Wednesday, October 11, 2006


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.


jenna said...

first off - thanks for the explanation about the beta thing. yeah, it's annoying how it keeps asking me if i'm sure i want to move to a nonsecure page every time i click around on your blog. but your links are back, so that's cool! now if you just tell me why the F my side bar isn't on the side anymore and is waaaaay down the page on mine. maybe i should switch to beta??

second - you just reminded me why i am going to law school. seriously, thank you.

third - how do i contribute to your gala? can i find info on the web to donate?

msatch said...

I came across your blog today and I wasn't aware that it was domestic violence month, but it hit home for me because my sister was/is a victim of domestic violence. Her husband (soon to be ex) was very physically abusive. She would run to me whenever they had a fight. She'd have black eyes, cigarette burns on her arms, bite marks everywhere. He would slash her tires so that she couldn't leave. He broke her cell phone so that she wouldn't be able to call anyone. He destroyed all the things that she loved. And she was/is pregnant. He was arrested a while back and got out of being sentenced by convincing her to marry him. She didn't press charges. They had another fight and she finally had enough and moved in with my parents. I'm sure it's hard being the one in the situation, but I find it equally as hard to watch my sister get beat up and then continue to return to this man over and over. I'm scared that his next step is to kill her and their unborn child. It's something that not many people understand and don't realize is happening in their own backyards, but I know first hand how it feels to feel the pain of a family member suffering at the hands of an abuser.Thank you for making me aware of what an important month this is. I do want to put a voice to my sister's shame.

Dee said...

Thanks for bringing Domestic Violence Awareness Month to our attention. I too know someone in a very volatile situation and worry about her constantly. I'm waiting to get the dreaded phone call one day that something has happened to her or one of her kids during a fit of rage.

Jenna-Your sidebar is thrown off due to a large picture in your blog post. When you post a picture that is wider than the post column, it will shove your sidebar down to the bottom. You can either resize the pic or it will fix itself when that post is no longer on your main page.

Jen said...

So - what happened at the gala? How was the behavior of the man who escorted you? Nosy minds want to know! :)

jenna said...

thanks for the tip, dee!

btw just FYI - the national domestic abuse hotline is 800-799-7233 (SAFE), but also anyone anywhere can call the houston area women's center - they'll talk to you and help you and they have a national databank of shelters and counseling services. it's 24 hours - 713-528-2121. i used to work for them.
it takes an abused woman an average of 7 times to leave her abuser. if you know someone who is being abused, don't judge, just listen, and give her the above numbers (and be sure her abuser can't find them).

Anonymous said...

I know you wrote this several months ago but I found it and had to thank you and make a comment. My sister was beaten to brain death by her abuser/boyfriend on November 25, 2005. Everybody knew he had abused her (physically, psychologically, all of it...) in the past but she denied that he was doing it any longer. I feel so bad that she was afraid to be honest with her family (but I don't blame her)...Pregnant women in an abusive relationship are at an even greater risk of being killed if they try to leave, and unfortunately, my sister became own of those statistics. The miracle is that her unborn child was unharmed and we chose to keep her on life support (despite her being 100% brain dead) for 2 extra weeks to give the baby a better chance of survival. He was born Dec. 12, 2005 at 8 months and he is doing great. He is being adopted by my brother and his wife. Unfortunately, my mother was diagnosed with end stage ovarian cancer just 1 month before my sister was murdered and my mother died on Sept. 19, 2006 after her 11 month battle with the disease. I truly hold the murderer partially responsible for my mother's death as well. She would have had more of a will to live if her daughter was still alive. Thanks for listening and please visit my sister's memorial web-site:
Stacey (you can publish my email address: