Marking the first week of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster led the 13th annual Silent Witness Domestic Violence ceremony at the Statehouse. McMaster called the names of the 31 women and two men from across the state who lost their lives over the past year as a result of domestic violence.
Doug Warner lost his daughter six years ago. She was murdered by her husband. Warner says he pledged to speak out against domestic violence during his daughter’s wake.
Warner says the pain of losing a loved one to domestic violence never goes away, “You learn to cope, you learn to live with it. You always feel that you could have done something to save your loved one.” Warner says he knows that his daughter’s spirit is helping him travel to speak with persons about the signs of domestic violence so that others may be spared the grief he feels daily.
Warner says he received some uplifting news after he delivered a talk to a group at the Citadel some time ago. He says one young lady left the room during his talk noticeably weeping. He says he talked to the young lady with her mentor afterwards and found out that the warning signs “hit home” with her. Warner says he called to check up on the young woman weeks later and found out that she had made what he called a “life-saving decision.” She left her boyfriend who displayed violent tendencies, she graduated from the Citadel and she became Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
State Attorney General McMaster says about 36,000 domestic violence incident reports are filed each year in South Carolina. McMaster says those are the ones that are filed, but we really don’t know about the thousands of presumed incidents that go unreported.
McMaster says we can no longer remain silent witnesses to the incidents of domestic violence that may be affecting our neighbors, friends, co-workers and loved ones. Far too often victims cling to the false hope that their loved one will change with too many of the incidents ending in tragedy.