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SC Statehouse ceremony honors local victims of domestic violence

Domestic violence

A ceremony to honor the lives of domestic violence victims was held at the South Carolina Statehouse Tuesday. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 4, 2011)

News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Approximately 44 people died as a result of domestic violence last year in South Carolina and they were remembered during a ceremony Tuesday.

October is national domestic violence awareness month. This is the 14th year the Silent Witness ceremony in Columbia has honored the men and women who lost their lives because of it.

These vicious crimes haven't escaped our area either. In 2010, one woman was killed because of domestic violence in Aiken County, but activists say that's one too many.

A bell rang for each of the domestic violence victims at the silent witness ceremony on the Statehouse steps.

And the first named called was 23-year-old Brandi Jordan from Aiken County.

Brandi Jordan was shot and killed July 7, 2010, by her boyfriend Travis Miller.

And Jordan wasn't the last to be remembered.

"She will never ever be forgotten," said Sondra Chandler, the sister of a domestic violence victim.

Sondra drove two hours with her family to commemorate her sister's life.

"My sister was murdered Sept. 16, 2010," she said.

Chandler carried a silhouette to represent her sister, a sister she says was just beautiful.

And Chandler says her family never saw this coming.

"The people here with domestic violence have been abused, beat up, I mean years of abuse, and he never once touched her," she said.

There will be more silhouettes to come next year.

"We are hoping that more people will realize what an epidemic domestic violence is, especially in light of the five ladies that were killed in the month of July during domestic violence incidents," said Barbara Sanders with the Cumbee Center.

The Cumbee Center assists abused people in Aiken County, and they want you to know domestic violence is here.

"Domestic violence happens everywhere; there is no specific age, race, gender, socioeconomic status," Sanders said.

And Chandler hopes if you sense if you are in a bad situation ...
"Just get out, and get help, there's a lot places to help," she said.

According to the S.T.O.P Violence Against Women Program, South Carolina ranks ninth in the nation for the amount of homicides caused by criminal domestic violence.

If someone is caught up in an abusive relationship, they can always go to the Cumbee Center for help. You call them at (803) 649-0480.

This silent witness ceremony was for victims killed in 2010. The victims of that quadruple murder/suicide in Wagener will be honored next year.

Family and friends are still recovering from the deaths of Angela Myers, Tabitha Brown, Vicki Brown and Esther Baldwin.

This deadly case of domestic violence happened in July.

Investigators say Kenneth Myers pulled the trigger, killing each woman before taking his own life.

And just a few weeks later, Aiken County investigators say 30-year-old James Gray strangled Helen Magee, a mother of three. The sheriff's office says the couple were high school sweethearts.

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