Domestic violence is a serious matter and includes not only physical violence, but emotional and sexual violence, stalking, threatening, and online abuse. Murder is the most serious outcome of domestic violence. According to the Violence Policy Center, South Carolina ranks as the No. 1 state in the rate of homicides of women by men.
The Violence Policy Center, a national non-profit education organization, also reports that in 2011, 2.54 women out of every 100,000 in South Carolina were killed by men, a rate that is double the national average. Of the women who knew their killers, 63% were killed by their husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or former boyfriend.
South Carolina has been among the top 10 states for murders of women by men for the past 15 years. The crimes often occur during an argument and with a gun. Of the women in the study, 52% died from gunshots.
You may be involved in a relationship that is or may become abusive. The best way to protect yourself is to understand warning signs of domestic abuse. Domestic violence often starts slowly (such as door-slamming) and gradually builds to greater and greater harm and injury (first shoving or pushing, then slapping and escalating from there).
Ask yourself if any of the following five warning signs, created by WebMD, are true in your relationship:
- Your partner tries to control what you do, where you go, whom you see and whom you talk to.
- Your partner controls all of the money in your household and does not allow you to have access without asking.
- Your partner speaks negatively of you to others and to your face, criticizing your actions, appearance, parenting, intelligence, decisions, and more.
- Your partner threatens to harm or kill himself if you will not do what he says.
- Your partner intimidates you physically or with weapons, threatening or suggesting he could harm you, making you fearful.
If your relationship has any of these warning signs, you are in danger of being abused. It is important that you contact a family law attorney or a domestic violence hotline or shelter to protect yourself and your children.
If you believe someone you know is in an abusive relationship, look for these five warning signs:
- The victim has frequent bruises, cuts, or injuries with vague or illogical explanations.
- The victim seems to have little control over money and has to get permission to go places or do things.
- The victim has low self-esteem and may be depressed or threatening suicide.
- The victim is socially isolated with few friends.
- The victim refers to the partner’s temper or anger issues but does not into details.
If you believe someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, encourage him or her to get help by contacting a local domestic violence shelter or the police.