A solemn crowd gathered at the State House on Tuesday to mourn the 47 lives lost to domestic violence last year – four of those in Lexington County and three in Richland.
Though South Carolina no longer leads the nation as the deadliest state for domestic violence, it still ranks fifth on the list. At the 19th annual Silent Witness ceremony, Attorney General Alan Wilson said that’s not good enough.
“While the trajectory is going in the right direction ... we have so much more work to be done,” Wilson said.
At the ceremony, organizers placed silhouettes on the State House steps representing the victims – 35 red ones for the women, 12 blue for the men and one purple silhouette representing unknown victims.
For Haseenah Hamin of Columbia, whose sister was among those killed in 2015, the ceremony was a chance to be with others who understand the pain of losing a loved one.
“It’s just very overwhelming to see how many other people are going through the exact same thing that you’re going through,” Hamin said. “I miss her ... and came out to support her, and finally found out that actually I’m not the only person that’s going through this.”
To give hope to those suffering abuse, Columbia native and military veteran Permeco Myers took the stand at the ceremony. Myers herself survived after being held hostage by a boyfriend and stabbed repeatedly, she said.
“If anybody were to ask me, if I had a choice to go back to war or be in domestic violence again, I would happily say – without even thinking twice – I’d prefer to go back to war,” Myers said.
The hotline for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is 800-260-9293.
The hotline for Sistercare Inc. is 800-765-9428