Victims groups press state lawmakers for funding
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Lorin Leatherwood was one of many who marched to the State Capitol Friday in an effort to make lawmakers aware of how important women's shelters and rape crisis centers are to Texas women.
She knows firsthand what a positive force they can be in times of trauma. At the age of 15, Leatherwood was raped. She said state's victim services programs saved her life.
"I walked around in a fog. I didn't trust anyone. I always felt like my friends were going to turn on me," Leatherwood said. "Without the counseling services that I received there, I don't even know if I would be alive right now."
Similar state-funded programs served nearly 80,000 victims of sexual assault and family violence last year.
"Thirty-seven percent of Texas women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime," Gloria Terry with the Texas Council on Family Violence said. “Violence attacks the very fabric of who we are as a society."
Their message is simple: state-funded victim's programs save lives and they need to be a priority for lawmakers.
"It's important,” Leatherwood said. “I know it saved my life and I know it saves people's lives on a daily basis."
The groups say less than 20 percent of sexual assault cases are reported to police.
If you or someone you know needs help, information and services are available at the web sites TCFV.org and TAASA.org.