Victims advocates say CDV is all about control - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Victims advocates say CDV is all about control

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Often there is no clear-cut reason of why some relationships turn violent. South Carolina ranks number two for the rate of women killed by men, and we've ranked in the top ten for the last 15 years.

Attorney James Corley and advocate Nancy Barton say stopping the violence starts with attitudes and includes the whole community.

"This attitude we've heard about for so long -- if I can't have her, no one else can -- seems to prevail when she steps out of the relationship and is going to be independent. And the ultimate way for an abuser to control someone they've been abusing and controlling and coercing and intimidating is ultimately taking that person's life," said Barton.

There is no cookie-cutter formula for what sets off an abuser or what causes a man to violently attack or kill a woman.

Barton, the Sistercare executive director, says one reason why these cases may be so high in the South could be cultural.

"There has certainly been a history of traditional attitudes and beliefs and values toward men and women and marriage and relationships, and I think those beliefs and attitudes are slow to change in South Carolina," said Barton.

Barton says, often in a pattern of abuse, sometimes the women feel like they cannot leave.

"I've talked to a number of women who've said, 'I've left him, I left him again, and I couldn't make it financially on my own,'" said Barton.

Corley says for the victim, it could be about finances or love. For the abuser, it's about control.

"Most of the time when a death occurs, it's an accident as far as the abuser is concerned. He didn't mean to kill her, but then he wouldn't have anyone to abuse anymore," said Corley.

Barton says enforcing the current laws could help and getting the community involved.

"If we have dedicated and specialized CDV courts and have law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, probation officers all trained, coordinated and all working as a team," said Barton.

Barton also says making sure perpetrators have quality treatment and counseling, making sure they are getting justified consequences, making it more difficult for them to re-offend and end someone's life are also important.

"Our attitude in society needs to focus on the perpetrator and do all we can do to remove the person who's committing the crime and creating the chaos for the next generation as well," said Barton.

If you are in an abusive relationship or know someone who needs help, you can call Sistercare's 24-hour crisis hotline. That number is 803-765-9428.

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