SAN ANTONIO – Ten years ago, Spicee Gray thought she would lose her life to domestic violence.
"We always attack the victim -- why did you go back? Why did you stay? Mine was fear. In the fear, I was threatened with a gun, I was kicked, I was choked, hair pulled out, busted lip, fractured ribs," Gray said.
She sneaked away behind her abuser's back to San Antonio's Battered Women and Children's Shelter, where she found counseling, legal help, and eventually freedom.
"I was able to learn the steps of how to gain strength and be able to escape from my abuser," Gray said.
However, a new report reminds the public that many victims don't become survivors. The Texas Council on Family Violence just released its annual Honoring Texas Victims Report, which shows the number of women killed by husbands, boyfriends or exes.
In 2014, 132 women were killed, up from 119 in 2013 and 114 in 2012. Harris County had the most deaths, with 23, then Dallas and Tarrant counties with 10 each. Bexar and El Paso counties had five each.
We crunched the numbers to find the ratio of deaths to population size, and the order changed. El Paso County's rate ended up the highest. It was followed in order by Harris County, Tarrant County, Dallas County and then Bexar County.
Those victims ranged in age from 16 to 90. The report shows that 66 percent were killed by a firearm, and that 77 percent were killed in a home. Fifty-one percent of the women killed were still married.
The deaths in Bexar County have gone up and down in the past four annual reports. 2014's five deaths were down from 2013's seven. However, there were five in 2012, and six in 2011.
Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry held a press conference Wednesday surrounded by law enforcement officers and advocates. She said change still needs to come to areas like health care, where the abused can be identified sooner with specific questions.
"To be the ones that are asking those questions early on, so that we can then connect that individual immediately to services," Terry said.
The good news that came from the report is that 84,000 people visited violence-prevention centers across Texas last year, which is more than ever before.
"If they don't know how to escape, they will end up lost," Gray said. "There are resources out there. There are people that can help."
Terry said San Antonio's coordinated domestic violence system is a gold standard, and one of the best in the state. The system links law enforcement agencies and Child Protective Services with Family Violence Prevention Services, which is the program that oversees the shelter.