‘We will save lives’: North Myrtle Beach Woman’s Club walk supports domestic violence programs

Grand Strand

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — With state funding for a new domestic violence shelter in Horry County on the way, the North Myrtle Beach Woman’s Club held a special event Saturday to raise awareness about the problem.

“Now it’s time for us to start speaking up past our homes, speaking out on our abusers, stop letting them live comfortable, we [got to] start living comfortable,” Mary Jenerette, a victim of domestic violence, said.

State and local leaders, along with the North Myrtle Beach community, attended the first “What A Difference A Mile Makes” walk to help with awareness and raise money for domestic violence.

“We do have an issue here, it’s a problem,” said Linda Sweatt, who chaired the event. “As the world catches on to what we’re doing here, we’ll make a difference. We will save lives right here in our own community, and maybe others.”

South Carolina is among the top 10 worst states for domestic violence. Officials say there’s 1.5 times more domestic violence here compared with the national average. In North Myrtle Beach, 172 domestic violence cases occurred in 2020. So far in 2021, there have been 207.

“Clearly, it’s been a problem for quite a long time, and it’s obviously not going away anytime soon, North Myrtle Beach Police Chief Tommy Dennis said. “Half of the victims are reluctant to report them.”

Right now, the closest domestic violence shelter is in Georgetown, which is out of the way for many victims in Horry County. However, state Sen. Greg Hembree says the General Assembly will be giving $1.5 million to the Family Justice Center to help build the county’s first domestic violence shelter.

“To be able to get one lump sum and really look at a turn-key operation is such a blessing and a real reason for celebration,” Hembree said.

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