Domestic violence victim: 'Three days of hell'

Texas Council on Family Violence releases report during Domestic Violence Month

SAN ANTONIO – Amy Zuniga calls it "three days of hell."

Three days, she says, that finally made her leave her abusive husband nearly nine years ago.

Zuniga's son was her inspiration to end the relationship. 

"I realized, then, that we needed help," Zuniga said, recalling the abuse. "The hits and the blows, and not wanting to sleep at night because I just didn't know if I was going to wake up." 

In 2016, 146 women in Texas were killed by their male partners. Eleven of the killings happened in Bexar County, two more than in 2015.

Zuniga gathered with leaders from the Texas Council on Family Violence, the San Antonio Police Department, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office and the Battered Women and Children's Shelter as the council released its annual Honoring Texas Victims Report. 

The group tracks domestic violence statistics to spot trends and in hopes of ultimately curbing or putting an end to the violence. 

"Forty percent of the women who were killed had either ended the relationship or were in the process of ending the relationship," council CEO Gloria Terry said. "So this dispels that, 'Why didn't she just leave?' Because, frankly, leaving doesn't always translate to safety." 

The Texas women killed by their male partners last year ranged from 15 to 92 years old. 

"We know that as 146 women lost their lives, 183 children heard or watched their mother's death," Terry said. 

BCSO has received more than 1,000 calls for reports of family violence so far this year. 

Community leaders said stopping the cycle is a challenge that exists beyond just two people in a violence relationship.

"The shelter is not ours. The shelter is everybody's," said Battered Women and Children's Shelter president and CEO Marta Pelaez. "And it is up to us to make sure that we don't continue to add space to it because the demand is increasing."

Zuniga wants victims to know there is life outside of the cycle of violence and that help is available. 

"You don't have to go through life thinking that he loves you. Love does not hurt. It shouldn't be a fist. If I can help one person, that's my goal," she said. 

The 24-hour hotline for The Battered Women and Children's Shelter can be reached at 210-733-8810. 

For more information on the and its services, click here.

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