MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The Mount Pleasant Police Department (MPPD) knows domestic violence awareness is not just important in the month of October.
“We deal with this everyday of the week, every month, every year. Unfortunately, we deal with domestic situations. So, we want people to know we are here, we have resources, and we will do what we can to help them on the journey,” says Ruth Tocco, a Victim Advocate with MPPD.
Despite this milestone, the Mount Pleasant Police Department sees a new case almost everyday. Their goal this October was to share stories of survivors, spread awareness and raise money for the non-profit Liza’s Lifeline.
Recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month this year is a particular milestone for the state of South Carolina. For the 1st time since the 1990’s, South Carolina is no longer in the top 10 states of women killed by domestic violence.
Inspector Donald Calabrese says this year has been more impactful than ever before. In addition to sharing resources on social media wearing purple t-shirts underneath their uniforms; he and a few collogues recorded an episode of MPPD’s new podcast.
“We sat down and had a good conversation about domestic violence from a police officer’s perspecive; and of course from the advocate and civilian perspective,” says Calabrese.
One of the biggest topics of conversation during the last few weeks has been how impactful educating someone on domestic violence can be. Lindsey Schwenk, a mental health advocate, says sometimes hearing someone else’s story can prevent someone from becoming a victim.
“The smallest thing in one person’s story may be that sort of lightbulb moment for people to help them realize that they’re in one of those situations,” says Schwenk.
Moving forward, MPPD knows that South Carolina still has a long way to go when it comes to domestic violence. Their hope, especially in Mount Pleasant, is letting the community know that they have advocates willing to help and fight for them, regardless of their situation.
These ladies can be reached with or without the presence of a police officer. Monica Kropp believes one of the benefits of her role as a victim advocate is being able to connect and build trust with the person she’s trying to help.
“Sometimes they get intimidated with a police officer and you know, we don’t come in the uniform or anything like that. We come in and just talk like we’re everyday people,” says Kropp.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can call the hotline at 800-799-7233. For more information on the resources offered by the Mount Pleasant Police Department, click here.