South Carolina is ranked seventh in the nation for the rate of men murdering women in domestic violence cases, according a recent study released by the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
The violence and injury is likely to extend to other members of the family. Domestic violence survivor Felicia Shiver talked about her experiences living with an abusive husband at the state’s Silent Witness Ceremony Tuesday at the Statehouse. Shiver recalled the day her husband, who drove an 18-wheeler, returned from a trip in time to learn that his son from a previous relationship brought home a bad report card from middle school. Shiver says he inflicted welts on various parts of the child’s body.
Shiver says on another occasion, while she was at work, her son’s school called the home to report that the child had been acting up in school. Shiver says unfortunately her husband was home and took the call. Shiver says when her husband brought her son home, he slapped him so hard his head put a dent in the wall and a hand print could be seen on her child’s face.
Ginny Waller, Executive Director of Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands in Columbia ,says women often stay in an abusive relationship for years because they are emotionally and financially dependent on their abusive partner.
State Attorney General Alan Wilson says more domestic violence cases are being processed thanks to legal professionals who volunteer as pro bono prosecutors. Waller says despite these volunteers, budget cuts have affected the legal system and a case backlog is still the norm.
AUDIO: Waller says women become dependent emotionally and financially on their abusive partners (1:00)
Part of the problem is a disparity in pay that may lead to financial dependence. Census Bureau data shows U.S. women earned only 77 cents on dollar to males in 2008. That number drops to 68 percent for African-American women and 58 percent for Hispanic women.