COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, volunteers, and others held the 24th Annual Silent Witness Ceremony at the State House Tuesday morning.
Officials said at least 39 people died due to domestic violence in South Carolina.
Attorney General Wilson read the names of 24 women and 15 men. Relatives held up life-size silhouettes to honor their loved ones.
Emma Taylor’s mother Julie was killed in 2020. She said losing her mother has been difficult. “I need mom to be there for my wedding day, the day I go to college, and the day I become a nurse like here,” Emma said.
She said during the ceremony she became emotional seeing the number of people who have been impacted by domestic violence. Emma said, “I was just like wow – this is an every day thing. This is someone’s child here, wife, son, daughter, or family member.”
Valeria Watkins lost her goddaughter and her son to domestic violence last year as well. Watkins said Sharekia Johnson was staying with her so she would not be near her abuser.
Watkins said to remember Johnson she’s started a ministry and wants to establish programs for abuse victims in the York County area.
Watkins said, “Don’t be afraid. Let someone know. We are listening. There is a way out.”
Attorney General Wilson said it’s important to remember domestic violence affects people from all walks of life and more needs to be done to break the cycle of abuse.
He said, “We need to get out there and let people know there is a bridge out there from victimhood to survivorship.”