SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Valentine’s Day is a few days away and love is in the air.
However, for many struggling couples, this time of year could be heartbreaking especially for those in abusive relationships.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that an average of 20 people experience intimate partner physical violence every minute.
Safe Homes Rape Crisis Coalition is the only women’s center in Spartanburg County. They said it’s important to notice the signs of abuse and to get out of the relationship immediately.
7 News spoke with Safe Homes Rape Crisis Coalition Victim Services Director Marlene Evans and she said relationships should make you feel like a winner.
“Partnerships are supposed to be equal. They are not a game, and a lot of people treat relationships like games. And we know in games there’s at least one winner and one loser. And in a healthy relationship you should both be winners,” Evans said.
Even though the likelihood of women being victims of abuse is disproportionately higher than men, according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence.
Safe Homes Rape Crisis Coalition also helps men escape from abusive relationships and will provide them access to the same services provided to women.
Some of the resources they offer include housing, job assistance, access to food and counseling for those who need to heal from traumatic situations.
But with the holiday approaching, we all know Valentines Day is about celebrating love and receiving gifts. But sometimes those gifts could be used as a distraction from abusive behavior.
Evans said pay close attention to red flags and if you are in danger get out quickly.
“The victim loves that person. They just want that person to stop being abusive. And if they would simply stop being abusive then the relationship could continue. When you see this kind of violence, unfortunately but all too often, it can end in death,” Evans said.
For Valentine’s Day, the center will provide gift bags to the victims and their children with items like toys, perfume and hygiene products.
The State of South Carolina and Spartanburg County have several resources to help men and women who want to escape an abusive relationship.
Below are resources in the Upstate for those looking to escape an abusive relationship:
SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition
SHRCC provides a 24-hour hotline (864-583-9803) for domestic and sexual assault survivors seeking support, resources, hospital accompaniment, and/or shelter.
Safe Harbor- Greenville
To provide a continuum of services for victims of domestic violence and their children.
To eliminate cultural acceptance of domestic violence through a coordinated community response, prevention and education.
Miracle Hill Ministries
Spartanburg Rescue Mission is an emergency shelter that serves a multitude of people experiencing homelessness, including men, women and mothers with children.
The South Carolina Coalition against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) also has information for victims and their friends or family.
State Office of Victim Assistance
Basic information on victim rights as well as obtaining assistance.
South Carolina Victim Assistance Network
Provides additional resources for victims. Their mission is to provide support services for victims of crime and to prevent future crimes through advocacy, education, public awareness and technical assistance.