Violence Against Women in Texas
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last updated September 2012
Population of women: 12,673,281/25,145,561 (2010)
Life expectancy of women (at birth): 80.2 years (2007)
Adults lacking basic prose literacy skills:[1] 19% (2003)
 
Gender Equality
Texas is subject to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits states from denying citizens equal protection under the law or from abridging the federal constitutional rights of citizens. The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically protects a woman’s right to vote. 
 
Article I, Section 3 of the Texas Constitution states that “All free men . . . have equal rights.” In 1972, Texas amended its Constitution to specifically provide for gender equality. Section 3a of Article I, passed on Nov. 7, 1972, reads: “Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin.”
  
The Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) reports that in 2007, there were 201,456 reported victims of family violence in the state, 74.7% of whom were women. The most common victims of domestic violence were wives (19.3% of all family violence) and common-law wives (15.2%). Couples that have a common-law marriage, or an informal marriage, in Texas have the same rights as a legally married couple even with the absence of a formal marriage certificate. A couple seeking to establish a common-law marriage in Texas must sign a formal document. In addition, they must agree to be married, cohabit, and represent to others that they are married. >>Learn more
 
The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that 7,626 rapes occurred in Texas in 2010. That amounts to 35.3 rapes per 100,000 people in the state, down from 30.3 rapes per 100,000 people in 2010. Rapes accounted for 6.7% of all violent crimes in Texas that year. The TPDS reports that 44% of all rapes in 2010 were “cleared by arrest.” The report explains that “[f]or Uniform Crime Reporting purposes, an offense is cleared only when a law enforcement agency has identified the offender, enough evidence exists to press charges, and the subject is actually taken into custody.” >>Learn more
 
Texas has enacted some sexual discrimination statutes that essentially mirror the language of Title VII. Section 21.051 of the Texas Labor Code makes it unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire a woman, discriminate against her with regards to wages or terms of her employment, or limit, segregate, or otherwise interfere with her opportunities for employment because of her sex. Section 21.055makes it an offense to retaliate against anyone who files a complaint, testifies about, or otherwise opposes such a practice. >>Learn more
 
Human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, is prevalent in Texas. The state’s Office of the Attorney General stated that since 2007, there have been over 500 human trafficking investigations in the state.According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Texas accounted for 9% of all human trafficking investigations it opened between 2001 and 2005. Texas’ border with Mexico makes it an international entry point for sex trafficking operations, including those originating from outside of Central America. >>Learn more
 

[1] In the United States, literacy is measured using the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). The NAAL measures English literacy among American adults ages 16 and older using three components: (1) prose literacy, (2) document literacy, and (3) quantitative literacy. Prose literacy tests a person’s ability to understand and use information from texts like editorials, news, poems, and fiction. Document literacy measures the skills needed to find and use information in documents like a job application, payroll form, transportation schedule, etc. Quantitative literacy records one’s ability to perform simple math operations using numbers embedded in printed materials. Examples of quantitative literacy include balancing a checkbook and completing an order form.
 
Survey participants are placed in one of four groups based on their performance: below basic, basic, intermediate, and proficient. As used in the survey, a person with below basic prose literacy displays only the “most simple and concrete” literacy skills. Basic skills include “simple and everyday” literacy activities, while a person with intermediate prose literacy can perform “moderately challenging” literary activities. If a person can perform “complex and challenging” literacy activities, he or she is considered proficient.
  
Texas did not participate in the state-specific version of the NAAL called the State Assessment of Adult Literacy (SAAL). Thus, gender-specific literacy estimates are not available for Texas. The figure listed here reflects the overall number of adults in the state who lacked prose literacy skills in 2003.