Domestic violence remains high in Aiken County

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Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- South Carolina is number one in the nation when it comes to domestic violence and state lawmakers want to make it a top priority for next year's session.

Kaye Mixon has been helping domestic violence victims in the palmetto state for 30 years. The first victim she tried to help, her best friend.

"She would show up with these bruises and I would say, "Well what happened to you?" "Oh, well, I bent over and hit a door knob," said Kaye Mixon.

Mixon says a lot of women don't want to leave.

"But as long as the abuse goes on eventually someone's going to die," Mixon said.

South Carolina is ranked number one in the country in the rate of women killed by men. Aiken County is in the top seven in the state for domestic death.

Three years ago, deputies say Kenneth Myers killed his wife, her twin sister, mother, and his ex-girlfriend Ester Baldwin before killing himself. Back then Baldwin's sister says she saw the abuse.

"He was a very controlling freak, made her quit her job, couldn't cut her hair couldn't wear make up, wouldn't let her see her family," said Baldwin.

State lawmakers are working to change that. They made a 10-member committee to come up with proposals to deal with domestic abuse, but Mixon has her own ideas.

"A domestic violence court. Stand alone court. That could handle the domestic violence cases that could hold the batterer accountable," Mixon said. "South Carolina is always in the top 10 for domestic violence."

Aiken County averages 1,200 to 1,800 domestic violence cases a year.

"The hitting is not their fault, they do not deserve it, and they should take that step forward and that's the hardest step," Mixon said.

A cycle that thousands of women here hope to break.

The Cumbee Center is working with law enforcement, attorneys and schools to stop the violence. If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can go to the Cumbee Center.

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