Campaign aims to finance the fight on domestic violence
By Samantha Lyles
While many people hunker down at home to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, such limited mobility puts those living with domestic violence in even greater danger.
The agencies tasked to help these victims have seen calls for help increase in recent months, and while their resources may be running low, a new fundraising campaign aims to deliver a big boost to agencies in need.
Silent Tears, a nonprofit domestic-violence prevention charity founded in 2013 by Bob Castellani, has announced a 2020 match campaign where every dollar given to these five organizations will be matched and doubled up to a total of $525,000. On July 23, Castellani and a group of South Carolina legislators jetted across the state to raise awareness for the campaign.
At the Darlington County Airport, Castellani and the delegation were joined by representatives of the Pee Dee Coalition, one of the five organizations named in the match campaign.
The Coalition serves Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg Counties, providing emergency relocations, counseling, employment and education help for adults and children fleeing violence in the home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 119,000 people are victims of intimate partner violence each year in South Carolina, averaging one incident every four minutes.
Our state ranks as the fifth worst in the nation when it comes to cases of domestic violence, and legislators addressed the pressing need to continue helping victims, even during a public health crisis.
“This is an issue that didn’t die or decrease when COVID-19 came. In fact, you see more cases of abuse and neglect with spouses and children,” said S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas of Hartsville. “I applaud Silent Tears for stepping up in these unprecedented times to make sure domestic-violence centers can cope with unexpected costs incurred because of the pandemic.”
“Charity is a big sign of love. It means that you are reaching out to people that have a need. I think that one of the tasks that we have is taking care of children, those that are in their twilight years, and those that may be in the shadows of life, that have a challenge they need help getting through,” said Sen. Gerald Malloy, District 29.
“Survivors of domestic violence deserve all the support we can muster. For many, the decision to flee an abusive decision isn’t as simple as just walking out of the door.
“The last thing anyone coming out of an abusive relationship needs is another hurdle. The Pee Dee Coalition has helped so many people across the seven counties it serves. We hope this generous matching gift encourages all of our South Carolina brothers and sisters to reach into their wallets and help us put more people on a path free from interpersonal violence.”
The Silent Tears 2020 Emergency Match Campaign aims to deliver aid the Pee Dee Coalition, the Cumbee Center (serving Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale County), YWCA of Upper Midlands (serving Sumter, Clarendon and Lee County), CASA Family Systems (serving Bamberg, Calhoun and Orangeburg County), and the Safe Home (serving Abbeville, Laurens and Saluda County). Four of these centers, including the Pee Dee Coalition, serve areas where the poverty level averages 25 percent.
“We’re all in this together. Help us level the playing field for these women and children in our great state,” Silent Tears founder Bob Castellani said. “Every donation helps. I hope you will prayerfully consider donating.”
To donate, visit SilentTearsSC.org/Match2020.