GREENWOOD — A task force being formed for the 8th Judicial Circuit will help find solutions to the domestic violence problem that seems to be plaguing the four-county area while also providing help to those who are victimized by it.
Solicitor David Stumbo made the announcement on Thursday during a breakfast at Wesley Commons Retirement Community Center in Greenwood. The 8th Circuit includes Newberry, Greenwood, Laurens and Abbeville counties.
The solicitor’s office and law enforcement from those counties will work to find solutions to the domestic violence problem as part of a Community Call to Action with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Department.
“There is no automatic solution,” Stumbo said. “If we don’t work together on the problem things happen over and over.”
Stumbo told the fictional story of a 21-year-old woman who thought she was in love with a man. She wanted to marry him and start a new life. Stumbo said the woman didn’t realize the man had a mean streak. Arguments and fights followed. Eventually she told her family and law enforcement got involved and the man went to jail.
Later the woman went to law enforcement and said everything she had said was a lie. Since her story was all they had, they closed the case. The man and woman got back together and eventually the man shot her, Stumbo said.
“This is exactly the situation we’ve seen here over the years,” said Stumbo.
Stumbo said the team includes 8th Circuit Attorney Lance Sheek, an 8th Judicial Circuit investigator and others to work together on this issue.
While Stumbo said they cannot prevent every instance of domestic violence, they can react to what has happened.
The task force will identify crisis situations and get others involved, Stumbo said, adding it’s important for the community to help identify offenders and the problem areas.
“South Carolina led the nation in 2011 for women killed by men,” said Greenwood Captain Jarvis Reeder.
The group also discussed what contributes to domestic violence and its root causes. Issues and causes from the audience ranged from dominance, poverty, lack of jobs, control, lack of values and addiction.
“Out of 62 women killed in South Carolina in 2011, a lot already left the relationship,” said Alice Hodges. “It’s like a cycle.”
Stumbo responded to a Greenwood pastor who asked if churches can get involved without pushing their beliefs on people. He was in favor of churches being involved and trying to assist the victims.
“If we have a sin problem, what’s going to solve that is transformation,” said Stumbo.
Newberry County does not have a shelter for domestic violence victims but Greenwood has Meg’s House, an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. Meg’s House offers emergency shelter, food and clothing, counseling, court advocacy, self esteem support, transportation and empowerment. Visit www.megshouse.org for more information.
In Newberry, the non-profit organization Women on a Mission is working to get a shelter remodeled. The home was donated by Mary Lane Ard.