Family, friends honor victims of domestic violence at the State House for Silent Witness Ceremony

Updated: Oct. 1, 2019 at 5:54 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Tuesday morning, 7-year-old Darriyana honored her mother Ashley Blackmon on the steps of the South Carolina State House.

Blackmon died in November 2018. She’s one of the 41 South Carolinians who lost their lives as the result of domestic violence last year.

The Attorney General's Office says the victims include 30 women and 11 men from across the state.

Tuesday, the Attorney General's Office held the 22nd annual Silent Witness Domestic Violence ceremony.

Attorney General Alan Wilson read the names of all 41 victims as friends and family held up silhouettes in their memory. He said, "When I see each of those silhouettes march out on to the State House steps, it represents a life that was ended and a number of lives that were destroyed."

Darriyana's grandmother, Tonya Blackmon, held up the silhouette with her. Darriyana spoke with WIS after the ceremony. She said, "We got to show people how much we care about my mom."

According to law enforcement, Jamel Rasun Dow was arrested and charged with Blackmon's death.

Tonya said, “She was a great mom. She raised her daughter on her own. She worked every day. Then she met this guy and five months later he killed her.”

According to the Violence Policy Center, South Carolina has the fifth-highest homicide rate among females murdered by males in the country.

"If anyone is in this situation, get out before you're in the same situation my daughter was. Because you'll have to leave behind a kid like my daughter did," Tonya said.

The Attorney General’s Office said they are working on preventive measures like education to help break the cycle of domestic violence.

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