Rally held to fight domestic violence

Ben Robinson/Courier

Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark speaks at a rally held in honor of domestic violence victims on the steps of the Pickens County Courthouse last week.

PICKENS — Representatives and friends of MARY’S House gathered in front of the Pickens County Courthouse Thursday for a rally against domestic violence.

“We’re not going to give up the fight against domestic violence,” said Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark, who has spoken against domestic violence for many years.

Sen. Larry Martin, another longtime opponent of domestic violence, was one of the speakers.

Martin said he hopes to work to get South Carolina out of the top five states in domestic violence.

“This is a new day in South Carolina,” Martin said. “We have aggressive prosecutors, committed members of law enforcement, and laws that are tough enough to deal with the problem.”

Martin hopes to erase the state’s bad image in domestic violence.

“We’re going to do something to make South Carolina’s statistics look better,” he said.

The opening prayer was led by Pastor Dave Shorter of Calvary Hill Baptist Church, who reported that members of his family had been victims of domestic violence.

Speaker Judy Munson of the 13th circuit solicitor’s office reported that children locally are brought up learning that domestic violence is simply something we have to live with. But more aggressive prosecutors are working to change that image.

“Prosecutors are no longer accessories after the fact,” Munson said.

Munson said too many people in the community see the smoke but ignore the fire.

“Some people ignorantly believe the vicitim probably deserved what happened.,” Munson said.

Munson challenged those at the rally.

“Let’s start our own fire,” she said.

Kim Deal told a little about MARY’S House.

“Our goal is to not only provide them with a safe place to go but to get them ready to reenter society,” Deal said.

A victim of domestic violence also praised the efforts of the shelter.

“MARY’S House gives you a place to heal,” she said. “It’s important for a woman in my situation to have a place to go.

The meeting closed with a prayer and the lighting of candles in honor of the state’s victims of domestic violence.