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A bell tolled while 33 domestic violence homicide victims’ names, from 19 of South Carolina's 46 counties, were read aloud. This is the sound I remember after leaving the Silent Witness ceremony at the South Carolina State House last Tuesday. A summary was read of the 33 victims’ deaths as silhouettes representing each of the deceased were carried onto the granite steps of the State House. This is a moment I will never forget.
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The Forgotten Victims: Children Who Witness Violence at Home

By Leesa Plumblee, Shelter Counselor, Safe Harbor

“In a survey of 4,000 adults, witnessing marital violence as a child was the major risk factor predicting which adolescent girls would grow up to be domestic abuse victims.”  I obtained this statistic when I attended a training this year regarding the impact of family violence on adolescent witnesses by David Pelcovitz, PhD.  This statistic explains the great importance of providing therapy for children who witness domestic violence in their homes.  These are the children that I have the pleasure to work with each day in our Safe Harbor shelters.

Children who have been exposed to domestic violence may exhibit signs of low self-esteem, emotional or behavioral problems, feelings of guilt or responsibility, or be at high risk for drug/alcohol abuse.  These are just a few of the common characteristics of children who are exposed to family violence.  Children are victims too.  Many times, children who have been exposed to violence carry these characteristics with them into adulthood, because they have never been taught healthy skills for dealing with their feelings or for resolving conflicts.

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Safe Harbor’s Transitional Housing Program

By Bobbi Mason, MA-Transitional Housing Program Director, Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor was granted funds from the Office of Violence Against Women in early Fall 2009 to begin a Transitional Housing Program for victims of domestic violence.  In January 2010, Safe Harbor began to serve the clients in our Shelter Programs by offering them the opportunity to participate in the newly formed Transitional Housing Program that serves 15 families within the 4-county radius that we serve (Anderson, Oconee, Pickens, and Greenville).  In this program, participants can choose from living in a housing unit provided by the Upstate Homeless Coalition, or they can choose to live in an apartment of their choice.  In both phases of the program, the participants will receive rental assistance payments from Safe Harbor on a decreasing scale.  For example: Safe Harbor will pay 100% of their total amount of rent and utilities if they live in an apartment, for 6 consecutive months; then Safe Harbor will pay 75% of the total amount, and the participant will be responsible for 25% of the total amount of her rent and utilities for the next consecutive six months.  The transitional housing program will continue assisting the participant with her rent and utilities in this manner, gradually decreasing the amount of assistance each six months until the client is responsible for paying the total amount of her rent and utilities in full after a 2 year period. 

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Domestic Violence in the Hispanic Community

By Julieta Barcaglioni, Greenville Shelter Counselor, Safe Harbor

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of physical, psychological or sexual abuse, threats, intimidation, isolation or economic coercion used by one person to exert power and control over another person in the context of an intimate relationship. 

Domestic violence is a devastating reality in our communities and in our world today. Domestic violence affects 1 in every 4 women in the United States. A case is reported every minute in this country, and it is estimated that a woman is abused every 9 seconds. Also, statistics show that domestic violence is the main cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.  

Domestic violence is just as serious and prevalent in the Hispanic community as it is with other racial and ethnic groups.  Like other victims, Hispanic victims face important internal and external barriers to leave an abusive relationship. These barriers include: hope that the abuser will change or that the abuse will stop, embarrassment or shame, financial dependence on the abuser, fear of emotional and physical retaliation if they leave, lack of supportive relationships, hopelessness, and guilt – among many others.

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Help to Stop Domestic Violence in South Carolina

by Rebecca Callaham, Executive Director, Safe Harbor

From the Greenville News – August 8, 2010

Jessica Anderson. Natasha Kerns. Christine Crane: Three women who lost their lives this summer in Greenville County. Not to an illness, cancer or a horrible accident. Each one lost her life because the man who was supposed to love her allegedly took it from her. Each one silenced forever by domestic violence.

In South Carolina, where we promote family values and Southern hospitality, we are literally loving each other to death. South Carolina ranked No. 8 last year for the number of women killed by men. The previous year, South Carolina ranked No. 2. This is hardly an improvement, as South Carolina has consistently ranked in the Top 10.

According to the S.C. Department of Public Safety, Greenville County ranks No. 1 in the state for family violence victimization, No. 2 for domestic violence victimization, No. 2 for domestic violence aggravated assault and No. 2 for domestic violence simple assault.

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Domestic Violence and Faith

by Julie Meredith, Director of Volunteers & Communication, Safe Harbor

Faith communities and churches provide a social network for individuals and families, comfort for the grieving, hope for those who are depressed, redemption for sinners, and care for the sick.  When a church member is diagnosed with cancer, he/she is upheld in the prayers of the congregation and supported with encouraging cards.  When a family in the church loses a loved one, church members bring meals and send flowers.  In many churches, support groups and counseling are available for people who are dealing with addictions, grief, divorce, or other concerns.

But, what kind of support does a person receive from her congregation when she reveals that she is being abused by her spouse or partner?  After working at Safe Harbor for the past two years, I honestly cannot answer this question.  It is difficult to know what a victim of domestic violence might experience when she turns to her congregation for help.  I have learned that the kind of support that a victim receives tends to vary from congregation to congregation.  Congregational support for victims depends on the congregation’s leadership, its membership, its theology and beliefs, and its understanding of domestic violence.

Here are the stories of two victims:

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The Few Lilies Project

The Bird & Baby Theatre Company Partners with Safe Harbor to Raise Awareness about Domestic Violence

This August, The Bird & Baby Theatre Company of Greer is producing The Few Lilies Project, a benefit for Safe Harbor. The Few Lilies Project exists to promote awareness of the issue of domestic violence and raise money for Safe Harbor. Through the theatre production and the accompanying art exhibit, the audience will be confronted with the issue in a unique way, and will be provided with the opportunity to contribute additional funds, above the initial ticket price, directly to Safe Harbor.

The theatre production consists of Arlene Hutton’s I Dream Before I Take the Stand, and a series of monologues written by local playwright Anne Pecaro.  Anne interviewed survivors of domestic violence, turning their stories into monologues.

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Support Safe Harbor

When you give to Safe Harbor, 89.8 cents of every dollar goes directly to Safe Harbor’s prevention and intervention services to break the cycle of domestic violence in the Upstate of South Carolina. You can make a tax-deductible contribution by clicking the link below.

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Mail: PO. Box 174 Greenville, SC 29602

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