Houston Newsmakers: Houston Area Women’s Center talks Sexual Assault Awareness Month; celebrates 45 years

Also: Fight for Joe Campos justice continues; Guinness World Records attempt spurs young publishers

Houston Area Women's Center hosts Race Against Violence
Emilee Dawn Whitehurst, President & CEO, Houston Area Women's Center, Leticia Manzana, HAWC Sexual Assault Services Manager (KPRC)

Houston Area Women’s Center celebrates 45 years of service

Of one thousand sexual assaults, only a few more than 300 are ever reported and fewer than 30 people ever go to jail because of it!

That statistic is reported by the Rape and Incest National Network. The Houston Area Women’s Center has seen such results for 45 years of providing support for sexual assault and domestic violence victims.

Ahead of Sexual Assault Awareness month in April HAWC President and CEO Emilee Dawn Whitehurst is a guest on Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall and says our society is part of the problem.

“The scope of sexual assault, which just means unwanted sexual touch, conduct, attention, is so pervasive, we are a culture that does not understand what it means to say my body is mine and you don’t have a right to touch it if I don’t want you to.” said Letica Manzano, who is the Sexual Assault Services Manager, and sees first hand the toll such assaults take on victims. “The emotional impact is great. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Having nightmares, having anxiety, not being able to trust people. The unwanted memories that come in and flood their system.”

See much more about the amazing work of the Houston Area Women’s Center and information about their upcoming April 6th event in this week’s Houston Newsmakers EXTRA.

These are the numbers to call if you or someone you has been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. (Houston Area Women's Center)
Richard Molina, Nephew of Joe Campos Torres, Gilbert Garcia, Managing Partner, Garcia Hamilton & Associates (KPRC)

Fight for Joe Campos Torres justice continues

On May 8th it will have been 45 years since the body of Joe Campos Torres was found in Buffalo Bayou after being pushed by Houston Police Officers three days earlier.

Two of those officers were convicted and sentenced to one year of probation and a $1 fine.

The outrage that resulted spurred the Moody Park Riots a year later. Now his nephew, Richard Molina and others are embracing the building and naming of the Joe Campos Torres Justice Pavilion that hopefully will spur dialogue.

“It’s at a very center point in downtown Houston in the middle of the criminal justice district,” he said. “And it has potential to create the kind of area where we can continue these conversations.”

Artist Rendering of the proposed Joe Campos Torres Justice Pavilion, Courtesy Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers (Rogers Partners Architects +Urban Designers)

Pavilion to be one part of Trail and Monument

Molina and Gilbert Garcia are guests on this week’s Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall.

Garcia, Managing Partner of Garcia Hamilton and Associates, is helping fund the Pavilion project and says the ceremonial breaking ground event on April 2nd will be special.

“This is an event for all of the Latino community where we are really rallying to bring closure to such a terrible event and want to make something positive out of it,” he said. “The only way to make sure it doesn’t happen again is to make sure that we remember what happened in the first place and that way we can reflect and learn from it so it doesn’t happen again.”

The dedication is set for April 2nd at 1 p.m.

iWRITE project to promote writing and publishing for children as part of Guinness World Record Attempt (Christopher Eliopoulos)

Guinness World Record attempt spurs young publishers

Melissa Williams Murphy, Founder iWRITE (KPRC)

Melissa Williams Murphy has always been a writer and a teacher at heart. It’s one of the reasons she founded iWRITE, a nonprofit that focuses on building student confidence through writing.

“There’s in-school programming, after school programming for our middle schoolers and high schoolers to write for our magazine, the iWRITER and become advocates and speakers,” she said.

The latest effort is to aim for a Guinness World Record for the largest published book in the world! See more details on this week’s program.


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