South Carolina ranked second-worst in the nation in the latest look at the rate of women killed by men – the second year in a row the state has climbed up the violence list.
South Carolina for years has ranked among the top 10 worst in the nation when it comes to violence against women, and advocates were disappointed to see that has not changed.
The new rating, from 2010, is up from seventh the previous year and ninth the year before that. Several years before that, the state was No. 1 and No. 2.
“It’s sad that we’re back up there again,” said Laura Hudson, executive director of the S.C. Crime Victims’ Council.
The rankings were released Wednesday by the Washington D.C.-based Violence Policy Council, which ranks states based on crime data submitted to the FBI.
In 2010, 46 women in South Carolina were killed by men, giving the state a rate of 1.94 per 100,000, according to the report. Nationally, 1,800 women were killed by men at a rate of 1.22 per 100,000. Nevada had the highest rate of women being killed by men; Tennessee ranked third.
More than half of the women killed in South Carolina were shot, the report said. Others were stabbed, hit with blunt objects or killed by bodily force.
In 44 of the 46 cases, police were able to identify the relationship between the victim and her killer. In all 44, the women were killed by someone they knew, and most of those were at the hands of spouses and boyfriends, the report said.
That is what police suspect happened in the killing of Letitia Cason in Columbia.
In September 2010, Cason applied for a restraining order against her estranged husband, Charlie Cason. The same night, Charlie Cason is accused of breaking into his wife’s apartment, chasing her to another unit as she ran for help and then shooting her multiple times, police reports said.
He fled to Fairfield County, where he is accused of getting into a shootout with deputies who were searching for him. Cason remains in Richland County’s Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, where he is being held without bond as he awaits trial.
Police had been called previously to the couple’s homes in Richland and Fairfield counties for domestic violence complaints. Charlie Cason had been arrested in June 2010 on a domestic violence charge.
Domestic violence advocates say the most dangerous time for a woman is when she tries to leave an abusive relationship.
When it comes to reversing South Carolina’s trend, advocates said the first step is changing attitudes.
“Apparently, we’re not doing enough education,” Hudson said. “We’re not holding our neighbors, friends and relatives responsible for these acts.”
Pamela Jacobs, executive director of the S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said that for years people have concentrated on telling women to leave violent relationships. But that’s a complex decision because of issues such as children and money, Jacobs said.
“We don’t focus on the abusers, holding them accountable with sanctions on what they do or sending them to appropriate programs,” Jacobs said.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.