MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Myrtle Beach Police Department is partnering with the Family Justice Center to collect donations for those in need, with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Items include things like hygiene, canned food and children’s supplies.

Kim Parsons, the executive director for the center, said South Carolina ranks in the top-10 for domestic violence cases, and Horry County typically ranks first in the entire state.

“It’s a very serious problem,” she said. “You know, it’s right here in our backdoor. It’s not something people want to talk about, but it’s happening.”

The Family Justice Center serves both Horry and Georgetown Counties to help women, men and children in domestic violence situations.

It provides counseling and support, and has a shelter in Georgetown.

“People come to us with nothing. Some people walk in our doors and they have their purse or clothes and that’s it,” Parsons said.

Parsons said many people get stuck in a domestic violence situation and before you know it, it’s been years. She said women sometimes leave and go back four or five times before permanently leaving.

She added that abusers usually use certain words or phrases to get their victim back.

“[They’ll say] ‘I’m sorry, it’ll never happen again. Oh, I love you so much,'” Parsons said. “You know, all those kinds of things that you heard in the beginning that drew you to that person and got you into the relationship.”

Domestic violence isn’t just physical. It can be financial, and arguably the worst form — emotional.

“Most of our clients would say they prefer a physical abuse than an emotional abuse,” Parsons said. “Because that emotional abuse just kind of keeps on in a loop in your head telling you those degrading things.”

Parsons said to call the Justice Center if you’re seeking help for you or a loved one. You can call anonymously as well.

“Know that there’s somebody out there that can help you and is ready to help you whenever you’re ready to leave,” she said.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department is accepting donations through the month of October. Parsons said the center is working to open a shelter in Horry County and hopes to see it open by mid-to-late 2024.

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Adrianna Lawrence is a multimedia journalist at News13. Adrianna is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the News13 team in June 2023 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2023. Keep up with Adrianna on Instagram, Facebook, and X, formerly Twitter. You can also read more of her work, here.