October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it is important that we recognize what a serious problem this is, particularly in South Carolina. South Carolina ranks near the top of the list when it comes to domestic violence.
Consider This: In an annual report released by the Violence Policy Center, South Carolina ranked No. 8 for the number of women killed by men in 2007, the most recent year data is available. In 2007, 46 women were murdered by males in South Carolina. When a relationship between victim and offender could be identified, nearly all of the women were murdered by someone they knew. The majority of the victims were wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of the offenders.
Unfortunately, due to the current economic downturn, many of the organizations that help people abused by domestic violence have seen their funding slashed. Citizens Against Spousal Abuse (CASA) has lost tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from various governmental agencies. And in these tough times, domestic violence is likely to increase when there is job loss, lack of income and other factors that create significant stress. Now is when we need more support services, not less.
The biggest challenge, however, could be silence. Silence from us: We need to talk about this problem to make people aware of how prevalent it is; and the silence from the victims who have been abused to the point that they are afraid of speaking out. With our help and support, hopefully they can feel safe to escape their abusive relationship and we can get South Carolina off the top of this terrible list.