Vigil remembers victims, raises awareness of domestic violence
In 2012 a Goose Creek woman was stabbed to death in a domestic violence incident. Earlier in October a Sangaree woman and her 8-year-old daughter were found dead in their home in what is believed to be a domestic violence incident.
These and similar stories are tragic and real. It is not known if these deaths could have been prevented, but it is known that South Carolina is the number one state in the nation for men who kill their female partners.
It is also known, perhaps not by all, that help is readily available.
On Oct. 10 about 15 people wore purple shirts as they and others attended Goose Creek’s first domestic violence vigil.
Members of the Goose Creek Fire Department, Goose Creek Police Department, Joint Base Charleston and other citizens attended.
Each person was given a candle as keynotes spoke of their stories and the help that’s available for victims.
“October is national domestic violence awareness month across the country,” GCPD Victim Advocate Levolia Rhodes said.
The goal is to honor the memory of victims of senseless violence, show support to family members and loved ones and promote awareness and prevention. “In 2012, 48 South Carolinians were killed by their partners,” Rhodes said. “We have to take a stand . . . you can speak out against violence when you confront it in everyday life.”
“I am so honored to be present at such an event as we honor domestic violence victims,” Joint Base Charleston Family Advocacy Outreach Manager Brenda Edmond said. “Our speaker was married to a man for 11 years, but she left because of domestic violence.”
As Edmonds introduced guest speaker Lucy Forest, she told the audience that Forest’s daughter, Amanda Black, was stabbed to death by her husband in a domestic violence incident.
“Some of us are survivors of a domestic violence relationship,” Forest said. “You have no idea what your being here means to these victims.”
Forest said she is grateful to the person who invented the digital camera because she has hundreds of photos of her daughter to remember her by. She said the horror of her 11-year abusive marriage does not compare to losing a daughter.
“My daughter was 25 years old when she was killed,” Forest said. “These people are somebody’s daughter, sister, mother . . .
“She danced, went to church, hated dresses.We were close. We were sometimes enemies. We were friends. We were always family.
“Becaseu of one act of senseless violence is why I’m here. There should be a domestic violence website like there is for sex offenders. We need to teach our children that hitting is wrong.
“Don’t let anyone tell you it’s your fault. There is help available.”
Forest said women are often killed after about six incidents of domestic violence by their partner.
The names of some local domestic violence victims whose stories ended in the ultimate tragedy were called out as attendees in purple shirts stepped forward with lit candles and stood in place to honor them.