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At vigil, crime survivors lean on each other, remember those lost to violence

Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice held a vigil for people to share their stories and honor their loved ones.

HOUSTON — Victims of crime are leaning on each other for comfort during their difficult time.

A small group gathered Saturday afternoon for a vigil as part of “Survivors Speak National Day of Action.”

Keith Davis has gone through unimaginable pain.

On Aug. 18, 1992, six members of his family were murdered -- his two daughters, mom, sister, niece and nephew in Somerville, Texas.

“We lost three generations of family in one night," Davis said.

He sees himself as more than just a victim of a heinous crime.

“That’s something we have to live with the rest of our lives," Davis said. "So to be able to get up and be productive citizens again, yeah, we’re survivors for sure."

Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice held a vigil for people to share their stories and honor their loved ones.

David Austin’s brother Victor was shot and killed.

Austin suffers with the consequences of that crime every day.

“For individuals like myself, where you realize you’re actually dealing with kind of a PTSD-type situation and you don’t even realize that this is something that you need to have, that you actually need to work through,” Austin said.

He said survivors experience a lot of challenges when it comes to healing after going through a crime.

The group wants to see a criminal justice system that puts trauma recovery, prevention and rehabilitation first.

“There are things that you can do that are therapeutic but aren’t necessarily therapy and it’s important that you do that because until you are where you need to be, in the right place mentally, you’ll never get there physically," Austin said. 

"The body follows the mind and the mind follows the body.”

Davis’ life goal now is not to be silenced.

He believes by telling his story, other survivors will know that it will get better even though the pain never goes away.

“I won’t let my family’s deaths go in vain. I can’t do that,” Davis said. "They just didn’t just die for nothing for me to sit back and not try to help others not go through what we went through as a family."


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