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Central Texas group steps up to help family violence survivors

Central Texas group steps up to help family violence survivors
Posted at 4:19 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 18:16:22-04

KILLEEN, TX — In 2017, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received 17,393 calls and conversations in the Lone Star State from people calling out for help.

A group in Bell County is doing what they can for those who escape these kinds of situations.

Growing up, family violence was just another part of Mari Perez's life.

"Definitely it impacts you as the children because you'll grow up seeing that and you're thinking it's normal," said Perez.

She knows all too well that getting out of the situation is essential to survival.

"One of the things my mom would say is sometimes she would leave without, just with pajamas or something," said Perez.

The Leadership Killeen Community Group hosted a family violence awareness luncheon back in March to educate community members about stories like hers.

"My mom actually was here during the time that the event was happening and she had her own domestic violence experience. So she could identify and she could say it's good that now people are talking about it," said Perez.

"It is very important because we find that family violence is an issue that needs to be attended in this community. Many people are afraid to break the silence and they keep on being in that cycle, but our motivation is to break that silence, break that cycle," said Jose Lopez, a Leadership Killeen Community group participant.

Proceeds from the event were raised to create necessity bags for family violence survivors, and volunteers stopped by to help fill the bags.

"These emergency care bags allow for an easier transition for families and victims of domestic violence," said Tasha Martin, the executive director of Unity Visitation Center who volunteered to help prepare the bags.

The team delivered the bags to the Killeen Police Department's Victim Liaison Office on Wednesday.

"Just to provide materials to people that are already in the frontline dealing with the situation. So these emergency bags that you see here are going to be given to those victims of family violence that are taken away from their house," said Lopez.

Perez applauded the volunteers who stepped forward to help folks who need it most.

"Good to know that people are talking about it. Like this is not normal. This is something that needs to be addressed," said Perez.

The group filled up a total of 50 bags with necessities that included body wash, deodorant, clothing and more.