Gainesville Daily Register

February 28, 2013

Abigail's Arms supporters 'Walk on the Capitol'

By CATHY MOUNCE, Register Staff Writer

Austin —  Hundreds of victim’s right advocates gathered at the  Texas state Capitol building recently to support full funding for family violence programs.

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) and the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFB) partnered to host   “Capitol Day” to let Texas policy makers know how important it is to continue to fund service organizations assisting the victims of  sexual assault and family violence.

TAASA Executive Director Annette Burrhus-Clay and TCFV President Gloria Aguilera Terry met the crowd gathered on the front steps of the Capitol with welcoming remarks.

 “We are humbled by the sight of so many who are champions for our most vulnerable populations-those who have experienced sexual assault and family violence; those who seek care and respite; those who seek assistance to take the first critical steps towards the transformation from victim to survivor,” Terry told the group. “This strong show of solidarity is a powerful sight on the steps and halls of the Capitol.”

Muenster Mary Kay consultant, Jan Cain, and several area residents including Abigail’s Arms Executive Director Kim Cook, Rene Trimble, Dee Hayden Beasley and Brenda Kitchen participated in the “Walk on the Capitol.”

According to the Texas Council on Family Violence the 2012 Victims list indicates 102 Texas women were killed by husband, ex-husbands, intimate partners, boyfriends or ex-boyfriends. Twenty-six of the victim’s family, friends, and co-workers were killed during the same incident. In 2012, Family violence services answered 191,301 hotline calls.

An estimated one in 5 women and one in 20 men in Texas have been sexually assaulted.

Fewer than 20 percent of sexual assaults are reported to the authorities.

Last year, the 78 rape crisis centers in Texas provided free and confidential services to 19,083 survivors.

In 2004 the Texas Legislature appropriated $10,264,496 in rape crises programs.  The funding level has not changed since 2004 despite the growing presence and long term negative effects of sexual violence.

Officials with Dallas-based Mary Kay Cosmetics say the long-time company is an avid supporter for victim’s rights providing funding to support domestic violence programs and initiatives.

On Capitol Day, volunteers, concerned citizens along with the cosmetics  consultants walked the halls of the capitol building to lobby and educate lawmakers about prevention programs and the need for full funding.

The Walk on the Capital is one of many Abigail’s Arms initiatives this year. The agency is also preparing for the completion of its new facility. The Abigail’s Arms Family Crisis Shelter will be the first domestic violence shelter in Cooke County.