Take caution, protect yourselves ladies

Natalie Netzel Contributing Columnist

September 30, 2013

Women need to be careful and watch out especially in South Carolina.

A recent study came out from the Violence Policy Center from Washington, D.C., just in time for Domestic Violence Awareness month this October revealing that South Carolina is number one in the nation for women murdered by men.

The statistics are from 2011 and there were 61 female homicidal victims. The homicidal rate is 2.54 murders per 100,000 for the state.

Many women are killed by someone they knew including husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends, common law or live-ins or some guy they knew in some way or form.

This is serious and not the first time South Carolina has been ranked high by the Violence Policy Center. Last year, they were in the top 10.

Why do women keep falling victim to these horrendous crimes? The answer seems to be muffled.

It’s not just homicides that we need to examine but other assaults that take advantage of women, many of which go undetected because of shame, fear or other feelings women experience.

Newberry is not exempt from sexual assaults. According to the Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, Newberry had seven forced rapes, a couple of peeping toms, eight statutory rapes and forcible fondling. These results are from 2007.

The assaults and crimes that happen to women are serious and perhaps one way to help take control of this is to talk about more. The last thing to do is brush it under the run and hopes it all goes away.

Women and men need to take a stand against anyone who has nothing better to do than take advantage of a lady and rob her innocence and set her up with a victim’s attitude.

Let’s start by examining what is a sexual assault. The Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands defines it as a form of abuse that involves one or more people forcing, coercing and/or manipulating someone in order to gain sexual contact. This can include rape, unwanted touching, fondling, kissing or forcing someone to look at or pose for inappropriate material.

Sexual assault is a violent crime.

It is never the victim’s fault.

If the victim lives, they can walk away, become stronger and be a survivor.

Let’s start working together and taking a stand against the cowards who perform these horrendous acts.

A simple movement takes place Oct. 12 in Columbia with the annual Mayor’s Walk Against Domestic Violence at 9 a.m. at Finlay Park. This is a free event but people are encouraged to register at

There’s also opening the communication lines, being aware of words use by men to women, speaking up instead of being silent and recognizing the signs. Women can also take precautions to protect themselves which can include learning self defense methods or carrying mace or carrying a gun after learning to properly use it.

Plenty of information regarding sexual assault, how to report it and other resources can be found at the Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands’ website at

Natalie Netzel is a staff writer for The Newberry Observer and can be reached at Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.