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By IRIS HUNTER
For the Progressive Journal
In September 2016, the Violence Policy Center released a study that ranked South Carolina as the fifth deadliest state for females murdered by males.
The statistic was for single victim/single offender incidents in 2014.
Domestic violence is a widespread problem and the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault of Chesterfield County offers a support group for victims in the community.
Support groups are important because it helps victims gain a sense of support whenever they are experiencing traumatic events such as domestic violence and/or sexual assault, said Tierra Cash, Chesterfield County coordinator and advocate for the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault.
Cash assists individuals with piecing their lives back together by offering a combination of support, resources and tools during each session, and bringing domestic violence and sexual assault awareness to the community.
“I offer victim’s tools to regain their power and to feel empowered. My support groups are tailored around empowering women to be the best they can be and to rise above their circumstances,” she said.
The coalition has assisted 56 family violence victims in Chesterfield County from July 2015 through June 2016.
“I was at a very low point in my life when I began attending the sessions. I was alone and depressed, and my children were not in my custody,” said a 34-year-old domestic violence victim.
“While attending the classes, I regained custody of my children and am very proud of where I am today. I would recommend attending the support group to anyone. It was and continues to be a blessing to me as I incorporate what I learned to my everyday life,” she said.
Attending these group support sessions has proven to benefit many other victims by assisting them with repairing their lives.
“It has helped me to understand more about myself and to be myself. I’m able to share personal information without feeling judged,” said a 45-year-old domestic violence and sexual assault victim.
“It has also helped me to love myself and to know that I deserve to be treated with the upmost respect. It has helped me to see things clearer, so that I can provide a safe environment for my children as well as myself. It has also helped me to be stronger and to forgive and not hate,” she said.
The support group meets every Friday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at 339 N. Page Street in Chesterfield. The center also offers individual services and accommodating hours for those who are not able to attend the sessions.
The coalition also offers services for children who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault is a member of the United Way.
To contact an advocate for adults on the confidential 24-hour crisis line, call (843) 669-4600 or toll-free 1 (800) 273-1820. To reach an advocate for a child, call (843) 664-HELP.
To learn more about the coalition, visit http://www.peedeecoalition.org.