By Elena Chavey, Carolina News
Saturdays are a day for most people to catch up on their sleep or chores around the house. But for many Saturday was about spreading the word of domestic violence and the effects it can have on the community.
Crowds at the rally gathered to the front steps of Spirit Communications Park and listened to first and second hand accounts of domestic violence. Women bowing their heads and saying Amen! in response to the stories.
Lisa Robinson is founder of Angels for Aja. In 2014, she lost her daughter Aja Robinson in 2014 to a domestic violence crime.
"An ex-boyfriend was angry that she had chosen to move on and to love someone new so he followed her one morning on her way to work, chased her until she pulled over and once she pulled over he shot her in the throat and then the back of the head" Robinson said.
More than ten million Americans are victims annually of physical violence. About 76 percent of them female and the other 24 percent are male according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Erik Bjorn is running for Congress in South Carolina's 2nd District: who experienced domestic violence as well.
"I grew up with a very abusive father and I watched my mom be hurt mostly and especially over the course of time but I am too and I know the fear and what it feels like to be trapped" Bjorn said.
Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act in January 2015. It provides grants to state and local governments to assist in the prosecution of rapists and abusers. The law also prevents someone who has been previously convicted of a domestic violence crime from getting a gun.
In South Carolina, domestic violence crimes was rated number one in the nation in 1996, in 2016 it is number 5.
South Carolina Senate candidate Mia McLeod says that more needs to be done to stop the violence from continuing.
"When somebody really wants to do you harm.. yea you can't handle it by yourself" McLeod said.
Organizations such as Sistercare are making sure no one has to handle it alone by providing a full range of services and a 24 hour crisis line.
Robinson also says to speak up if you can and to make sure you do not come off in confrontational way.
You can go to Sistercare If you or anyone you know is suffering from Domestic Violence please log onto their site or call their crisis line at 803- 765-9428 for help.