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Strickland Talks Breaking Cycle Of Abuse

With October being officially designated nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Colleton County officials are making public stands against the criminal act. Locally, the Walterboro Police Department kicked off the month with a vigil and walk through Walterboro. One week later, Colleton County Sheriff R. Andy Strickland is taking inventory of his office’s statistics and is telling the public ways that the “cycle of abuse” can be broken, he said.

“Domestic violence is wrong and can be easily overlooked,” he said. “An abuser may not display abusive behavior twenty-four-seven. Sometimes, the abuser demonstrates positive character while in others presence, a type of behavior to mask what is going on behind closed doors.”

According to information provided by the sheriff’s office, the county’s top law enforcement agency responded to 182 domestic violence cases in 2015. Each of those cases involved a physical assault. In 2015, that number fell to 135 reported cases of domestic assault. Further local statistics have the sheriff’s office responded to 151 additional calls in 2015 just for people who were experiencing verbal abuse during a domestic disturbance. In 2016, there 190 such cases of reported verbal abuse. Statistics from 2017 were not yet available.

“No woman or man should have to be a victim of physical abuse. A victim should not feel like they are alone with no help,” he said. Strickland says that nearly one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. “And, in a lot of incidents, there are children in the household that experience this behavior also. I find that it is detrimental for children to experience such an act,” he said. “We need to break this cycle of violence. Domestic violence is not only involving physical abuse but also psychological, emotional, sexual or verbal abuse.

“We have to show the perpetrator that he or she does not have control by bringing these individuals forward to face a judge in court,” he said.

In each law enforcement agency, a publicly-funded victim’s advocate is offered to victims of violence. There is one at the Walterboro Police Department and provided through the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. At the local sheriff’s office, the Victims Advocate is Lynette Fryar.

“She will be there to help you through the court and protection order proceedings,” said Strickland. I want victims to know that the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office does not condone such actions and will be there for you,” he said. “You are not alone.”

During an interview with this paper about domestic violence, Strickland focused on giving victims enough courage to come forward, so that the “cycle of abuse” can be broken in the county.

“We have to work on a goal today and future to break the cycle of violence that affects so many of us and our love ones’ lives,” said Strickland.

Heather Walters (1203 Posts)