Local woman works to open domestic violence shelter in Horry County

LORIS, SC (WBTW) – Horry County is consistently ranked as one of the worse counties in South Carolina in terms of domestic violence cases, yet the county does not have a shelter specifically for domestic violence victims.

"Domestic violence is happening every day," said founder of Retreat with Dignity, Katrina Morrison. "It's happening around your life every day."

While there are a few groups, like the Rape Crisis Center and Family Justice Center, who advocate for victims and offer support, none run a shelter in Horry County.

"I wanted a quiet place, I wanted acreage so we could expand, I wanted a farm," said Morrison about her search for the perfect place to put a shelter.

She is currently in contract with a family to buy 12 acres of land off Sisters Road in Loris. The land already has two houses, a barn and a large storage facility but has room to add more facilities.

"It's not a spa in the countryside," said Morrison. "It's a place where you can be quiet and regroup and get your life back together and have the means and support to stand back on your own two feet."

In mid-August, Morrison spoke at the Horry County Community Violence Subcommittee in Conway. She told local law enforcement officials about her endeavor and brought along a binder full of over 1,000 people who had been arrested for domestic violence in Horry County in one year.

Morrison knows the vast scope of the problem and understands it because she was a victim herself.

"Of course, like any other wide-eyed, starry in love young woman [I thought] everything's going to change, nothing like this will ever happen again," said Morrison. "And it didn't for a year. But a year later I had a broken rib and I knew at that stage, as soon as that happened, it wasn't going to get better."

She officially created the non-profit, Retreat with Dignity, a few months ago and has a few volunteers working with her to make this dream a reality.

"At first it seemed crazy," Morrison said about taking on such a huge project. "Then stepping back a little bit thinking it's completely not crazy and it's desperately needed."

Right now she's in need of donations as she tries to raise about $320,000 to buy the Loris property.

"In my own heart I truly believe it's achievable," she said. "This is what we need right now and this has room for expansion and in time more money will be raised.

If you would like to donate or volunteer, check out Retreat with Dignity's Facebook page by clicking: here.

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