September 29, 2021 – According to the Violence Policy Center’s 2021 When Men Murder Women annual study, South Carolina has moved to 6th in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men according to 2019 data. And, aside from last year’s ranking, South Carolina has been in the top ten since VPC began releasing this report in 1998.
We know that domestic violence thrives in silence. According to the report, for homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 92 percent were murdered by someone they knew with 65 percent being wives, common-law wives, ex-wives or girlfriends.
It’s high time we irrevocably remove the stigma that continues to keep domestic violence hidden and dramatically increase the visibility of this issue. We must also prioritize education and prevention to ultimately change the culture by moving away from outdated and harmful gender stereotypes that do nothing except perpetuate violence against women.
Moreover, the fact that among the female intimates who were murdered, 84 percent were killed with guns and 70 percent were killed with handguns further emphasizes the need for all of us, especially our elected leaders, to take a hard look at the role that firearms play in intimate partner homicide. Access to a gun makes it five times more likely that the abusive partner will kill his female victim and significant gaps remain that allow abusers to continue to have access to guns.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, firearms were purchased in record numbers and this, combined with the financial and economic stresses of a global pandemic, should be cause for alarm as we anticipate what these statistics might look like for 2020 and 2021.
As we begin Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are once again reminded of South Carolina’s terrible legacy as one of the most dangerous states for women. And while SCCADVASA, our member programs, and other allies continue our work in prevention and advocacy, we reiterate that in order for our state to move towards a brighter and safer future, we cannot do it alone.
Domestic violence impacts families, businesses, communities, and the economy. If we are ever to experience real and lasting change, must all work together – communities, parents, educators, elected officials, and advocates.
To learn more about SCCADVASA and ways to support survivors visit www.sccadvasa.org.