Raising domestic violence awareness in Cherokee County as cases continue to rise

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Tracking a dangerous trend in Cherokee County. The sheriff there told 7 News there has been a spike in domestic violence cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Tuesday evening, a vigil was held to remember the people lost to the violence and raise awareness on the issue.

34 names and 34 candles representing the 34 lives lost over the last two decades in Cherokee County because of domestic violence.

“Her boyfriend brutally beat her to death, got in her car, drove to his job and killed himself,” said Gaffney woman whose sister was a victim of domestic violence, Jennifer Davidson.

Jennifer Davidson said her sister was a victim of domestic violence. She told us it happened three years ago but the pain is still fresh.

“My mom is devastated, we’re still hurting,” Davidson said.

As the sorrow continues for this family, so does the number of domestic violence cases in Cherokee County.

“In 2019, we had 225 cases. Already through today’s date, we’ve had 193 so I feel confident we will go over that 225 we had last year,” Cherokee County Sheriff, Steve Mueller said.

“They have their normal stressors with the stress of finances and things of that nature, people losing their job so that of course, increases the stress within the home,” said 7th Circuit Assistant Solicitor, Toria Smith.

Not only does Jada Charley with the SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition say they’re feeling this increase, she told us they’re noticing more severe cases.

“A lot of the abuses have gotten a lot worse since the pandemic started,” said Jada Charley with SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition.

And as people like Davidson remember the life of their loved one taken by violence, Sheriff Mueller said the fight is far from over.

“Your loved ones won’t be forgotten,” Sheriff Mueller said.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are resources available. Here in the upstate, there’s the SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition. Their number is 1.864.583.9803 or 1.800.273.5066. Those numbers are available 24/7 and are confidential. You can also find their website here: https://shrcc.org/.

There’s also a National Domestic Violence Hotline number you can call. That number is 1.800.799.SAFE. There is more information on their website here: https://www.thehotline.org/.

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