It's almost the end of October, but we could not let the month end without acknowledging that this is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. This is a horrible tragedy that affects millions of homes across the United States, nay even the world. As a usually proud South Carolinian, I was saddened and stunned to read the SC Department of Social Services article dated September 30, 2013.
You can read the article in its entirety here. The worst and best revelation of the article is the statement "South Carolina currently ranks #1 in the Nation for Women Murdered by Men, according to the Violence Policy Center’s latest report." This is the worst because it highlights how terribly ineffective we as a state are at protecting our defenseless victims (women, children, or men).
This is also the best revelation in that it is a wakeup call that we can no longer ignore. Even though South Carolina was ranked in the top ten at least three times in the past ten years, it was sort glossed over. We could always numb ourselves by saying well there are worse places.
Well the train has stopped here. We are number one and that's a rank we must work hard to lose. Let's strive to be number one in education, philanthropy, entertainment, anything but the killing of our women. South Carolina is a fine state with a rich history of civility and southern hospitality. One of the biggest southern traditions is chivalry.
Some laugh at chivalry as an outdated code of conduct that is no longer relevant today. But I submit to you that if we would incorporate, along with probation-free prison sentences for abusers, a gentler atmosphere in our culture we would all benefit. Chivalry is more than holding open doors, not cussing in the presence of a lady, and throwing your jacket over mud puddles for a lady to walk across.
While all of those things are absolutely wonderful, the way it is described in "What is Chivalry" nails it: "In short, that’s what chivalry is — a choice. The choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times". If we as South Carolinians would put this in place, domestic violence would be well on its way out of the door.
Below are some resources to help right now. Please use them immediately if you need to or share with someone you know or suspect could use the help:
- SC Department of Social Services APPROVED BATTERER INTERVENTION PROGRAMS (Listed by county)
- SC Department of Social Service Information 803-898-7318
- National Domestic Violence Hot Line Number at 1-800-799 (SAFE) 7233