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.