Helping Women Leave Abusive Relationships

Last year more than 100 women in Texas were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. Today in downtown Houston a summit was held to bring together various agencies and support groups to talk about domestic violence and how they can better serve the victims. Bill Stamps has reports.
Rina Shaffer was in an abusive relationship for three years. She says her fiancée had her convinced that she could do nothing without him.

"There were financial fears. There was fears of being alone and mostly I was convinced that what this person had been telling me, I started to believe."

It was the fear that kept Rina from leaving the relationship the abuse grew worse and worse and finally the fear of dying caused Rina to seek help.

"There were actually two separate incidents that I was held at knifepoint. I’m just grateful to have made it out of that situation."

As bad as it was, Rina may be one of the lucky ones. Last year 29 women in Harris County were killed in domestic violence cases. 111 women were killed in the state of Texas. Gloria Terry is President of the Texas Council on Family Violence, which held a domestic violence summit in downtown Houston. She says the community must find a way to help women before it's too late.

"We’ve made progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do. If 80,000 women are having to seek refuge and that we’re losing over a hundred women in Texas at the hands of someone who is supposed to be taking care of them."

Deborah Mosely is the director of Bridge Over Troubled Water, support service for domestic violence victims.

"How powerful I felt sitting in this room, yesterday, last night and today with all these people who can make decisions on how to save lives in our communities. It’s not just about Pasadena and Harris County, it’s about the state of Texas and the world. It’s about saving lives."

The women who attended the summit say getting domestic violence victims to get out of the abusive relationship before it’s too late isn’t easy, but it’s a goal they’ll continue to work towards.