Domestic violence survivors speak out

AUSTIN, Texas-- Domestic violence survivors are hoping they can help save others. They made their voices heard Saturday at Austin's City Hall.

The noise is breaking the silence.

"The more we talk about this, the more common we make it seem, the more safe it is to come out. We lost 132 women last year in Texas alone. I had a friend commit suicide the night before last. So we don't just lose them to murder, we lose them all kinds of ways," Lisa Pous, a survivor said.

This is the second year for "No more, No mas." It's an event that brings awareness to the prevalence of domestic violence in Central Texas. It's held by survivors themselves.

"I've gotten some help before. It was hard for me to do it but I did it. So there's a lot of help," Elizabeth Flandez, a second survivor, said.

"We noticed that all over town they were talking about survivors. We were kind of wondering, where are they? Since we are survivors, we decided that we need to come out and be forward and open about our stories. So that we can encourage others to step forward, people who might be living in danger," Pous said.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. A memorial was held Saturday for women and men who have been murdered by intimate partners, and for those children also affected.

Several silent witness cut-outs were placed at City Hall in their honor.

"We update and paint and take care of our women. We change their stories every year and just spend some time understanding that this could have been us," Pous said.

Survivors, then, made their way across the first street bridge. They were making their voices heard in an effort to encourage victims to speak up.

"If there are ladies out there trying to get help, there's help. They're not alone," Flandez said.

The Texas Council on Family Violence says in 2014 alone, more than 23,000 victims sought shelter and safety. More than 61,000 Texans sought services like advocacy and counseling that year as well.

"Times are changing and we can get out. We can save our lives," Pous asid.

If you are in need of help, you can call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 512-453-8117.

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