COLUMBIA, S.C. – Today, Rep. James Smith attended a solemn ceremony on the State House steps, in unity with the Republican attorney general, to recognize South Carolinians who have died as a result of domestic violence.
As the Post and Courier reported in recent days, South Carolina remains near the top of a list we’d rather be at the bottom of – we have the sixth-highest rate of women killed by men in the nation, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center. The report found that “95 percent of South Carolina victims knew their killers, and 69 percent were slain by current or former husbands or boyfriends.”
At the ceremony today, wooden silhouettes represented the women – and men – who have died from domestic violence in our state in the past year. Attorney General Alan Wilson read the name of each, and described the circumstances of her or his death. As each name was read, family members of the victim or volunteers carried a silhouette to the State House steps.
Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell, the Democratic nominees for governor and lieutenant governor, would do everything possible to prevent more such deaths. They would create an interagency task force to identify the strategies that would be most successful in preventing violence. They would protect survivors and guarantee that perpetrators are held accountable.
A first step would be seeing that all degrees of domestic violence are tried by solicitors in circuit courts. They would protect the confidentiality of domestic violence victims and advocates.
“This scourge has taken the lives of too many people for too many years,” said Norrell, who has sponsored legislation to accomplish some of the above goals in the past. “It’s time for South Carolina to stand up and put a stop to it. James and I are committed to doing just that.”