GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- The 13th Judicial Circuit Community Domestic Violence Coordinating Council hosted a vigil for victims of domestic violence Tuesday night.
“In May of 2018, we lost a son,” said Josh Pearman, who spoke at the vigil. “My boys, they lost a brother. My wife, she lost her baby boy. My grandkids, they lost their daddy.”
Pearman’s son Caleb Bartram was killed by his wife in Greenville County in 2018. Bartram is one of five people lost to domestic violence in Greenville and Pickens Counties last year.
“I still cannot make sense of it today,” Pearman said. “It still does not seem real.”
At the vigil Tuesday, a few dozen people gathered at the Greenville County Courthouse to remember them and remember the toll that domestic violence takes on the community.
“It really takes a very brave and dedicated community effort to really resolve the issue,” said 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins.
According to a local victim advocate, domestic violence can affect anyone.
“Domestic violence is the only crime that dosen’t discriminate,” said Rita Wearbon, who is a victim advocate with the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. “It happens to white people, blacks, Hispanic, young, old, rich poor, educated, uneducated.”
It can also harm children. One study found one in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence every year.
“As a small child my precious granddaughter she was doing great. She was speaking as a very small child, ahead of her peers, but then the fighting really got bad in her home. We didn’t know. And all of a sudden she stopped speaking,” Pearman said.
Now Pearman and his wife and raising Bartram’s children.
“Today she is out of that environment and she is thriving,” he said. “She is doing so well. She went from not speaking to not hushing.”
Victims of domestic violence can call the national domestic violence hotline at 800-799-7233.