HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Years after her sister was gunned down by her abuser, one local woman dedicates her life to educating the community and raising awareness when it comes to domestic violence.
Gwendolyn Reed, is one of fifteen children. She says she was always the big sister to come to the rescue for her younger sister, Ebony. Days before 28-year-old, Ebony Parson's death, Reed received a phone call from her sister. A phone call telling Reed, her sister Ebony had been abused for months.
"When she called me, I said Ebony, I am coming. I am coming to you. We are going to pray through this. We're going to get this right," Reed cried.
Reed lived in Florida at the time, and though she did make it back, she didn't make it in time to save her sister.
"I wake up every day and say Ebony, I'm sorry. Because I didn't get to her," Reed sobbed.
Reed remembers showing up at the scene of the crime, seeing her sister's still body but feeling her spirit.
"I said to Ebony, he didn't take your life, he just gave you your wings. You go ahead, you go ahead," Reed said.
Since her sister's death. It has become Reed's mission to educate, raise awareness, and inspire victims to leave and live through bringing back the Silent Witness Program.
"Never in a million years... did I think I would be telling the world that my Ebby Faye, is a silent witness. Never in a million years," Reed cried.
The woman who originally brought the Silent Witness Program to Horry County, Linda Snelling, passed away a couple of years ago and since then, Reed has been trying to bring the silhouettes made to represent victims back to life in the community. Dozens in need of repair, and plaques are in her garage.
"If we can take them and put them back in the community where they lost their lives, then the people will see this, and we may be called to action," Reed explained.
Originally, kind donations from Lowes, and Sherman Williams, helped build the silhouettes. Reed hopes to bring the silhouettes back to life with the help from the community. A plea, she will never give up hope on.
"I can't stop, because to stop means I failed Ebony another day. I won't do that, I won't do that," Reed said.
Reed has spoken out on domestic violence in forums in Columbia and Washington D.C. and believes there is a lack of resources for victims of domestic violence in Horry County and says the closest shelter is in Georgetown County and only holds about 15 people.
Reed hopes to prompt officials to instill more resources to the community, and make them easily accessible for victims.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, you can call the national domestic violence hotline at 1-888-799-SAFE.
For more information on the Silent Witness Program or local help, you can reach out to Gwendolyn Reed at 843-940-3346 and another domestic violence advocate, Millie Hayden at 843-457-2579.