October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and shelters, crisis hot-lines, and womens' centers around the country are speaking out on behalf of victim-survivors that are swallowed by silence and shame. Tomorrow my organization is hosting a fundraiser (the said 'gala' that I've mentioned before) to raise money for legal representation of victims for family law litigation and batterers intervention and prevention counseling groups.
The Texas Council on Family Violence just posted the stories of the women, children, and abusers that were killed in 2005 as a result of domestic violence on their webpage. Please go and check it out. Each victim deserves to have their name remembered and their silence broken.
The speaker at the event is Debra Sanchez, who watched her daughter, Leza Marie Maddalone, 31, shot to death in a bank parking lot by her estranged ex-boyfriend, Bruce Glen Milner. TCFV reports that, "According to the Brazoria County police officers, Leza's two children witnessed the shooting." Mrs. Sanchez now has custody of her two grandchildren. Lawyers at my organization helped prosecute and convict Milner for Leza's murder.
But there are many, many other stories.
Like the murder of Irene Torres Belding, 42. Irene and her two children were shot and killed in their home by Irene's husband, John Francis Belding, 42, in an apparent murder-suicide. According to police, Belding shot his family in a bedroom and then killed himself. He left a suicide note saying he was sorry. The couple's children were six and seven.
Martha Lopez, 24, was killed when her husband, Elias Martinez, 29, slit her throat while she slept. According to police, Martiez first claimed that his wife had committed suicide, but later confessed to killing Martha. Police believed Martinez killed Martha because she was going to leave him and file for divorce. The couple's 2 year-old son was in the room and may have witnessed his mother's death.
'Family Violence' is no longer nameless.