The following Perspective is an expression of opinion by the Editorial Board at WIS and presented by General Manager Donita Todd.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this abuse is pervasive in our state. South Carolina is the #1 state in homicides of women by men according to the most recent Violence Policy Center's annual report on domestic violence. This report was based on statistics from 2011 showing that 61 women in our state were killed by men, including high-profile murders right here in the Midlands. These statistics are moving in the wrong direction. We were #2 in the last report.
Domestic violence knows no boundaries. Not by gender, economic status, age or race. It's verbal, psychological and physical abuse, and now includes teenage dating and digital abuse, that's harassment and abuse by cell phone, text messaging and other social media. The recent "Silent Awareness" ceremony gave chilling testimony to the victims of domestic violence, but also featured uplifting stories of survival, recovery and victory over this abuse.
We must all take a position on this issue, raise awareness and act against this abuse. The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence recommends several actions we can take to curb this problem, but most importantly, these violent offenders must be given the maximum punishment allowed by law. If we don't have strong enforcement of these laws, we will never effectively reduce our domestic violence homicide rates.
That's my perspective. Let me hear from you.