Columbia Leaders Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

Raising awareness about domestic violence

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina now ranks fifth in the nation for domestic violence homicides. The North Columbia Business Association (NCBA) is working with the Columbia Police Department to help change the culture.

On Wednesday morning the NCBA held a press conference was held to spread awareness.

"I've heard the screams, I've heard the wailing to stop, I saw the beatings, and I've seen the holes in the walls,” says Zjadiah Jones.

Jones witnessed the abuse of several of her family members when she was a child.

"I was sad because it could've been me."

Now, as a sophomore at Columbia College, Jones is passionate about helping others in that same situation.

"It's a lot of people who are afraid to speak out about it because for men sometimes it masculinity issues, they don't want people to know that someone is abusing them,” says Jones. “For women, they don't want their physical abuser to hurt them even more."

Jones, along with the NCBA and the CPD are hoping to spread the word and lower the rates.

"To think in 2015 we had 47 people murdered from domestic violence is shocking,” says police chief Skip Holbrook. “Thirty-five were women and 12 were men."

Chief Holbrook says it's important to know that men and young people can be victims too.

"I don't think we can ever forget those that suffer some of the greatest collateral damage from that, and that's our children."

However, there are resources in Columbia and Richland County, as well as statewide.

Last year, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault provided shelter to 2,769 people. They provided counseling, court advocacy, and support for 19,414.

Jones says however, the first step is to speak out.

"Just talk about it, just get out there and speak about it,” says Jones. “Become that voice for the people who don't have a voice so that they can come forward and also speak about it."

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence call the sister care crisis hotline at (803)-765-9428.


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