Domestic Violence is a Community Problem, Requiring a Community Solution
May 25, 2012
The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) sends our condolences to the families of Merlene Nesmith Martin of Andrews, Lynn Carlisle of Aiken, Shaquanah Jones-Brannon of Lee-Batesburg, Tyrone Hamilton of Jasper, and Ginger Anne Martinez of Gilbert —each of whom were killed at the hands of a current or former partner.
As we mourn the loss of these victims, and remember the family members, friends, and children who are suffering, it’s important that we also recognize the severity of these crimes. These were not simply “domestic incidents” or “domestic disputes”—they were domestic violence homicides.
Pamela Jacobs, Executive Director, SCCADVASA said, “Domestic violence is not a ‘domestic issue’ - it is a pattern of using emotional, mental, and physical violence to establish power and control over an intimate partner. A ‘dispute’ did not lead to these deaths. The abusers in these relationships made a series of choices: they chose to use violence against their partners, and then chose to kill their partners and themselves when this control was threatened. We must change the language we use to describe domestic violence and domestic violence homicide to accurately reflect the seriousness of the crime, and to ensure we are holding abusers accountable—before they become murderers.”
Tragically, domestic violence and domestic violence homicide are not uncommon in South Carolina. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson identified domestic violence as the number one crime issue in the state, and noted that more than 36,000 victims report a domestic violence incident to law enforcement statewide. Additionally, the Violence Policy Center in Washington, DC, identified South Carolina as 7th in the nation for the number of women killed by men.
Member programs of SCCADVASA offer local domestic violence services throughout the state, from individual advocacy or support groups to emergency shelter. Victims, family, and friends can call these programs with questions, requests for support, or help with safety planning. In 2011, SACCADVASA’s 13 domestic violence member programs across South Carolina provided shelter to approximately 1,800 adults and 1,300 children. They also provided non-shelter services—including counseling, court advocacy, and support services—to about 12,000 women, 6,000 children, and 800 men, and answered over 28,000 hotline calls.
Domestic violence is not a private issue affecting only the people in the relationship. The impact of this crime also ripples throughout the entire community, as those who witnessed the most public of these murders would surely tell you.
So what can communities do to reduce domestic violence? SCCADVASA encourages communities to understand that everyone has a responsibility to stop domestic violence, both by intervening early and by being aware of how we talk about this issue. Here are some ways we can all help stop this horrific crime:
· Believe victims. It’s important that we listen when someone says their partner is controlling them, being extremely jealous, threatening them, or abusing them in any way. We must take these allegations seriously. Believe victims, and then put them in touch with an advocacy program close to them. These programs can provide safety, resources, and help with creating a safety plan.
· Challenge abusive and controlling behavior at all levels. Abusers believe they have a right to control their partner. To get the message across that this is not ok, we must intervene much earlier. We have to start intervening with the 14-year-old boy who wants to control who his girlfriend talks to. We have to teach children and teens that a healthy relationship does not involve control or possessiveness. If we start teaching people early about healthy relationships, we can help prevent domestic violence in the future. It’s important that we hold people accountable for all abusive behavior—early and often—before it’s too late.
· Look for warning signs: extreme jealousy, isolation, controlling what someone does or who they talk to, verbal abuse, insults and put downs. In a healthy relationship, your partner should appreciate who you are, and encourage you to have your own friends, hobbies, and interests. If you are being abused or controlled, it is not your fault, and there is help available. And if you are abusing someone, it is not ok. And there is help available for you, as well.
· Recognize the power of words. Victims of domestic violence know the abuser better than anyone else, and will take many actions to increase their safety—even if these actions don’t always make sense to us at the time. Rather than continuing to tell victims what to do, or questioning their actions, we need to focus on the person committing the crime—the abuser. Instead of asking why she stays, we need to ask him why he continues to abuse.
As Pamela Jacobs, Executive Director of SCCADVASA, said, “It’s time we stop telling victims what to do, and start telling abusers what not to do. If we all take a stand, we can end domestic violence. We can save lives.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can connect you with advocacy services in your area: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
If you would like to get involved in ending domestic violence in your community, reach out to your local domestic violence program. Visit http://sccadvasa.org/or call (803) 256-2900 to find your local program, or to learn more about domestic violence.
PRESS STATEMENT - DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS MORE THAN A "DOMESTIC INCIDENT"
For Immediate Release
May 18, 2012
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS MORE THAN A "DOMESTIC INCIDENT": RECENT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOMICIDES HIGHLIGHT NEED TO TAKE THIS CRIME SERIOUSLY
This week, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) is saddened by the shooting deaths of two women in South Carolina, both at the hands of a husband or boyfriend. On Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 48-year-old Merlene Nesmith Martin was shot and killed by Christopher White on the side of a road near Andrews. White then killed himself. And, on Thursday, May 17, Lynn Carlisle was killed, apparently by her former husband, Craig Jarvis in Aiken. Jarvis was then shot during a firefight with Aiken Public Safety, and died in surgery on Thursday afternoon.
We were also saddened to see reports depicting these as "domestic incidents." Pamela Jacobs, Executive Director, SCCADVASA said, "Tragically, domestic violence homicide is not uncommon in South Carolina. Our state is 7th in the nation for the number of women killed by men. However, when we refer to situations such as these as 'domestic incidents,' we downplay the serious and too frequently deadly nature of domestic violence."
SCCADVASA stresses the importance of treating domestic violence for what it is, a crime of violence. It is critical that we hold abusers accountable for their violence, before it reaches a deadly level. And it's critical that we offer support and help to victims. Member programs of SCCADVASA offer local domestic violence services throughout the state, from individual advocacy or support groups to emergency shelter. Victims, family, and friends can call these programs with questions, requests for support, or help with safety planning.
Pamela Jacobs added, “We offer our condolences to the families of Lynn Carlisle and Merlene Martin, and are sorry to see two more South Carolina women killed by domestic violence perpetrators. We also offer our condolences to the families of Christopher White and Craig Jarvis. We look forward to a day when domestic violence is taken seriously, when abusers are held accountable for their actions, and when every woman, child, and man is safe in her or his own home."
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can connect you with advocacy services in your area: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). For more information about domestic violence, contact SCCADVASA at (803) 256-2900 or visit us online at http://sccadvasa.org.
April 25, 2012 was Denim Day!
Denim Day began in the 1990s, after a young woman was blamed for being raped. In 1992, an 18-year-old girl in Italy was raped by her driving instructor. She pressed charges and won. The instructor appealed to the Italian High Court. In 1999, the court overturned the conviction, stating that since the victim was wearing jeans, the instructor could not have removed them himself, therefore the victim must have participated. Women of the Italian legislature protested the decision by wearing jeans. As the news of the decision spread, so did the protest. In April 1999, the first Denim Day was established in the United States.
Today, nearly one in five women and one in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime. And a sexual assault is committed every two minutes in the United States. Often, victims are further traumatized by the blame and criticism they receive from friends, family, and systems. This blame not only puts victims in further danger, it allows perpetrators to escape accountability, thereby furthering the prevalence of sexual assault.
Together, we can support victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and end sexual violence in South Carolina.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month - Day of Action
In South Carolina, EVERY day is a Day of Action Against Sexual Assault! SC Attorney General Alan Wilson to speak at Statehouse Event to kickoff Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. In South Carolina, SCCADVASA will kick off SAAM on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, with a Day of Action dedicated to showing the hard work that goes on every day in our state to prevent, treat, and heal sexual violence. SC Attorney General Alan Wilson will be present to recognize services provided to sexual assault victims across the state every day.
CDC Survey Finds Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Widespread in the U.S.
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