CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The 24th Silent Witness ceremony was held to honor the lives lost to domestic violence. Attorney General Alan Wilson read the names of the 24 women and 15 men killed in domestic violence incidents in 2020.
“I need my mom to be there for my wedding day. I need my mom to be there for when I go to college. I need my mom to be there if I want to be a nurse like her,” says Emma Taylor, who’s mother was killed in 2020.
39 silhouettes were used during the ceremony, representing men and women who lost their lives to domestic violence in 2020. Emma came to event honoring her mother and says she was saddened to see so many other families experiencing the same devastation she is.
“Someone’s child is here, someone’s wife, or daughter,” Emma says.
Doctors at MUSC say for the last 20 plus years, South Carolina has a nationwide reputation for its high rate of domestic violence incidents.
“South Carolina has been in the top 10 with the exception of last year of the most murders of women from men related to intimate partner violence,” Karen Hughes, a Forensic Nurse at MUSC.
The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault says statistics show that almost 5,000 crisis calls are received throughout the state for victims in need of help, but lowcountry agencies like the Palmetto Hope Network says, many calls go unnoticed due to victims in fear.
“Those are the ones that have called law enforcement agencies. There are often individuals that reach out to other programs that we don’t know about,” says Alicia Raheem-Kennedy, Domestic Outreach Coordinator with Palmetto Hope Network.
Alicia says that no one should suffer in silence and encourages victims to come forward.
“You can reach out to various numbers and law enforcement will help you find an connect with agencies like My Sister’s House and our agency,” Alicia says.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office has also received a $32 million grant to help crime victims. A portion of that money is also being allocated specifically for victims of domestic violence in South Carolina.