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CODA commemorates Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse (CODA) is supporting a number of events this October for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to encourage the community to get involved and to learn more about the impact of domestic violence by attending these events. Some of these events are open to the public:

• The Clothesline Project, a display featuring T-shirts designed by domestic violence survivors, at the Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper county libraries during all of October.

• Wedding Gown Project, a display featuring wedding dresses bearing witness to the fact that while many walk into marriage full of hope, the reality of domestic violence shatters their innocence. The dresses are adorned with the names of those who have died at the hands of their partners in South Carolina from 2011-2013. These will be displayed in Hampton, Colleton and Jasper county courthouses during all of October.

• Farmer’s Market awareness tent (Port Royal, October 25, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Walterboro, October 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Bluffton, October 23, from noon to 6 p.m.).

• A Light in the Window: Businesses and community members in Hampton County have agreed to display a purple candle in their front windows throughout the month of October to draw awareness to domestic violence in their community.

• Stand in the Sand: Zonta is hosting this event, and will have speakers, a walk, and candlelight vigil. Coligny Beach, Hilton Head Island, October 11 at 6 p.m.

• Candlelight Vigil and Awareness Event: Beaufort High School football game (October 17 at 7:30 p.m.).

• Candlelight Vigil and Awareness Event: Ridgeland/Hardeeville High School football game hosted by the Jasper County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (October 31 at 7:30 p.m.).

• Trinity Health and Fitness Pilates Fundraiser: Trinity Fitness Moss Creek Village, October 18 and 25, Bluffton at 9 a.m. (all proceeds to CODA).

• St. Mark’s Paper Drive for CODA, (diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, Kleenex), St. Mark’s Church, Beaufort, all month.

Whether we realize it or not, we all know someone who has experienced domestic violence. By attending these events, the community will show support for survivors, mourn those who have lost their lives and send a message that we must work together to stop domestic violence in the Lowcountry.

CODA has been providing an array of services to victims of intimate partner abuse and their children in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties for more than 28 years. In 2013, CODA provided 146 survivors and their children with emergency shelter for a total of 4,832 nights. The nonprofit also answered 3,353 calls on the 24-hour hotline and provided outreach services such as counseling, case management, legal assistance and transitional housing to 261 survivors. Please visit www.codalowcountry.org to learn more about domestic violence and CODA’s services.

SC DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STATS

 Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life — all cultures, all income groups, all ages, and all religions. They share feelings of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear and shame and often these incidents go unreported to law enforcement. Domestic violence affects women, men and children of all ages without prejudice.

According to the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault website, an annual report based on information obtained from the most recent Supplementary Homicide Report data submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shows the numbers for 2011, which  are the most recent statistics available, and the ranking is calculated according to the homicide rate per 100,000 people in the state.

• 61 females were murdered by males in South Carolina in 2011, a total of 2.54 per 100,000. This is more than twice the national per capita rate of 1.17 per 100,000.

• Four of the female homicide victims were 18 years of age or younger, and the average homicide victim age was 38 years old.

• Of these victims, 22 were black, and 39 were white.

• For those homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 93% of reported homicides (52 out of 56 identified) were murdered by someone they knew.

• Of the homicide victims who knew their offenders, 63% (33 victims) were murdered by a male that was their husband, common-law-husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend.

• South Carolina has been in the top 10 of women killed by men for the past 15 years, and this is the third time at the top spot in the nation.

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