Photo Gallery: Hundreds walk to raise awareness of domestic violence
Hundreds of people gathered Saturday morning at Finlay Park to make their voices heard in an effort to bring an end to domestic violence.
The eighth Annual Mayor’s Walk Against Domestic Violence is an event Columbia Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine said she would like to see end one day because she hopes it no longer will be unnecessary.
“None of us wants to be here,” she said Saturday. “But if we’re not here, we’re not bringing attention to this cause.”
South Carolina had the highest number of instances of women killed by men in the United States in 2012 and second most number of instances in 2013, according to the Violence Policy Center. Devine said raising awareness of the problem is a step toward ending the violence.
“For too long it has been silent,” she said. “We don’t need this issue to become important only when a football player abuses his wife.”
Author and domestic violence survivor Tamika Sims shared her story with the crowd.
“It’s time to take a stand and to take action,” she said.
The crowd included more than 100 members of the University of South Carolina chapter of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, which raises money each year for Sistercare through various events. Sorority member Mary Beste said she and her sisters want to help spread the message that “It can happen to anyone.”
“It means a lot to see so many young people here,” fellow sorority member Alex Hill said.
Sistercare received a financial boost at the event, with local Verizon representatives presenting Executive Director Nancy Barton with a check for $11,500.
“The statistics are horrible, but without Sistercare’s presence in this community, we’d be much worse off than we are,” Devine said.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin also spoke.
“You are not alone. We will help you in this journey arm in arm. This is one Columbia,” he said.