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Friday, June 27, 2014

Help Fight Violence Against Women

I live in beautiful South Carolina, famous for its ocean beaches, sparkling lakes, acres of forest, and spectacular mountain vistas. But my state has one very ugly statistic—we rank first/worst in the nation in violence against women by males. The offenders are predominately spouses, boyfriends, ex-lovers, or other family members.

In 2011, 61 South Carolina women were reportedly killed by men. According to the Violence Policy Center, females in our state were murdered by males at a rate of 2.54 per 100,000—more than double the national average.

Of course, South Carolina doesn’t have an exclusive franchise on such violence. This worldwide problem includes sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and dating violence. There are victims in every age group from sexually abused children to battered elders. International efforts often use the term “gender based violence.”

World-wide efforts have begun to include men and boys in the campaign to end violence against women. In my state, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, a coalition of 22 domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy programs, is bringing educational programs into the state’s schools to teach children of all ages about personal boundaries and conflict resolution without violence. The intent is to change a male mindset that violence against women is acceptable.

Of course, this organization and others are also working to help victims. In Oconee County, SC, a new Safe Harbor home has adopted a five-year outreach plan that encompasses counseling, shelter care, post-shelter care, advocacy and education – all meant to promote the mission of serving victims of domestic violence and their children.

In addition to cash donations these organizations often welcome household goods and supplies, and also clothing, ranging from diapers to career wear appropriate for women to wear on job interviews.

What organizations are providing educational services and assistance to victims in your home state? If you don’t know, please take the time to find out.


8 comments:

Ashantay Peters said...

Thanks for raising this difficult topic. People who respect one another's need for self-expression generally reject violence as a communication method. Perhaps we've forgotten that basic respect for others is not a legislative "right." Rather, showing respect is integral to life. All life. So much easier to criticize and abuse, though, isn't it? Best wishes for the Safe Harbor home. I hope that soon it is unneeded because the domestic violence has ended.

Linda Lovely said...

Wise words, Ashantay. The Safe Harbor house is much needed today. I hope the need decreases, but in the meantime I hope many people contribute.

Diana McCollum said...

The statistics you quoted are horrible. Glad your state is doing outreach to boys, males of all ages. The Safe House is definitely a worthy cause. Domestic Violence is a horrible thing.

Linda Lovely said...

Our local Sisters in Crime chapter had the director of a program combating domestic abuse as a guest speaker. She says it starts in junior high and high school with boys roughing up girlfriends--and the girls taking it!

Judith Ashley said...

Where I live there are several programs and DV shelters. Our chapter brings donations for a DV shelter in a smaller community outside of Portland.

Also the Portland Public Schools has a great program where high school students go into the elementary school and do presentations (skits, etc.) about bullying, solving problems by talking, etc.

At my granddaughters' elementary school, they had a "Peacekeeper" program where they taught students intervention techniques, etc. (and when to go get an adult). My youngest was awarded a Peacekeeper pencil (yep #2 with Peacekeeper printed on it) that was better than straight "A's" in my book.

So glad SC is being proactive!

Linda Lovely said...

Judith, sounds like a great program. I may see if our Sisters in Crime chapter wants to bring donations for the shelter in Greenville, SC. I know several of our members already donate.

Judith Ashley said...

We bring donations to the Holiday Party instead of doing a gift exchange. Sort of cool to take a trunk or van load of donations all at once! When I closed a part of my business, I went through and donated a bunch of office stuff, tucked in a ream of paper I think, added cards I'd got from organizations that wanted my donations - added money for stamps. It was so much easier giving these things away because I knew they were needed.

Robin Weaver, Author of Blue Ridge Fear said...

Interesting, and alarming, post, Linda. As horrible as the statistics are, really glad you brought it to the web's attention.

In Charlotte, one of the local women's shelters is self-supported by running a thrift store. Sometimes you can help stop the violence simply by donating your old clothing. I agree with Linda, if you don't know how you can help, find out.