Twelve years have passed since Tamron Hall lost her sister Renate to domestic violence. Renate was found beaten and floating face down in a pool in Houston in 2004.
Previously, Hall also witnessed an incident between her sister and a companion and urged her to leave the situation. She told PEOPLE earlier this year, "I said to her, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ ‘You’re too beautiful. Too smart. You can do better.’ All the things I’ve learned now are wrong [from domestic abuse advocates], I did them all." A suspect in her sister's case was apprehended, but later let go for lack of evidence.
Hall says she regrets being unable to help her sister, telling The Huffington Post that family and friends often don't know what to say or how to help their loved ones. Hall says if she could go back, she'd do things differently:
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"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.”
Since her sister's death, the anchor has taken her pain and grief and used it to speak out against domestic violence, advocating on behalf of her sister and victims everywhere. Now, Hall is taking her advocacy to a new level, creating a fund in memory of her sister.
She's teamed up with Safe Horizon, a leading non-profit that fights to put an end to violence, to create The Tamron ♥ Renate Fund. Launched in October, also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the fund aims to provide support for victims and educate family and friends, so that they can be better support systems. The fund is also Hall's way of making sure Renate's story is remembered.
"I wanted my sister to be more than a Google search and I wanted this story to be more than something of a curiosity," she 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."