Crisis center funding rally held at State Capitol

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by NOELLE NEWTON / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on February 14, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 17 at 10:54 AM

On this Valentine's Day domestic violence and sexual assault victims rallied at the State Capitol to show legislators that love is not always kind.

On the day where love is celebrated, those who were wronged by it marched for change. Domestic violence and sexual assault victims made their way to the Capitol steps chanting, "Love shouldn't hurt."

For mom Nicole Salomon, love nearly killed her.

"In 2008, I was raped by my husband of 13 years," she said.

Salomon says in a second attack her high school sweetheart and the father of her two kids attempted to duct tape her mouth shut. Police found razors and rope under her bed.

"I put up many years worth of domestic violence and fear because I didn't know where to turn to. I thought rape only happened to strangers," she said.

She says her life changed when she sought help at the Hays-Caldwell Women's Center.

"I truly thought that my counselor, Kathryn, saved my life," Salomon said. "She stood and listened and comforted me. She explained to me what my rights were so I could understand that I had no right to be raped. "

This legislative session, crisis centers like the one that helped Salomon may be in jeopardy.

Currently, the state sets aside $72 million to fund domestic violence and rape crisis centers.

"Advocates are here today to make sure that funding remains stable," said Torie Camp of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

Camp says the funding has stayed the same for 10 years, yet more victims are seeking help. Private funding, which has kept some smaller centers afloat, is dwindling.

"If this funding does not come through, rape crisis centers will close," Camp said.

There is no indication legislators will cut funding to help the budget shortfall. However, these victims hope the lawmakers will get the message. Love is not always patient or kind, and when it's not, victims need help to get where Salomon is today.

"I want my rapist out there to know that I am not afraid of you, and I will no longer sit quiet, and I will no longer sit in fear," Salomon said.

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