texas

  • An estimated one in 5 women and one in 20 men in Texas have been sexually assaulted.
  • About 80 percent of female victims and 90 percent of all child victims are assaulted by someone they know.  Most often this is a relative or another person with whom they are acquainted.
  • Approximately 60 percent of sexual assaults occur in the victim or perpetrator’s home.
  • Fewer than 20 percent of sexual assaults are reported to the authorities and less than 10 percent of sexual assault victims seek medical care after the assault in Texas because of shame, fear, hurt or anger.[i]

Domestic Violence in Texas

The Numbers Taken During a One-Day Nationwide Survey in 2010

On September 15, 2010, 87 out of 105, or 83%, of identified domestic violence programs in Texas participated in the 2010 National Census of Domestic Violence Services. The following figures represent the information provided by 87 participating programs about services provided during the 24-hour survey period.

6061 Victims Served in One Day

  • 3758 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local domestic violence programs
  • 2303 adults and children received non-residential assistance and services, including individual counseling, legal advocacy, and children’s support groups

Percentage of victims served in shelter, transitional housing, and non-residential services on the Survey Day.

Victims Served Percentage
Emergency Shelter 40%
Non-Residential Services 38%
Transitional Housing 22%

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The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV), formed in 1978, is one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in the nation. TCFV promotes safe and healthy relationships by supporting service providers, facilitating strategic prevention efforts, and creating opportunities for freedom from domestic violence. www.tcfv.org


The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) is the statewide organization committed to ending sexual violence in Texas. A non-profit educational and advocacy organization based in Austin, TAASA member agencies comprise a statewide network of more than 80 crisis centers that serve rural as well as metropolitan areas. Founded in 1982, the agency has a strong record of success in community education, legal services, youth outreach, law enforcement training, legislative advocacy, and curricula and materials development. Additional information about TAASA can be found at www.taasa.org

For Immediate Release

MEDIA CONTACTS:

SUSAN RISDON, 214.226.6741, susan@redmediagroup.com

NICHOLE TIPS, 512.709.8149, ntips@taasa.org