Domestic violence survivor supports efforts by the state to better supervise offender

Domestic violence survivor supports efforts by the state to better supervise offender

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - One Midlands survivor of domestic violence who was shot in the head in the middle of the night by her husband says she supports changes announced by the state this week to better supervise domestic violence offenders.

It means that there will be 20 new agents being added across the state specifically trained to handle domestic violence cases.

It's an issue that is unique to South Carolina. For the last two decades, South Carolina has ranked among the top five for its high number of domestic violence cases.

Megan Harmon, a domestic violence survivor, said her husband was not always abusive but, "he had a horrific accident and became addicted to Oxycontin. This was the man that I married. He was my best friend, my confidante – everything to me."

Not long after his growing addiction to prescription pills, Harmon said things turned physical.

"One night when I came home from a charity event, I was in full formal attire, and I walked in the door and he punched me in the face like a man," Harmon explained.

She said that's when the circle of abuse began.

"The violence occurs then it's 'oh baby, I'm sorry. Let's make up. It'll never happen again.' The honeymoon phase, then it will start with the verbal abuse and then escalate to where 'I have to punch something,'" Harmon explained.

To say things escalated one night in December of 2011 would be an understatement.

"He shot me in the back of the head when I was sleeping," Harmon said.

"Statistics show that a person who is in a household with a gun is eight times more likely to be killed," Peter O'Boyle, the Public Information Director with the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services said.

Harmon's husband John Madden is now behind bars convicted of attempted murder. Should he earn parole he'll join hundreds of others in the state.

"They've usually had at least one or two convictions prior to them arriving at us. So, they're serious offenders and they need very close supervision," says O'Boyle.

This is why the state is adding 20 new specially trained agents, in response to the state's growing number of domestic violence offenders. The number that has increased by more than 120 percent in the last two years.

"I know everyone deserves a second chance but at least with a little more supervision and counseling, with the proper guidance," Harmon said. "Hopefully, this can come to an end."

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