RCSD works with CDV victims before things turn deadly - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

RCSD works with CDV victims before things turn deadly

It started in high school for one Richland County woman.

"I made it a pattern of believing the sorriness, the apologies -- 'I'll never do it again.' I don't know what I was thinking, believing it each and every time he said it," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.

Even when they were teenagers, the verbal, physical and mental abuse was constant, but she was sure he could change. So she hid the pain for 30 years.

"I was head over heels. And I was blinded, you know, I just, I was in love," said the woman.

Until he didn't change. "His personality is like a light switch," she said.

"I tried on occasion to leave and I was dragged back by my hair," said the woman.

She was called names and punched. Bruises on her face kept her from special events.

"I've been choked, I've had ribs broken. Almost lost consciousness. I've had a rifle pulled on me. I've been spat on," said the woman.

She has two children. Her youngest was also the victim of her husband's rage.

"He was a thrower. Whatever he could get his hands on, that child had a black and blue from."

After thinking about it for months, she finally had him arrested last year. So today, this woman can call herself a survivor, thanks to Richland County's victim's assistance program.

"We don't tell crime victims what they need to do or what they have to do or what they have to do," said Lt. Heidi Scott with the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

Scott tries to work with victims before the situations become deadly.

"We have professional victims advocates that sit with them and discuss maybe some of their concerns. And maybe some different options they hadn't thought of or different services available to them," said Scott.

Services like Sistercare, an agency that helps battered women and their children, helped the woman get a order of protection against her husband.

"Finally my eyes are opened and it took having him out of our lives to feel safe," said the woman.

In Richland County in last year, there were more than 1,254 domestic violence offenses -- 392 people were arrested -- 311 men and 81 women, and four people died as a result.

"Please come in and see us, just have a talk with us. Let's sit down and do it before things get too bad, okay?" said Scott.

The woman was sucked into the cycle of abuse, but found a turning point. Now she wants other women to believe they deserve better too.

"It's not normal to be in that situation," said the woman. "It's not a normal way of life. You don't have to accept it. You don't have to live in it. Because if you are, you need to leave. And know that you will make it. You will be okay. Because I never thought I would."

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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