A.W.A.K.E. Walk puts spotlight on domestic abuse

by Chris Born-Long

October 1, 1997

Today I joined dozens of other Austinites to demonstrate our "Awareness Women Are Killed Everyday" (A.W.A.K.E.) in a gathering which began at the Texas Capitol. The event was organized to remember five women who've died this year from domestic violence:

All of these women were killed in the Austin area except for Annie, who was honored because her father lives here.

Bearing signs commemorating these five women, we walked from the Capitol to Wooldridge Park. There, Kelly White Rountree, executive director of the Austin Center for Battered Women, greeted us and led us in observing a moment of silence.

Then followed a brief but very emotional program. Among the several speakers was Jim Rigby, pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, who called these five women "heroes, not victims," because they are now serving to call attention to the horror of domestic violence.

The most moving speakers were friends and family of the five honorees. Mary Moreno's daughter, halting often to control her tears, told us about her wonderful mother. Edna Edward's co-worker spoke warmly of Edna's generous nature, how Edna had been her mentor at work.

I didn't know any of the other four women, just Annie. But I met them today through those they left behind. And I discovered that each of them, like Annie, was good and kind and loving and trusting. Not one was a loser, a doormat, or a wimp. The women we lose to domestic violence just can't believe the evil that lurks behind the mask of love. Indeed, we all are paralyzed with disbelief.

And that's what the A.W.A.K.E. Walk is all about—awareness.

The A.W.A.K.E. Walk is sponsored by the Center for Battered Women, Austin Police Department Victim Services, Austin Rape Crisis Center, Precinct 5 Constable's Office, and Travis County Sheriff's Department Victim Services.

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