During the 21st Silent Witness Ceremony, the name and story of each victim were read out loud. Each name representing a different tragedy.
South Carolina ranked 6 in the nation in 2016 for numbers related to women killed by men. Each year, the state takes the time to recognize those victims and spark conversations on policy change.
Attorney General Wilson explained some factors that contribute to the state’s high ranking for domestic violence.
“In the 70s and 80s, domestic violence wasn’t talked about. It was usually things dealt with in the home,” says Wilson.
Wooden silhouettes painted red for women and blue for men were brought out as each victim’s name was called. Children who have lost their mother or father and mothers who have lost their child sat in the audience.
Debra Ling is one of those mothers. Her 16-year-old daughter, Alydia Ling, was killed by her boyfriend. Alydia was several months pregnant. Debra Ling told 7News how the past year has been for her and Alydia’s family.
“It’s been up and down. It’s up and down. Some days, it’s good. Some days, it’s not. My oldest boy really hasn’t gotten over it yet,” Lind describes.
7News reporter Georgiaree Godfrey asked Ling to reflect on who her daughter was before she was taken at the hands of someone she trusted.
“She was real popular. She had a lot of friends. When she died, I didn’t know it was that many people who loved her,” added Ling.
In 2017, 29 women and 11 men were killed by domestic violence.
Attorney General Wilson said the ceremony is an opportunity to raise awareness and offer comfort for the families still trying to heal.
“Let families who have lost someone to a senseless tragic event, let them know that they are not alone. There is a community out there. We’re strangers to them, but we’re there for them,” promises Wilson.
Lawmakers are working on several bills related to victim privacy, tiers of domestic violence, and even the classification of strangulation.
But for families like the Lings, the ceremony is an opportunity to reflect on who they’ve lost. Ling said support of those around her has gotten her through each day.
“I had a lot of people praying for me. Just have to look up to the Lord and pray,” says Ling.
Below each victim is listed by county.
BILLY HARRIS, JR.–ANDERSON COUNTY VERONICA KING–BEAUFORT COUNTY
ROBIN BYRNE–BERKELEY COUNTY CHICOBA CRABTREE–BERKELEY COUNTY
DORIS COLUCCI–CHARLESTON COUNTY GARDEN MAGWOOD–CHARLESTON COUNTY
GARY STONE–CHEROKEE COUNTY ROBERT BENSON–DARLINGTON COUNTY
TONY LOGAN–DARLINGTON COUNTY JANE GADDY–FAIRFIELD COUNTY
JUSTIN WILSON–FAIRFIELD COUNTY LEVADER BRIGHT–FLORENCE COUNTY
AMANDA MCCALL–FLORENCE COUNTY CHARLES JOHNSON III–GEORGETOWN COUNTY
JESSICA PERRY–GEORGETOWN COUNTY MILDRED HALL–GREENVILLE COUNTY
EMILY PACE–GREENVILLE COUNTY CANDY ROSARIO–GREENVILLE COUNTY
SANDRA SMITH—GREENVILLE COUNTY ALYDIA LING–HAMPTON COUNTY
DENNIS GREEN–HORRY COUNTY LATOSHA LEWIS–HORRY COUNTY
SHEMERIA SMITH–HORRY COUNTY TAMMY SMITH–HORRY COUNTY
WILLIAM WREN–JASPER COUNTY MILDRED ARNOLD–LANCASTER COUNTY
LINDSEY LEE–LEXINGTON COUNTY MARQUITA MOBLEY–LEXINGTON COUNTY
MARISSA REYNOSO–LEXINGTON COUNTY LESTER WALTERS–MARION COUNTY
SHELBY HEAD–MARLBORO COUNTY REBECCA CAWTHON–OCONEE COUNTY
CLATIE STRIBBLE—OCONEE COUNTY SARAH ALEXANDER–RICHLAND COUNTY
KRISTI BELL–RICHLAND COUNTY AMANDA PEELE–RICHLAND COUNTY
JOANNE HUSTON–SPARTANBURG COUNTY DESJUAN LEMON–SUMTER COUNTY
SUZETTE GINTHER–SUMTER COUNTY MARANDY BRANDON–YORK COUNTY
To read their stories click HERE.