In 2004, Tamron Hall’s sister Renate died after spending years in relationships with abusive men. In the 12 years since, Hall has dedicated her time speaking out about the issue. In an effort to honor Renate and help others, Hall is taking her advocacy a step further.
The “Today” co-host said she felt that the public only knew Renate as “Tamron Hall’s sister,” but she didn’t want Renate’s story to be solely defined by her. So in partnership with non-profit Safe Horizon, Hall launched “The Tamron ♥ Renate Fund” in October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month). The fund aims to provide support for victims by educating their family members so that they can learn how to become a strong support system.
Often times, Hall told The Huffington Post, family members of victims may not know what to say or do to help their loved one. She said she surely didn’t know what to do before her sister’s death.
Hall recalled getting into an intense argument with Renate, a 48-year-old mother of two, about why she was staying in an abusive relationship. Though the two reconciled several months later, Hall confessed that she still felt guilty after her sister was found beaten to death, floating face down in her pool in Houston in 2004. As a result of a lack of evidence, no arrests were made and the case is still an unsolved homicide.
Hall told HuffPost that if she could re-do things, “I would have not gone silent. I would have been there and I would have just listened more so that I could say to her you’re not alone. And you didn’t do anything to deserve this. And your staying is not a sign of weakness. And we’re not afraid, by the way. We’re not afraid of him and we’re not afraid of the journey ahead.”
Hall wanted to make an impact so others can help their loved ones who may be going through a similar situation. “The Tamron ♥ Renate Fund” aims to teach friends and family members how to help victims.
“When people enter a shelter, clearly, they’re not there to stay. And when they get out, this is a rebirth of life and I want them to know that their family members and their friends, their support system, that they’ve been educated and they have been brought to a level of comfort to support,” she said. “There’s nothing like having a friend saying to you ‘I’m here and I talked to someone and they told me this is the best way that I can help you. I’m ready for this challenge with you. You’re not alone.’”
Hall said the goal of the fund is to make sure survivors never feel as if they deserved it or feel like they’ve been abandoned. Hall said that in addition to helping by providing resources like shelter and legal expenses, calling Safe Horizon’s 24-hour hotline (1-800-621-HOPE (4673)) is useful way for families to learn how they can help victims.
Hall hopes that sharing Renate’s story through this fund can make a difference.
“I wanted my sister to be more than a Google search and I wanted this story to be more than something of a curiosity,” Hall said. “I wanted to find a way specifically to help the next sister, mother, friend who does not know what to say but they know there’s a problem. They know there is abuse and they don’t know how to address it and we want to provide a support for them as a guiding light.”
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.