One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, the Centers for Disease Control say.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is just around the corner, and we want to remind all women help is available in Houston.
Every nine seconds, a woman in the US is assaulted or beaten. Thousands of victims will escape and recover, but there are some who don't make it out of an abusive relationship alive. Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
Thursday morning, former Houston Rockets player Jordan Hill, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, pleaded no contest to assault of a family member in a Harris County courtroom. Prosecutors accused Hill of choking his girlfriend in Houston earlier in 2012. In Texas, a family member can be someone you are dating or have dated. Hill must pay a $500 fine, undergo domestic violence counseling, and make a $100 donation to a violence fund.
That same week, Edgar Zavala, 45, was charged with murder in the beating death of April Boggs, 42. Boggs' body was found in the Heights on July 29. She was dead on her kitchen floor after neighbors reported a bad smell coming from her home. Houston Police say Zavala beat her to death with a baseball bat. She may also have been sexually assaulted. Police are looking for Zavala. If you have any info, call HPD or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.
In some domestic violence cases, the outcome is positive. In others, the result can be fatal. That's something the Houston Area Women's Center is trying to change.
"The most dangerous times for survivors of domestic violence is the moment they decide to leave," HAWC's Celinda Guerra said. "We basically identify it's during that time the abuser can threaten her and say, ‘If you leave, I will kill myself; if you leave, I will kill you'."
Every year, HAWC serves thousands of domestic violence survivors. They shelter women and children and answer calls regarding domestic violence. Guerra manages their 24-hour hotline.
"They can call our hotline to be able to help plan a safety plan when they decide to leave so they'll have all the info to do it safely," Guerra said.
This year, they've seen an increase in the number of calls they've received.
"Some of those situations could be because there is more awareness in our community," Guerra said. "Awareness tells people what domestic violence means, what resources are available, and people are reaching out for help."
They also see a spike in calls during the summer when kids are out of school and education doesn't have to be interrupted.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, find a safe place and make the call: 713-528-2121.