Waco community honors domestic violence victims

Waco Family Abuse Center's Day of Remembrance was held at Indian Springs Park on the Waco Suspension Bridge. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Phoebe Suy | Staff Writer

One in three adult Texans have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime, according to the Texas Council on Family Violence. Waco’s Family Abuse Center gathered to honor victims of domestic violence Tuesday evening at their annual Day of Remembrance.

“In our community so many of us are affected by domestic violence,” Executive Director of Family Abuse Center Kathy Reid said. “The victims are our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues. We mourn the lives lost and support the families who have lost loved ones.”

Day of Remembrance honored victims by paying tribute to a McLennan county victim and scattering flower petals off the Waco Suspension Bridge. Local artist Heather Mooney painted a piece during the event to memorialize hope.

“It’s really important to remember those lives that are lost. And that’s our way of remembering not just the lives that are lost but the incredible impact it has on our culture,” Reid said.

In addition to emergency shelter, some of the services provided by Family Abuse Center include legal advocates, counseling, transportation assistance, job and life skills education. All resources offered by Family Abuse Center are free.

In 2016 the Texas Council on Family Violence reported that 146 Texas women were killed by an intimate male partner. Of these 146, one was from McLennan County, Natasha Dauzat.

“We pay tribute to these women by discussing their stories and analyzing this data so we can prevent deaths in the future,” Berkeley Anderson, teen dating violence prevention program manager said.

Anderson then read the story of 21-year-old Natasha Dauzat of Bellmead, Texas who died August 25, 2016.

“Davie Dauzat, 23, stabbed and beheaded his wife Natasha, killing her inside their home. Prior to the murder, Dauzat called his brother, who became concerned and requested a welfare check. Authorities responded to the home and spoke to Dauzat and Natasha and determined no further assistance was necessary. Two hours later Dauzat’s brother received a second phone call from Dauzat, who confessed he had killed Natasha. When authorities responded, Dauzat barricaded himself inside the home until a hostage negotiator convinced Dauzat to come outside. Authorities arrested and charged Dauzat with murder. The couple’s three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son were inside the home. Dauzat had a history of violence towards Natasha. Natasha is survived by her daughter and son.”

Dauzat’s story, along with dozens of others, is told in the annual “Honoring Texas Victims Report” published by the Texas Council on Family Violence.

Three local siblings, Jesse, Ana and Jhoana attended Day of Remembrance after hearing about it on Facebook. Jhoana, the oldest sibling, decided she wanted to go and invited her two siblings to come with her.

“My mom, she was actually abused when we were younger,” Johana said through tears. “Lucky she survived, she got help and my dad got helped…she was more fortunate than these victims.”

As domestic violence is and continues to be an intimate part of their lives, the Lariat did not publish their last names.

“I just think it’s important for people to know that if you reach out for help, help is there,” Johana said. “My mom, she lost a lot of hope and we did, too. I just think it’s important for you to speak out about what’s happening.”