Domestic Abuse

"South Carolina Ranks #5 in the Nation for Women Killed by Men"

domestic-abuse-help-7According to "When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2014 Homicide Data” released today by the Violence Policy Center in Washington, DC, South Carolina ranks #5 in the nation for the number of women killed by men.

South Carolina was ranked #1 in the nation according to the previous Violence Policy Center report. This announcement coincides with the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States, which is recognized in October. Despite the drop in ranking, South Carolina continues to place in the top 10 states in the nation, and has done so since these reports were first issued.

This report is based on information obtained from the most recent Supplementary Homicide Report (SHI) data submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The numbers for 2014 are the most recent statistics available, and the ranking is calculated according to the homicide rate per 100,000 people in the state.

43 females were murdered by males in South Carolina in 2014, a total of 1.73 per 100,000. Two of the victims were less than 18 years old.  Six of the female homicide victims were 65 years of age or older, and the average homicide victim age was 44 years old. Of these victims, 18 were black and 25 were white.

For those homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 93% of reported homicides (37 out of 40) were murdered by someone they knew. Of the homicide victims who knew their offenders, 62% (23 victims) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & SEXUAL ASSAULT SUPPORT GROUPS

Safe Passage, Inc. hosts a weekly educational support group for both Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault survivors. These groups are free of cost, and you do not have to be a client of Safe Passage, Inc. to participate in either group. Childcare may also be provided, as long as it is specified beforehand. If you know someone that could benefit from group, please inform them of these opportunities. If you have any questions or concerns about either group, please refer to the necessary contact:

DeNea Means,
DV Support Group Leader
dmeans@safepassagesc.org
803-329-3336

6 Early Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

When we think of abusive relationships, we often picture black eyes and broken bones. But while abuse often escalates to physical violence, it does not start out that way. In fact, abusers are often charming, attentive, and sweet in the beginning of a relationship. An abuser will work to make you feel so appreciated and loved, you won't even notice he is controlling you -- sometimes, until it's too late. But, there are warning signs we can look out for, to help us spot an abusive relationship, before it goes too far.

  1. He will romance you. He will buy you flowers and gifts. He will likely be the most romantic man you have ever met. He will pay attention to you and make you feel special and wanted. You may find yourself thinking that he is too good to be true -- because he is. He needs you to trust him and develop feelings for him, because it is much easier to control someone who loves you. He will make you feel like you are his entire world -- because he wants your world to revolve around him. Of course, just being romantic is not necessarily a sign of abuse. But, an abuser will often use these gifts and romance to distract you from other concerning behaviors, such as control and jealousy.
  2. He will want to commit -- quickly. He will say that it's love at first sight, that you are made for each other, and that he can't imagine his life without you. He will sweep you off your feet, and tell you he has never loved anyone this much. He will insist on being exclusive right away, and will likely want to move in together, or even get married, very quickly. He needs you to love him, and to belong to him. You may feel like the relationship is moving too quickly -- trust your instincts.
  3. He will want you all to himself. He will glare at other men for looking at you and question you about your male friends. You may think this jealousy is cute, or even loving -- at first. But soon, he'll make you feel guilty for spending time with friends or family. He will call or text you several times a day, and may accuse you of flirting or cheating. He will say he loves you so much, he can't stand the thought of anyone else being near you. And soon, no one else will be. This is the beginning of isolation.
  4. He will be very concerned about you. He may get upset if you don't call him back right away or if you come home late. He will say it's because he worries about you. He will start to question who you saw, where you went, and what you were doing. He will mask his control as concern for your well-being. He will start to make decisions for you -- who you spend time with and where you go -- and claim to know what's best for you. Soon, you'll be asking his approval for every decision. Your control over your own life will slip away, as his power and control grows.
  5. He will be sweet and caring -- sometimes. He will be the sweet, loving man who everyone else sees, and who you fell in love with. But, sometimes, he will become the man who puts you down, makes you feel guilty, and isolates you. He will make you believe that if you just did something differently, loved him more, or treated him better, he would be that sweet, loving man all the time. You will stay because of your hope for the man you love, but will spend most of your time being controlled by the man who hurts you. Eventually, you won't be able to tell the difference.
  6. He will play the victim. If he gets in trouble at work, it's someone else's fault. If he has a bad day, someone is out to get him. And if he is upset, he will blame you for his feelings and actions. He will expect you to make him happy and fulfilled -- and when he's not, he will blame you. He may apologize for yelling, putting you down, or hurting you, but will always find a way to make it your fault. He will say things like, "It's just that I love you so much," or "I wish you didn't make me so crazy." Eventually, he will blame you for making him hit you.

If these warning signs are happening in your relationship, even if he has not hit you (yet), this is abuse. Control, jealousy, and isolation are not love. And abusive behavior will not change -- no matter how hard you try, or how much you love him. This man may seem like your dream come true, but soon, he will become your worst nightmare.

You deserve better. You deserve to be safe and respected. And you deserve real love, not control. If you or someone you know is being abused, you do not have to face it alone. Advocates are available to help, anytime, at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Please make the call, and take the first step toward freedom and safety today. You're worth it.

Domestic Victim Information

You are a victim if your partner:

  • hits
  • pushes
  • spits
  • threatens you
  • calls you names
  • prevents you from leaving
  • throwing things
  • destroys your belongings
  • deprives you of food, shelter
  • deprives you money or clothing
  • threatens you with weapons
  • abuses your children and/or pets
  • abandons you in a dangerous place
  • refuses to help you if you are sick or pregnant
  • rapes you
  • stalks you
  • threatens to take your children away from you

Look for these possible indicators for domestic violence. If someone you know is being abused, they may show one or more of these signs:

  • Visible Physical Injuries: Bruises, lacerations, burns, human bite marks, and fractures (especially of the eyes, nose, teeth, and jaw); injuries during pregnancy, miscarriage, or premature births; injuries that are inconsistent with explanation; multiple injuries in different stages of healing; unexplained delay in seeking medical treatment for injuries.
  • Stress-Related Illnesses: Headaches, backaches, chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorders, eating disorders, fatigue, anxiety-related conditions (such as heart palpitations, hyperventilation, and panic attacks).
  • Marital and/or Family Problems
  • Depression
  • Alcohol or Other Drug Addictions
  • Absenteeism: Lateness, leaving early
  • Changes in Job Performance: Difficulty concentrating, repeating errors, slower work pace
  • Unusual or Excessive Number of Phone Calls: From family members; strong reactions to these calls
  • Disruptive Personal Visits: To the workplace from employee's present or former partner or spouse
  • Overly Dressed: Turtlenecks, long sleeves in the summertime
  • Jumpy, Irritable
  • Withdrawn
  • Statements: "My husband won't let me...", "He got so mad that he put his fist right up to my nose...", etc
  • Lack of Personal Grooming: A total change from past habits
  • Shows Low Self-Esteem
  • Don't ask blaming questions ( Examples: "What did you do or say to provoke him/her?")
  • Don't be critical of the abusive partner
  • Offer to talk with the abuse victim or go with them for help
  • Listen and Believe! Tell the abuse victim you care about them and want them to be safe
  • Call the police or security officer if you witness an assault
  • Call the police if you witness an assault - in many cases the abuser can be required to get counseling
  • Tell the abuser that violent behavior is not OK - it is a sign that the person has a problem and needs help
  • Offer to talk with the abuser about alternative to violence - cooling off, talking about the problem, counseling, support group
  • Be a role model for healthy relationships- treat your friends and partners with respect
  • Take a stand! Don't reinforce abusive behavior by laughing, minimizing, or ignoring an act of violence or a threat

Myths:

  1. They are just " Kids in Love," doing the "Teen Dating Thing," there is nothing dangerous going on.
  2. He will change when we get married.
  3. Battering is rare.
  4. When you fall in love, nothing else matters.
  5. Dating someone is better than dating no one.
  6. Violence only happens to the poor, poorly educated or to minorities.
  7. Love means never having to say you are sorry.
  8. Love and violence cannot exist together in a relationship.
  9. Once a victim of domestic violence, always a victim.
  10. Stress, drugs or alcohol cause the violence.
  11. Battering is about mutual fighting; "it takes two to tango."
  12. Domestic and dating violence is usually a one-time event, an isolated incident.

Facts:

  1. Dating violence has nothing to do with love. It is the same as domestic violence, and it is about power and control.
  2. Abusers are often very good at disguising jealousy as love. Jealousy is a controlling behavior.
  3. Battering is extremely common. A woman is battered every nine seconds in the United States.
  4. When you fall in love you should not have to end everything else in your life. Giving any one person all of your time, energy and attention puts them in a powerful position.
  5. You don't have to date someone to be someone.
  6. Battering happens to rich, white, educated and respectable people. Violence in a relationship can happen to anyone.
  7. The ability to apologize, to admit fault and to recognize mistakes constitutes one of the greatest traits in a solid partnership. Being in love means you are committed to saying, "I'm sorry."
  8. The relationship between an abuser and a victim can be confusing. Many batterers act in love, caring ways some of the time. Victims may love the batterer and want the battering to stop. Over time, however, the loving periods may lessen or change.
  9. It is possible to move beyond the status of being a victim. Positive interventions can help victims rebuild a sense of self.
  10. Stress, drugs, and alcohol may contribute to an episode of domestic or dating violence, but they are not the cause. Abusive behavior is a learned behavior and it is a choice.
  11. In domestic and dating assaults, one partner is beating, intimidating, and terrorizing the other.
  12. Battering is a pattern of behavior. Once the violence begins in a relationship, it only escalates without intervention.
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