Houston, Texas – October 14, 2013 - The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today released a new report that shows an increase in the number of women killed in domestic violence murders in Texas by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.  114 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2012.  102 women were killed in 2011.  30 women were killed in Harris County, the highest numbers of domestic violence murders of any county in Texas.  There were 38,490 incidents of domestic violence reported in Harris County and an estimated 65,433 incidents went unreported.

Laura White, a domestic violence survivor, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Rebecca White, CEO at the Houston Area Women’s Center and Rania Mankarious of Crime Stoppers, joined Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry at a news conference in Houston to unveil the annual report titled:  “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities.”

“Domestic violence hurts families and the community. At the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, our priority is to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Our goal is to increase the safety of victims and their families and hold the batterer accountable,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson.

The report pays tribute to Texas victims by memorializing their story with a brief account of the crime.  It includes core data and statistics culled from our analysis.  “By the Numbers” is a summary, using charts and graphs to depict statistical information pertaining to fatalities, including some demographics.

“Domestic violence murders are knowable, identifiable and predictable,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities recognizes all Texas family violence victims lost in this tragic crime.  We hope the report will evoke deeper and more meaningful discussions about barriers and realities that affect the ability of women to escape danger within their relationships.“

White, who is lucky to have survived her abuse today delivered a personal message of hope and perseverance.  After years of abuse, White was getting a divorce.  Her husband called her and said to come over and he would sign the divorce papers.  But, instead he pulled out a shotgun and shot her a point blank range.  She says her heart froze when he said he was going to kill her and then kill himself.  He said, “If I can’t have you, then no one can.”

She was shot in the stomach in November of 2009 and given a one percent chance of survival.  She endured more than a dozen surgeries and had to recover from the emotional scars of abuse.  “If it wasn’t for domestic violence shelters in Texas, I would not be here today and I would not have been able to heal from the mental scars of abuse,” said White.

The Houston Area Women’s Center, a domestic violence service provider in Houston, helped her with counseling and support.

“While we put the spotlight on domestic violence during October, the Houston Area Women’s Center works year round with individuals and families who have been subjected to violence in their own homes.  Our efforts to provide immediate shelter and long-term advocacy and support are supported by our colleagues in the judicial system and law enforcement.  The support of the Houston community for our work is a critical component of our mission to prevent and reduce domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Rebecca White, President and CEO of the Houston Area Women’s Center.

The report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence and compiled from data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas law enforcement agencies and media reports list names of the victims and gives brief accounts of their deaths.

Some key statistics include:

  • The victim’s ages ranged from age 15 to 84
  • Harris County had the highest number of deaths at 30
  • 74% of the women were killed at home 
  • 60% were shot 
  • 17% were stabbed 
  • 11% were strangled 
  • 21 women had taken steps to leave 
  • 20 homicides within one to two days of a national holiday 
  • 15 bystanders or witnesses killed 
  • 4 bodies burned 

Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence and needs help can call the Houston Area Women’s Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week 713-528-2121.