Advocates remember domestic violence victims and push for change

Published: Oct. 3, 2016 at 11:46 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - People across the Midlands will speak out against abuse as the nation recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Tuesday, October 4th, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson hosts the 19th annual Silent Witness Ceremony at the State House. He'll call the name of each victim killed by domestic violence from 2015 and a life-sized silhouette will be placed on the State House steps in memory of each.
Last year's ceremony recognized 39 South Carolinians. That number was slightly down from 2013 when 46 people were killed in South Carolina at the hands of an intimate partner, which was lower than the 2012 total of 48.
While those numbers are slowly declining, the AG's office holds this ceremony each year to remind that domestic violence continues to be a serious problem in the state.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, South Carolina had the highest rate of women murdered by men in the U.S in 2011, which was more than double the national average.
Survivor and author Tricia Pollard has recorded her story alongside other female survivors in her anthology Diamonds from the Rough.
"For those of you who are survivors, hold your head high and share with others, so that's not a dirty little secret you hold above your head. It's not your fault. You know, you're still living. And as long as you still have breath in your body, you can accomplish anything," said Pollard.
She said we should encourage and make it easy for people in a violent situation to seek help.  
"I say be verbal about it. If you're being abused, go and tell somebody. You're not alone. You don't have to be alone. I don't care if you're threatened that if you tell someone that they'll kill you, or, you know, there is a way out," said Pollard.
The Attorney General's office has two different programs to encourage the same.
It's Pro Bono Program was launched in 2004 to encourage private attorneys to take on domestic violence cases. Since its inception, the program's handled more than 500 cases.
S.T.O.P. Violence against Women focuses on prosecution and training for law enforcement. Both programs encourage awareness and making a safe environment for victims to seek help.
Tuesday's Silent Witness ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m.

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