WEST COLUMBIA, SC — Kids might be able to spend their allowance and negotiate an extended curfew for a late-night skate in the wee hours this weekend.
Roll Against Domestic Violence will host skaters of all ages to four hours of cruising on roller skates from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday morning.
The $10 entry fee will benefit Sistercare, a non-profit organization that provides services to victims of domestic violence across the Midlands.
South Carolina is ranked first in the nation for the rate of women killed by men, according to the Violence Policy Center.
“For me, that calls for a sense of urgency,” said Markesha Miller, a clinical coordinator at South University who is on the board of Sistercare.
Skate night and other awareness events aim to instill that same sense of urgency in teens and young adults, who may not recognize bad situations as domestic violence, she said.
“Within teenagers we see what could be identified as a mistaken sense of love,” Miller said.
If young girls are being hit, they may not be able to recognize it as a cycle that is the beginning of domestic violence, she said.
“When we think about controlling behaviors, stalking, and other signs of unhealthy domestic relationships, some may signify it as, ‘He loves me’, ‘He cares about me,’” she said. “We need to work to clarify the message to our young generation.”
Skating will be a fun way to raise awareness and reach the younger demographic, Miller said.
There will even be a time out from skating to take a “pause for the cause” to talk about domestic violence and how it is affecting local communities, Miller said.
“Skating is a way of opening communication,” said featured skater Toure Clark, who goes by “Uncle Jamm,” and auditioned for the national TV show “America’s Got Talent.”
Clark has skated for nearly 32 years and got his start when he was young and in the military.
Skating can be a stress release, Clark said. It can also bring people together, build confidence and open communication for topics like domestic violence.
“It provides a strong platform for togetherness,” he said.
All ages from every walk of life enjoy skating, said Thomas Nelson, who will appear. He goes by the name “DJ Nitro” and is on the radio station Kiss 103.1 WLXC-FM.
And after skating all night, people feel wonderful, he said.
“It helps the body. It helps the mind. It helps the soul.”
If you go
What: Roll Against Domestic Violence skate night
When: Saturday, March 29, midnight to 4 a.m.
Where: Three Fountains Skating Rink, 2724 Emanuel Church Road, West Columbia
Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.