New SC Domestic Violence Task Force holds meeting at Technical C - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

New SC Domestic Violence Task Force holds meeting at Technical College of the Lowcountry

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Domestic abuse is a serious issue in South Carolina, and Gov. Nikki Haley's task force against domestic violence sent representatives to the Technical College of the Lowcountry on Monday to listen to the experiences of several women whose lives were forever changed because of domestic abuse.

The task force wants to let victims of domestic abuse know that they have a voice and support in their state government.

"You can do this the hard way or the easy way, but either way, you're going to die tonight."

Anna Zweede is a survivor. She was also a victim, but she chooses to live each day as a survivor, helping others whose lives are affected by domestic violence.

Her story is one of many, shared by those in the Lowcountry and across South Carolina.

"Domestic Violence used to be such a private issue, but now that we are finally talking about it, to keep that momentum, keep talking about it and make change in South Carolina," she said.

That's exactly what the task force hopes to do by understanding where the gaps are in the system and how to better educate all those involved.

"We need to stop victim blaming and hold abusers accountable, including taking firearms away from abusers,” said Zweede. “I also feel that we need mandatory education for all those who are working with victims of domestic violence."

CODA (Citizens Opposed to Domestic Violence) provides help to more than 600 survivors and children every year in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties.

"Gov. Haley recognizes domestic violence as a major problem, so looking at different ways to address that and for us in the Lowcountry, Beaufort County ranks 10th out of South Carolina's 46 counties for the number of total victims, not homicide but overall victims of domestic violence, it is a huge issue for us," said Kristin Dubrowski.

And the issue is can only be brought to light by speaking out.

"I hope that by hearing these stories, it puts a face with domestic violence," Zweede said.

Right now, the South Carolina House and Senate are proposing bills that would give harsher penalties to those guilty of these crimes, and the task force will continue gathering input from around the state and report on their finding to Gov. Haley in May.

For more information about Gov. Haley's task force, visit here

Copyright 2015 WTOC. All rights reserved.
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