Published on October 7th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
Take A Stand Against Domestic Violence
By: Tameika Isaac Devine, Columbia City Councilwoman At-Large
As Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins, I have taken a moment to reflect on the current status of domestic violence in our state. This is an epidemic that plagues our community, city and state. South Carolina is currently ranked #2 in the nation for the rate of women killed by men. We can no longer afford to ignore the facts.
The facts are hard to face and there are numerous statistics out there, but let me paint a small picture of just how widespread domestic violence is in our state and nation.
- According to Sistercare’s 2013 annual report, the organization served 7,161 adults and children just in the Midlands.
- In 2011, SCCADVASA’s domestic violence member programs across the state provided shelter to approximately 1,800 adults and 1,300 children.
- The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.
- According to the CDC, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (e.g., hit with a fist or something hard, beaten, etc.) at some point in their lifetime.
Domestic violence knows no barriers, and these numbers are alarming. However, we must remember that this is what has only been reported. Many domestic violence cases go unreported because victims may be afraid to get others involved.
Domestic violence rates are not decreasing; in fact, we are seeing an increase across the board for intimate partner violence. The increase in violence towards women, children and men of all races is reaffirming that we need to take action now.
Education is a key component in the effort to end domestic violence. I highly encourage you to talk with your spouse or partner, children, friends and family about maintaining healthy, stable relationships. Urge your children’s educators to incorporate healthy relationship values, effects of dating violence and creating healthy lifestyles into their curriculum. You can take small steps by attending rallies, forming support groups and supporting your local domestic violence organization.
The time is now for both our city and our state. Together, we can transform our communities so that our children and future generations never have to live in fear. We can create safe environments to nurture our future leaders. We need a committed effort to help end this epidemic. The reality is that this will not get better until we begin to act and show our children what love and respect should look like.
I call to action all those who see and feel the effects of domestic violence to take a stand with me and make a promise to start building healthy relationships and help end domestic violence. We can create a unified and systematic approach in creating these safe environments and make huge strides in ending the violence.
Your first step in taking action can be joining me on Saturday, October 11 at 9 a.m. in Finlay Park for the 8th annual Mayor’s Walk Against Domestic Violence.
The walk is a time to listen, learn and reflect on what domestic violence is doing to our communities. The walk is free and a platform to show abusers that Columbia is a unified force in standing up and speaking out against domestic violence.
I strongly believe in the people of Columbia to pull together to end domestic violence. One day, you may end up being someone’s advocate or lifeline.
For more information about the City of Columbia’s Domestic Violence Task Force or the Mayor’s Walk Against Domestic Violence, please visit www.columbiasc.net or call (803) 545-3020.