Silent Witness Vigil tackles domestic violence

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and events addressing the issue continue in the Upstate.

Red silhouettes stood tall in downtown Spartanburg Thursday, as volunteers read the stories of real life victims from Union, Cherokee, and Spartanburg counties.

“Speaking those words aloud, speaking for the dead,” said SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition Executive Director Lynn Hawkins. “Two years ago we had 9 murders due to domestic violence, last year we had two, this year we’ve had three so far.”

SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition hosted the 20th Annual Silent Witness Vigil to raise awareness and honor victims and survivors.

Survivors shared their stories about domestic violence.

“He shot the gun in my face. To this day, I can’t see out of my left eye,” a woman said. “I’m really just grateful to be here to be alive, to be able to tell my testimony and tell people that all hope is not lost.”

It’s a concern Hawkins said is felt across the state of South Carolina.

“We’re at number 5 again in the number of women murdered by their male intimate partners in South Carolina. We really have to do something about it,” said Hawkins.

The organization partnered with the Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Spartanburg County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, Spartanburg County Department of Social Services, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, and Spartanburg Police Department.

“We’re the initial responders when these events happen,” said Spartanburg Police Lieutenant Doug Harwell. “We want to show support to the families not just from the enforcement side but from the human side.”

Spartanburg Police Sergeant Christina Morgan is a domestic violence investigator, and is hosting domestic violence community awareness and training event on October 12.

“To let the community know – hey this is what we can do as outsiders looking in, this is what we can do as victims ourselves,” said Sgt. Morgan.

It’ll be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. Registration for the session is free but seating is limited so contact Inv. Morgan at 864.596.2441 or email her at cmorgan@cityofspartanburg.org by October 6.

Click here to read more about the event

The 24-hour SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition is hotline IS 864.583.9803 or 1.800.273.5066.