Dear Elected Official,
I am writing today because I am a victim of domestic violence, and I have concerns on how and why my attacker was released from jail so quickly and easily.
In September 2017, my then boyfriend, Robert Wayne Hill, began attacking me after a phone call he had been on. He hung up a call, I asked him what was wrong, and he became angry. That’s when things took a turn for the worse. I remember his hand grabbing my shoulder before he began punching me in my face, knocking me down on the ground. He used his knees to damage my back, sides and stomach area and kept yelling he wanted to kill me. . There is much about that night that I wish I didn’t remember, however I do remember thinking he was going to kill me and I remember being frightened for myself and thinking my kids were not going to have a mom anymore. This was not the way my life was supposed to be.
While on the ground, I heard the voice of a man calling the police for me. Eventually the beating stopped, and police showed up and arrested Robert. I was taken to the hospital, and when I was finally alone I took out my phone, turned on the camera and looked at myself. I was horrified to see what the man I loved did to me. I didn’t look like me.
What was more shocking to me was within 24 hours of the assault, Robert began texting and calling me trying to make contact. I was shocked to be hearing from him so quickly, but shock turned to fear once I realized that meant he was already released from jail. Once again, I wasn’t safe. As far as I knew, he was looking for me and could put me through this hellish nightmare all over again – possibly killing me this time.
Essentially Robert pinky promised to come back to court after lying, saying he didn’t have the money to pay bail. My attacker was released on his own words without paying a cent. As the victim, I was worried that he was freely roaming the streets. Neither the DA nor the sheriff’s department had the correct address for him, and I was concerned he would just come find me and hurt me again.
Upon feeling these concerns, I have educated myself on some of the reforms that are happening in the state. Activist judges created this issue by allowing misdemeanor defendants out of jail within 24 hours with virtually no accountability — the exact policy that allowed my abuser out of jail so easily. Because of this policy, I did not receive a protective order or a no contact order for over a week. He missed court dates with no consequences, because the DA said he was given slack due to Hurricane Harvey.
From that day on, I have lived in fear. My attacker hired a PI to follow me, and obtained my new address where friends took me in. He had this PI follow me to my son’s day care and other places. I am in fear when I see a vehicle like his. This is something I deal with daily. I feel that the State of Texas let me down. The State places a higher importance on perpetrators rather than respecting the rights of victims and keeping them safe.
Can you put yourself in my shoes? Can you imagine being a victim of domestic violence? But then imagine not only trying to deal with this happening to you and trying to understand it, but also try imagining being in fear daily that you will run into your attacker, or your attacker will come find you in your car, or at a gas station. Maybe that attacker will even show up at your new place that you had to run to because you already lost your home, along with everything you owned. Imagine being scared of the person you were once so in love with, the one you thought would protect you from things like this. Imagine knowing that you’re not even protected by the state or the laws that are supposed to protect you from these monsters.
This is just part of my story, but this is my life and this is what I deal with every day of my life now.
On behalf of victims everywhere, I am begging you to please keep our communities safe, and to keep safeguards in place to protect Texas families.
Sincerely, Gail White