Hundreds of Victims’ Rights Advocates March on Capitol to Support Full Funding for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Speak Out at Capitol Rally


Austin, Texas – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) and hundreds of victims’ rights advocates from across the state of Texas are rallying at the Texas Capitol to strongly support full funding for family violence programs and rape crisis centers across Texas. Last year, the 80 rape crisis centers in Texas provided free and confidential services to over 45,000 survivors and nearly 85,000 women, children and men found safe sanctuary from violence at domestic violence shelters.

The 80 state funded rape crisis centers provided services to sexual assault survivors from 245 counties and also provided community education and outreach to over 590,000 Texans.

State funding helps support 86 family violence programs in Texas, which include shelters, nonresidential centers and special project sites. In 2013, these centers provided services to nearly 85,000 adults, mostly women, some men and their children. More than 61,000 adult victims and their children received services such as legal advocacy, counseling and other support. The unfortunate reality remains that 31% of adult victims (11,485) requesting shelter were turned away due to lack of space. In fact, according to a one-day census of family violence centers, Texas has the highest number of unmet requests for services compared to any other state in the country.

“We stand here with a united message to the Texas legislature – Full funding for domestic violence services is a necessary investment to keep Texans safe,” said Gloria A. Terry, Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Council on Family Violence. “There is no greater threat to the fabric of our society than that of violence in the home. We ask our policy leaders for full funding of these critical services,” said Terry.

Hundreds of volunteers from every corner of the state traveled to the Capitol to remember the 119 women who were killed in domestic violence murders in 2013 and advocate for the more than 100,000 Texans who accessed services last year and remind legislators about the importance of fully funding critical programs for those who have been abused and raped.

“Rape crisis centers in Texas have been modestly funded for years and cannot afford to weather any cuts to their budgets. The demand for services is growing and the consequences of not meeting these needs can have tragic results for individuals, families, and communities,” said Annette Burrhus-Clay, TAASA Executive Director.

Christine Rodriguez, from Austin, is one of many who accessed life saving services at a shelter. Christine was married for ten years and has four children ages 13, 12, 9 and 8 years old. Over the course of her marriage her husband became more and more abusive. He was convicted of a variety of misdemeanor abuse charges and a felony domestic violence assault. He held her at gunpoint and raped her while she had a protective order in place, suffocated her with a pillow while she was pregnant with her third son and tried to choke her on Easter. In addition to the physical and sexual abuse, he also was mentally and verbally abusive. He prevented her from going to school, erased her school papers, dictated where she could work, cut her off from her friends and family and would not allow their children to have any friends.

“Without SafePlace, I would not have been able to break free of the violence. They helped me get counseling for the kids, counseling for me and helped us with group therapy. They also helped during the holidays with resources in the community and assisted in getting the University of Texas domestic violence clinic to help me with restraining orders and get a divorce with no attorney fees,” said Christine Rodriguez, a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor.

Mary Kay Inc. and members of the Mary Kay independent sales force are also partnering with TCFV and TAASA to raise awareness among Texas lawmakers about funding needs surrounding family violence and sexual assault services. Mary Kay is a key corporate leader and partner for domestic violence programs in the United States and provides vital private sector funding to supplement government funding.

Mary Kay will have a display of pink Cadillacs at the Capitol to support efforts to raise awareness and will be joining the rally by painting Austin Pink to share the message that love should not hurt and that Texas families need the commitment of lawmakers for funding these critical programs.

“We understand how important it is for corporations to provide financial support to non-profit organizations in their communities, but we know that it is equally important to be an engaged and actively advocate,” said Crayton Webb, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility for Mary Kay Inc. “While we work to promote positive, pro-active legislation in states across the country, Texas is near and dear to our hearts since Dallas is home to our corporate headquarters and our U.S. manufacturing facility. We are proud to stand with hundreds of Texans on the steps of the Capitol to continue our steadfast mission of preventing and ending domestic violence.”


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

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) is the statewide organization committed to ending sexual violence in Texas. A non-profit educational and advocacy organization based in Austin, TAASA member agencies comprise a statewide network of more than 80 crisis centers that serve rural as well as metropolitan areas.

Founded in 1982, the agency has a strong record of success in community education, legal services, youth outreach, law enforcement training, legislative advocacy, and curricula and materials development.

Additional information about TAASA can be found at

About Mary Kay
Irresistible products. Positive community impact. Rewarding opportunity. For more than 50 years, Mary Kay has offered it all. With 3.5 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and $4 billion in global annual sales, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world. Discover what there is to love about Mary Kay by connecting with a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant at