Domestic violence advocates lobby for lawmakers to fully fund programs

The mother of a Texas State student, who was murdered by her boyfriend 4 years ago, was at the State Capitol Thursday. The visit was part of a campaign to get lawmakers to fully fund domestic violence programs.

Catherine Shellman says she came to the Capitol with her daughter in mind.

"I know if she was here, she would want to speak out against what happened to her ... it didn't turn out that way I'm here and she is not so I have to be the voice for her, and yeah, she is always on my mind," said Shellman.

23-year-old Tiffanie Perry was about to graduate from Texas State University in 2010, when she was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend. It was not until Shellman read Tiffanie's journal that she learned of the pain and fear her daughter had kept secret.

"So I crawled like I always crawl with the shower, I try to wash you off until my skin burns and the waters turn cold, How I wish I could burn, I just lay the cold water hits like ice stabbing my body like you stab my body. Oh baby just kill me, don't torture me slowly, if you love me do it quick and put me out of my misery."

Those words written by her daughter are painful, but Shellman believes it's important to share the journal and its warning with as many people as possible.

"I read this so, A, people are educated and they know what victims go through, and B, so if victims are out there listening to this they know they are not alone and there is help," said Shellman.

Catherine Shellman wasn't alone Thursday, she was joined by thousands of others who signed purple post cards that filled two boxes. The cards were being delivered as part of a campaign calling on state lawmakers to fully fund programs that help victims of family violence. There are 150 members in the State House and 31 in the State Senate. But the most important number may actually be, 119. That's how many fatal domestic violence cases took place in Texas in 2013.

Gloria Terry with the Texas Council on Family Violence says more than 200,000 calls were made last year to Texas law enforcement. Hotlines and shelters provided assistance to an estimated 84,000 people but some requests for help went unanswered.

"We shouldn't jeopardize a woman's safety, or a child's or a man's safety because there wasn't resources top provide them assistance," said Terry.

Republican Jane Nelson carried the purple card message to the Senate.

"Read a few of them members, I'd even encourage you to sign one of them yourself," said Senator Nelson.

Democrat Sylvester Turner also joined in saying it will be difficult for House members to ignore.

"When I look at them, they simply say to me, remember me, that's a real person here, and what you can do Rep. Turner, do. It may not fix the whole problem but just do your part, and we'll let others work on their part, but do your part," said tihe House member from Houston.

It's a simple request from thousands of people just like Catherine Shellman who are speaking for those who cannot.


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