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'There’s no more shame in my story': 25th Annual Silent Witness Ceremony honors victims of domestic violence

According to State Data, South Carolina records an average of 32,563 cases of intimate partner violence each year.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — One by one, 49 names of domestic violence victims were read aloud at South Carolina's 25th Annual Silent Witness Ceremony.

Family members held blue and red silhouettes representing the 37 women and 12 men whose lives were lost in 2021. In the middle, a 50th purple silhouette represented potential unknown victims. 

According to this year's Violence Policy Center Report, based on 2020 data, South Carolina ranked 23rd in the nation in the rate of men killing women. 

In 2021 South Carolina was ranked 6th.

Attorney General Alan Wilson reminded people that domestic violence impacts those from all walks of life and in all parts of the state.

"Now, more than ever, we must continue working toward violence-free communities to interrupt and end the cycle of abuse," said Wilson. "We must strategically target our youth through comprehensive prevention education and continue to build out a coordinated network of stakeholders in our response strategy."

Domestic Violence survivor Jamie Banks has attended the ceremony for seven years in a row. She holds a sign that reads, 'My abuser sat next to me at church'. 

"We used to go to church together and he had his arm around me and you never know what someone's going through so I'm here to be vocal about that and to meet other people so we can get the word out," said Banks.

She shares her story now in order to help others and bring awareness to Domestic Violence. 

"They don't have to keep it to themselves. There's someone out there who's relatable to them," said Banks. "There’s no more shame in my story. I used to feel shame but now no more shame." 

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Harold Crocker knows firsthand what it's like losing someone to domestic violence. His 19-year-old daughter Katelin Jordyn Crocker was killed during what Kershaw County Deputies was a domestic violence incident in 2018. 

He described her as a kind, smart girl whos dream was to be a celebrity makeup artist. 

"She used to come to my bedroom and put her makeup on sitting on the end of the bed. Sometimes I can still feel the bed," said Crocker.

According to data from the CDC, 42 percent of women and 29 percent of men in South Carolina experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.

According to State Data, South Carolina records an average of 32,563 cases of intimate partner violence each year.  

Crocker said these numbers weigh heavily on his shoulders every day. 

"That bothers me as much as my daughters passing. Can I save the next one? and How?," said Crocker.

Crocker shares his daughter's story in hopes of breaking the cycle of abuse that has impacted communities all over the state. He s

"If you find out it's happening, Do everything but violence to keep them away," said Crocker.

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