Apr 012016

Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact. This can include words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent. Consent is voluntary, mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time. Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs. A person may use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence. Anyone can experience sexual violence, including children, teens, adults, and elders. Those who sexually abuse can be acquaintances, family members, trusted individuals, or strangers.


Sexual violence can happen in every community and affects people of all genders and ages. The impacts of sexual violence affect individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. Together, we can change the conditions that contribute to sexual violence. You can learn the facts about sexual violence and play an active role in changing misconceptions. Find more about sexual assault in South Carolina here, SC Sexual Assault Stats.

During the month of April SCCADVASA, in partnership with our Member Organizations, want to raise awareness of sexual violence in our communities. Member Organizations are hosting and sponsoring events across the state and they can be found on the Statewide Events page. Contact them directly if you would like to learn more about any specific event.

Join our voices as we remember victims, honor survivors and change the culture in which sexual violence is tolerated.

Check national organizations for additional resources for Sexual Assault Awareness Month:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

 Posted by on April 1, 2016 Blog, SC Says No More, Sexual Assault Comments Off on Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Join our voices to end sexual violence
Mar 232016

On Wednesday, March 16th South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault held its Annual General Meeting. The Annual Meeting gives an opportunity for the Coalition’s Member Organizations, Affiliate Members, donors and community members to come to gather for reflection on the previous year and to honor various champions in the movement to end violence against women. This year the Coalition awarded five individuals for their commitment to changing the culture of violence in SC and ensuring that all families are safe.

Congratulations to all the award winners and thank you to those who nominated them.

Midlands Regional Award Winner- Kayce Singletary
Nominated by Sarah Moran Nevarez

Low Country Regional Award Winner- Alexandra “Alex” Jeffery
Nominated by Janie Lauve

Criminal Justice Award Winner- Courtney Byers
Nominated by Shannon Lambert

Criminal Justice Award Winner- Megan Grisham
Nominated by Deborah Haney

Inaugural Visionary Voice Award Recipient- Jane Wiggins Thompson
Nominated by Dr. Dean Kilpatrick

We would like to thank those businesses and organizations that help make this a fantastic Annual Meeting; flowers donated by Trader Joe’s, Catering provided by Catering & Beyond, linens provided by Everlasting Impressions, awards made by Northeast Trophies and Awards, and the event location at Edventure.

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 Posted by on March 23, 2016 Blog Comments Off on 2016 Annual Meeting
Mar 022016

Everyone can play a role in ending domestic violence and sexual assault, and that’s what NO MORE Week is really about — getting individuals, organizations, or schools involved and engaged in helping to end domestic violence and sexual assault (DV/SA).

That’s why we’ve created a day-by-day guide to help you galvanize your community to take action!

Whether it’s participating in The NO MORE Challenge, creating a NO MORE Week postcard, or simply joining the NO MORE Excuses Twitter Chat, every action can — and will — look a little different and we welcome them all.

NO MORE Week of Action is March 6-12, so mark your calendar, and click the link below to view the NO MORE Week of Action 2016 guide.

NO MORE Week-of-Action Guide



#NOMOREexcuses for domestic violence & sexual assault.

Help kickoff #NOMOREWeek by joining USA Network’s ‘NO MORE Excuses’ Law & Order: SVU marathon starting at 3PM e/2c. Participate in the conversation by supporting the #NOMOREexcuses social media Thunderclap.

Join NO MORE and Verizon’s fundraising campaign benefiting organizations focused on ending DV/SA, The NO MORE Challenge. No matter how big or small, every donation will help life-saving programs win cash prizes totaling $150,000!



A movement of #MenToo

Watch Tony Porter’s TED Talk about engaging men. Use this graphic to invite others to join you.

Join Mary Kay & talk about the phrase #ManUp means to you on social media. Use this graphic to invite others to join you.

Launch a ‘Men Too’ Day focused on engaging men, as both bystanders and survivors. Host a screening of the documentary The Mask You Live Into help expand the definition of masculinity, using this screening guide.



#KNOWMORE about how domestic violence & sexual assault impacts ALL survivors

Read & share these blogs to help #KNOWMORE about the different barriers facing survivors of historically marginalized populations.

Launch a photo campaign or create your own public service announcement video to spotlight the voices of YOUR community. Some great examples can be seen here, here, and here.



Start #OneMore conversation to help prevent violence before it starts.

Take the pledge & share your commitment by inviting #OneMore person to join you.

Start a conversation with friends, family, coworkers, and your community. Use these tips to talk to kids & young people in your life about healthy relationships, or this guide for parents starting a conversation about teen dating violence.


Go blue to #ShowNOMORE

#ShowNOMORE by wearing the symbol & inviting your friends to join you. Add the NO MORE to your profile photo, your website, retail store window, or create your own NO MORE products.

Upload a picture (with your NO MORE sign) & tell us why you say NO MORE by creating a personalized postcard online. (Postcards submitted before NO MORE Week will be printed & delivered en masse to the real world to make an even bigger impact at #NOMOREWeek events across the country).



#NOMORE Bystanding

Watch & share the “Get Off The Sidelines” PSA to encourage others to take action

Host a bystander engagement training. (The Avon Foundation for Women’s free, online bystander trainings are a great place to start and/or reach out to your local organization here.)



#TogetherWeCan end domestic violence & sexual assault

Tune into Discovery ID’s #InspireADifference Marathon & join the conversation on Twitter to discuss ways to create change in your community.

Support lifesaving programs working year-round to end domestic violence & sexual assault in NO MORE’s fundraising challenge. Write the name of the organization you supported on this #NOMOREweek sign & share a picture with on social media. Tag at least 3 friends to join you.


 Posted by on March 2, 2016 Blog Comments Off on NO MORE Action Week March 6th-12th
Feb 262016

We spoke with the Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator, Katie Reid, about the changesVersion 2 to the Coalition’s Victim Service Provider Core Certification training. Currently SCCADVASA is in the process of revamping its VSP training. From changes to the overall structure to potential online modules, hear more about where the Coalition is headed with its VSP Core Certification training:





Find out more about the S.C. Office of Victim Services Education and Certification.

You can find registration for VSP and other SCCADVASA related trainings here: http://www.sccadvasa.org/training-events/ 



 Posted by on February 26, 2016 Blog Comments Off on Victim Service Provider Core Certification
Feb 052016


An Orange Ribbon represents Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

An Orange Ribbon represents Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

February has been designated as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). TDVAM is a national effort to raise awareness and protect teens from violence. SCCADVASA, its member organizations, and a growing number of schools statewide are committed to increasing awareness of teen dating violence by educating the public and students about healthy relationships. Adolescents and adults are often unaware how regularly dating violence occurs. One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults. In a 2015 study done by the University of New Hampshire, more than nine in 10 students said that they had at least one opportunity within the last year to intervene in situations of dating or sexual violence. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship. That is why it is never too early for prevention.

Prevention involves developing strategies that stop violence before it occurs. Prevention done in middle and high schools is very important. Those teens that are victims in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college. We encourage parents to talk with their teens about healthy relationships. Giving teens communication skills to talk with their partner, managing uncomfortable emotions like anger and jealousy, and treating others with respect are all ways in which educators and parents can talk with teens about keeping relationships healthy and non-violent. SCCADVASA member organizations are doing their part to reach students by providing prevention and intervention training to schools and communities.

Across the state SCCADVASA member organizations are working with communities and schools to reach more youth. Our member organization’s Community Educators are taking various approaches to reach teens at this crucial time in their lives. This includes providing an in-school educators’ prevention curriculum (Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands), using community members as mentors (Julie Valentine Center) and partnering with anti-violence programs (My Sister’s House). We are continually partnering and collaborating with schools to make sure that students understand the importance of healthy relationships, what these healthy relationships look like and that resources are available when those relationships start to become unhealthy.

You can find your local domestic or sexual violence organization that provides prevention education, SCCADVASA Member Organizations. Is there a program that focuses on teens you think could benefit from dating abuse prevention education? Are you willing to host or co-host an event for them? Is there a local domestic violence organization that works specifically with teens? Can you attend an event or volunteer a few hours? Open a dialogue with other adults, friends or parents in your community so more adults are aware of the realities of the issue, and have the tools and supports they need to engage the young people in their life.

Here are some national teen dating violence efforts that can provide additional resources and information:

Love is Respect

That’s Not Cool

Break the Cycle 


 Posted by on February 5, 2016 Blog Comments Off on Teen Dating Violence: Never Too Early for Prevention
Oct 012015

The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) is pleased to announce that Governor Nikki R. Haley has declared October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition of this proclamation, SCCADVASA urges citizens of South Carolina to join their voices and efforts with others around the nation to recognize the deadly impact of domestic violence in our communities. Domestic Violence Awareness Month calls attention to the importance of community collaboration and civic involvement to eradicate domestic violence and sexual assault.

South Carolina again ranked first in the nation for women murdered by men, with a rate of 2.32 per 100,000, according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) report When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data. This is the 18th year in a row that South Carolina has ranked in the top 10 states for the rate of women murdered by men and the fourth year in which our state has been identified as having the highest lethality rate by this count. The rate of 2.32 per 100,000 is over twice the national average of 1.09 per 100,000. Of the homicide victims who knew their offenders, 62% were murdered by a husband, common-law husband, ex-husband, or boyfriend. Further, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 71% of female victims were shot and killed with guns. This year’s report compiles and utilizes 2013 data, the most recent year for which data is available.

”The crime of domestic violence violates a person’s privacy, dignity, security and humanity through the systematic use of physical, sexual and/or psychological assault or abuse in order to exert control over that individual,” said Governor Haley in her proclamation released on September 29.

The statewide Domestic Violence Task Force convened by Governor Haley recently issued a report containing 50 recommendations for needed changes in the systemic and community response to the crime of domestic violence. In May, South Carolina’s Legislature passed reforms in domestic violence laws that aim to increase accountability for offenders, provides for state law prohibitions on the possession of firearms by anyone convicted of domestic violence and requires prevention education for students in our schools.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, equating to more than 10 million assaults each year. In South Carolina alone, more than 36,000 victims report domestic violence incidents annually to law enforcement statewide, according to the SC Attorney General’s office.

To learn more regarding Domestic Violence Awareness Month or to support your local domestic violence organization visit www.scsaysnomore.org.

Gov. Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation

 Posted by on October 1, 2015 Blog Comments Off on Governor Proclaims October Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Sep 152015


Newest study concludes women far more likely to be victimized in domestic settings than in any other location.

South Carolina again ranked first in the nation for women murdered by men, with a rate of 2.32 per 100,000, according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) report When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013Homicide Data

This is the 18th year in a row that South Carolina has ranked in the top 10 states for the rate of women murdered by men and the fourth year in which our state has been identified as having the highest lethality rate by this count. The rate of 2.32 per 100,000 is over twice the national average of 1.09 per 100,000.

This year’s report compiles and utilizes 2013 data, the most recent year for which data is available. The study covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report.

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other location.Purple SC

This year has seen South Carolina’s Legislature pass reforms in domestic violence laws that aim to increase accountability for offenders, provides for state law prohibitions on the possession of firearms by those who have been convicted of domestic violence and requires prevention education for students in our schools. In addition, the statewide Domestic Violence Task Force convened by Governor Nikki R. Haley recently issued a report containing 50 recommendations for needed changes in the systemic and community response to intimate partner violence.

To view the full report, please visit http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2015.pdf.


The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) is a statewide coalition made up of the 23 domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy programs in South Carolina.

 Posted by on September 15, 2015 Blog Comments Off on Violence Policy Center Again Ranks South Carolina #1 in Rate of Women Murdered by Men
Jul 202015

Me with the facilitators of the Lulu Project at my goodbye party

This week, almost 8,000 miles away, a group of almost 50 young women danced their way up the aisle of a church hall, making their lively entrance into their graduation ceremony. It is graduation time at the Lulu Project, a year-long peer education program in Mwanza, Tanzania, in which teen women learn from other young women just like them about life skills, personal and family health, and entrepreneurship. I became involved in the program in 2013 when I was living in the East African country of Tanzania. As a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Tanzania, I had been living in the city of Mwanza and working for a year at a Tanzanian NGO (non-government organization) called Kivulini. Kivulini (which in Swahili means “under the shade,” connoting the image of a safe place for women to meet) is a rights organization that educates about women’s rights in Tanzania and mobilizes communities to make change in the northwest of the country around Lake Victoria. I had been training staff to increase their capacity to run effective programs and assisting the agency to improve their human rights campaigns. Since Tanzania’s political and legal system is very “bottom-up” focused, Kivulini’s main approach is to educate local leaders to support victims of sexual and domestic violence. These are the first service providers faced by victims of crime and their success or failure can be helped or hindered at this very first step.

Me facilitating a workshop for Lulu facilitators on healthy relationships.

Before moving to Tanzania, I worked as Community Education Director at Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM), a Columbia-based rape crisis center serving four counties in South Carolina. As Education Director, I facilitated hundreds of workshops on a variety of topics related to sexual violence and domestic abuse and developed a violence prevention program. I became very skilled at answering difficult questions about sexual violence, its root causes, systemic barriers, and ways to support victims and prevent it from happening in the first place. Quite naively, I thought my experiences had adequately prepared me to work in any global context to prevent violence against women. Violence is violence, right? Yes, of course it is and yes, the root causes are the same – a subjugation of another’s power in order to exert one’s control over them. Certainly there are many similarities between what I saw in my work at STSM and at Kivulini: dismissive responses by some communities about the prevalence and realities of violence, victim-blaming statements, the insistence that people abuse because they love the victim and want to “correct” ill behaviors, the false belief that men are victims just as often as women are, or the use of religion or God to defend abuse, etc. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how the differences in social, cultural, economic, familial, and religious contexts drastically impact approaches to violence prevention and intervention. Furthermore, in this country of almost 50 million people, where domestic violence shelters are virtually nonexistent, where there is no real evidence collection protocol for victims of rape, and where female genital mutilation is still widely practiced in some tribes, I found myself unprepared to work to make change on a macro-level. That’s when I found Lulu.


Me with Elizabeth and Bahati, two of Lulu’s senior facilitators.

After being quite honest with myself that I just did not know enough about the culture to make sustainable and appropriate systemic change, I was compelled to work on a grass-roots level with young women themselves, to learn about their lives and the situations in which they live-the challenges and the joys-and to help them use the tools they inherently have to fight for changes in their country. Lulu, which means “pearl” in Swahili, works with over 200 girls in 8 neighborhoods around Mwanza to help young women appreciate that they are a treasure to their family and their community and to give them skills to improve their lives and the lives of their children. Due to a Tanzanian law that makes it illegal for pregnant girls to continue in school, thousands of unskilled, uneducated young mothers drop out each year, creating an abundance of women who are at higher risk of being forced into early marriage, more likely to be abused by a partner or spouse, and more likely to sell their bodies for money. This is a cycle that has repeated for generations all around the world. As co-coordinator of the Lulu Project, I got a first-hand education in violence prevention in the developing world. I saw a girl who cannot read or write start a small business of her own, earning the funds she needed to get out of an abusive relationship; I saw a woman who dropped out of 8th grade save money to build her family a safe, secure home; I saw shy young women who at first couldn’t look you in the eye transformed into proud leaders standing in front of local representatives demanding to be treated with respect. These women have a lot to celebrate as they dance at their graduation this week.

Me giving a speech at a Lulu graduation. The backs of the girls shirts say “Ushirikiano. Uthubutu. Ubinifu.” These are the three pillars of Lulu: cooperation, self-esteem, and creativity.

But I didn’t attend that graduation. I am back in the US now, back in South Carolina. As the new Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at SCCADVASA (the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault), I am back in a country where we have hundreds of rape crisis centers for victims of sexual assault, where there are laws protecting abused women from losing their children if they leave their abusive partner, and in a state where many hospitals and emergency rooms have specially-trained nurses to document and collect evidence from victims of rape. When I told my Tanzanian friends and colleagues that I was leaving and returning to the US to continue working in violence prevention, they were confused. Many people in Tanzania look to America as a place where we “have it all together,” where intimate partner violence just doesn’t exist. They point to all the services we have and all the wealth that our country displays and wonder why an organization such as SCCADVASA exists in the first place. For all the wonderful things about America and all the strides we have made in this field, we still have a far way to go. For example, even though we have a protocol for collecting evidence after a sexual assault (called a rape kit), across the country there is a big backlog of having these kits tested. In South Carolina we don’t know how many kits are being held by law enforcement; therefore, we don’t have an accurate understanding of how big the problem is nor of how we can work to improve systemic responses that will improve outcomes for survivors and increase accountability for offenders. Also, many agencies that work with children, such as the Department of Social Services and others need to incorporate and improve systems to screen for domestic violence and the effects of trauma on children. Because our state lacks a unified system for collecting statics on various sexual and domestic abuses it’s impossible to get an accurate picture of how vast a problem this is, let alone to demand for the services that victims in this state need and deserve.

As Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at SCCADVASA, I look forward to working with others in this field as we fight to tackle these and many other pressing issues in our state. Since 1981 SCCADVASA has been a leader in representing the critical needs of survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and their families by influencing public policy, advocating for social change, and building the capacity of member programs, organizations and communities across the state. I will be using my experiences from my grassroots and macro work both in the US and in Tanzania and will be bringing them home to create a safer and more just South Carolina.

 Posted by on July 20, 2015 Blog Comments Off on Finding Lulu: The Tanzanian Connection
Jun 082015

Each year the SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault gather advocates, member organizations and the community to hold its Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting is conducted every year to
honor the programs and staff that work with victims and survivors. This year, the Annual Meeting introduced new staff members, reviewed 2014 as a coalition and gave awards to advocates across the state.



SCCADVASA Board Chair Eddy Weinberg opened this year’s Annual Meeting with lunch provided by the Brookland Banquet and Conference Center. Sara Barber, Executive Director, reviewed her first year as Executive Director of the organization and introduced our new staff members, Valerie Ekue and Katie Reid, followed by a video that reviewed some key moments, key events and key people from the previous year.

Leslie H. Sims Distinguished Humanitarian Award Winner Patrick Anderson

Leslie H. Sims Distinguished Humanitarian Award Winner Patrick Anderson

The highlight of every Annual Meeting is the presentation of awards to survivors, allies and advocates. Each year our member organizations nominate volunteers, advocates and allies whose work impact victims, survivors and families of victims and survivors. This year we were honored to award Male Ally Advocate of the Year
 to Christan Rainey who was nominated by Elmire Raven of My Sister’s House; Criminal Justice Advocate of the Year to Detective J. B. Kelley who was nominated by Shannon Lambert of the Pickens County Advocacy Center; Media Professional Advocate of the Year to
 The Post & Courier who was nominated by both Elmire Raven of My Sister’s House and Becky Callaham of Safe Harbor; Volunteer Advocate of the Year to 
Donna Reiss; Underserved Communities Advocate of the Year to Virginia Vedilago who was nominated by Elmire Raven; Faith Community Advocate of the Year to Theresa Roberts who was nominated by Kristin Dubrowski of CODA; Healthcare Professional Advocate of the Year to Kelli Clune who was nominated by Marlene Evans of SAFE Homes Rape Crisis Coalition; Elected Official Advocate of the Year to Senator Katrina Shealy nominated by Sara Barber of SCCADVASA and the Leslie H. Sims Distinguished Humanitarian Award to
Patrick Anderson who was nominated by Sarah Moran Nevarez of Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands.

All photos from the event can be found on our Facebook page!


 Posted by on June 8, 2015 Blog Comments Off on SCCADVASA’s 2015 Annual Meeting

Apr 222015



Join us Monday, April 27th at 6pm! Attorney General Alan Wilson and SC Senator Katrina Shealy already committed. We have invited all members of the Lexington County Legislative Delegation to serve as panelists.

 Permalink  Posted by on April 22, 2015 Blog Comments Off on
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