The San Antonio Battered Women and Children’s Shelter Kicks Off a Holiday Giving Campaign– the Same Way Black Friday and Cyber Monday Kicked-Off the Holiday Shopping Season — But Contributing to this Cause Can Help Save a Life and Help Victims of Domestic Violence in San Antonio
A New Study Shows Bexar County has one of the Highest Numbers of Domestic Violence Homicides in the State of Texas
San Antonio, Texas – December 2, 2015 – The holidays are often thought of as the best time of the year. It is a time for loved ones, celebration, and joy. The holiday season can also be a time of excess. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Shop till you drop and a spending frenzy. The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today joined the San Antonio Battered Women and Children’s Shelter, the San Antonio Police Chief and other local leaders to urge San Antonians to donate a small portion of their holiday spending dollars to help women and children who are not safe in their own homes this holiday season.
A new report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence 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. 132 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2014. 119 women were killed in 2013. 114 women were killed in 2012. 102 women were killed in 2011. Bexar County had 5 domestic violence homicides in this report with 5 murders. In 2013, there were 7 domestic violence murders in San Antonio. Harris County had the highest number of deaths with 23 domestic violence murders, followed by Tarrant and Dallas with 10 domestic violence homicides in each city, followed by El Paso and San Antonio with 5 murders in each city.
One way you can help victims of domestic violence this holiday season, is to attend the Nutcracker Sweets, the fantasy holiday food extravaganza on December 14 in partnership with The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. For $50 for adults and $25 for children, the event will feature 21 of the most celebrated area chefs who will surely please adults and children alike with their feature desserts and scrumptious savory morsels, while the San Antonio Ballet dancers will enchant performing selections of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. To the delight of the children, Santa Claus, Mrs. Santa, and their elves will be busy filling requests, helping children write those important letters to send to the North Pole, and smiling for precious photographs. The items on the silent auction and those featured on the raffle will give everybody an opportunity to finish their holiday shopping while feasting and enjoying friends and family.
“This beautiful tradition helps us raise funds and resources necessary to ensure that children and their mothers that seek our refuge and services can rebuild their lives, restore their hope and the possibility to enjoy each other away from abuse and uncertainty,” said Marta B. Peláez, CEO Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. and The Battered Women and Children’s Shelter.
“While we shine the spotlight on domestic violence during the holiday season, Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. and The Battered Women and Children’s Shelter works year round with individuals and families who have been subjected to violence in their own homes. Our efforts to provide immediate shelter, services and longer-term advocacy are supported by our colleagues in the criminal justice system and in law enforcement. Their support, and the support of the entire community, is critical to prevent and reduce domestic violence,” said Marta B. Peláez, CEO Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. and The Battered Women and Children’s Shelter.
Your contribution to Nutcracker Sweets will enable the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter of Bexar County to provide safety, hope, and possibilities for adult and children victims of domestic violence. To buy tickets go to the www.nutcrackersweetssa.org
“We also want to remember the women who died and pray for their children during the holidays, which is a difficult time of year for the San Antonio families who lost their loved one to domestic violence. Five innocent lives were lost and five families forever changed in senseless domestic violence murders. When a tragic loss like this happens, it reminds all of us, how dangerous domestic violence can be to a family and a community and how much more work there is to be accomplished to ensure victims find help and safety before it’s too late,” 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 spur greater donations to shelters in San Antonio and across the state and evoke deeper and more meaningful discussions about barriers and realities that affect the ability of women to escape danger within their relationships. Domestic violence murders are knowable, identifiable and predictable.“
In San Antonio, Irma Davila was shot and killed by her husband Hector Davila on July 3, 2014 in his home. He also shot and killed their 13- year-old daughter. Davila then killed himself. Irma had recently separated from Davila and filed for a divorce. Davila invited Irma and their daughter to come to his home for dinner, where he then killed both of them. Irma is survived by two adult sons.
Michelle Hensel was murdered by her boyfriend John Regalado in her home on December 28, 2014. He then shot and killed himself. One of Michelle’s daughters was home and called 911. Emergency responders transported Michelle to the hospital, where she died from the injuries six days after the shooting. Michelle is survived by her three daughters, ages 17 to 20 years.
Roxanne Sanchez was shot and killed by her boyfriend Benjamin Poehlman on Christmas Day, December 25, 2014. She was preparing to leave Poehlman at the time of her murder. Law enforcement arrested Poehlman and charged him with murder. Poehlman had a history of abusive behavior towards Roxanne and had two felony possessions of firearms convictions in 2006 and 2009. Roxanne is survived by her four children, ranging in ages from 2 to 12 years old.
Darlene Robinson Vasquez was shot and killed in a vehicle outside of a home on December 7, 2014 by her ex-boyfriend, Christopher Doss. Doss also shot and killed Darlene’s fiancé Genaro Covarrubias, 33, and then shot a family pet. Doss threatened to shoot Darlene’s daughters, ages 8 and 15 years. Authorities identified Doss as the suspect and filed capital murder charges. When law enforcement located Doss in his motel room, Doss reached for his weapon and officers shot and killed him. Prior to her murder, Doss sent threatening text messages to Darlene. Darlene is survived by her daughters and two sons, ages 18 and 20.
Nicole Zito was killed by her boyfriend Shanell Williams on July 12, 2014. Williams later contacted police stating he was suicidal. Authorities then arrested and charged Williams with murder. Williams had a history of abusive behavior towards Nicole. Nicole had moved to Texas to escape the abuse.
Marta B. Peláez, CEO Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc.- The Battered Women and Children’s Shelter, Domestic Violence Survivor Spicee Gray, Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, San Antonio Chief of Police William McManus and Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood and Judge Peter Sakai of the children’s Court joined Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry at a news conference in San Antonio to unveil the annual report titled: “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities.”
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.
County by County Narratives of all the Women Killed in Texas
Some key statistics include:
- 132 women were killed in 59 counties
- The youngest victim was 16 and the oldest victim was 90
- Harris County has the highest number of deaths at 23
- Dallas and Tarrant had the second highest with 10 murders in each county
- El Paso and Bexar had the third highest with 5 murders in each county
- 77% of the women were killed at home
- 67%- The leading cause of death is firearms
- 14% were stabbed
- 7% were strangled
- Leaving Does Not Equal Safety- 43 women had ended the relationship 15 married women were separated from their husbands, 8 women were in the process of leaving
Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence and needs help can call 911 or the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter Hotline, a confidential source at 210-733-881 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
Texas Council on Family Violence is the only 501(c) 3 nonprofit coalition in Texas dedicated solely to creating safer communities and freedom from family violence. With a state-wide reach and direct local impact, TCFV, with the collective strength of more than 1000 members, shapes public policy, equips service providers, and initiates strategic prevention efforts. Visit us online at http://tcfv.org/