Becky Callaham is the executive director of Safe Harbor, a domestic violence organization that serves the upstate of South Carolina. Safe Harbor’s mission is to provide a continuum of services for victims of domestic violence and their children, as well as to eliminate the cultural acceptance of domestic violence through prevention, education and a coordinated community response.
This has to be one of the most powerful stories we have captured since I started working with Safe Harbor eight years ago. Each year, we have pushed the boundaries, getting to a place where real, raw emotion translated into such palatable words. Jenita is such an inspiring woman, with an amazing ability to share emotion in a way that we could truly see into her soul.
I have been thinking about Nigel’s #BeADad story this week, a story of a committed working father and husband. His story has taught me so much about the intentionality of being a dad, the consistent commitment to being “present”.
Being a dad is tough…really tough. I have been in the middle of a wonderful campaign interviewing, capturing images of great dads and I am humbled. Each dad I capture…each man I interview…each image showcasing a dad and their children…I am reminded of my struggles.
I am at that age when many of my friends are starting to get divorced and it not only breaks my heart but it makes me even more disillusioned about my ability to break the cycle.
Did you hear, once again South Carolina ranks #1 in rate of women murdered by men. This new data was released just a few weeks before October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Did you also know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Yes…you will see pink everywhere from products in the grocery store, fountains in downtowns, major state/federal buildings colored pink…we will be pink washed in jut a few days.
It was just the other day as a storyteller and I sat through another amazing interview…an interview that not only brought me to tears, but the people around me. Laneika is a more than a domestic violence survivor and her story is one of purest of crystal balls…you have to carefully take care of her story or it will slip through your fragile fingers and crash all upon the floor.
Storytellers have a tremendous burden, one of not only crafting the story…but finding the right characters and helping them find the right words at the right time. It is a special dance and we carefully step around the ballroom. The largest part of that dance, those steps, is finding the path through the interview.
In January we had the opportunity to meet Brittany Speed, a survivor of domestic violence. We sat down to capture her story and we were amazed with her path, how she came to Safe Harbor, and how her story is empowering others.
Our friends at Safe Harbor asked us to capture, tell, and share Brittny’s story as a featured video for their March event called Fashion with a Passion.
In 2012 I was struck, hit upside the head, and right in the chest with the news of a friend who had been murdered. I had worked along side her to help create an event called Ecoplosion. She worked for Clemson University in the Master of Real Estate Development Program and was a crucial part of putting together a big economic development event in Greenville, SC. Her name is Marge Putnam.
I was struck in the head and in the chest. It knocked the breathe out of me to learn that this beautiful woman, mother, grandmother, community leader was killed by her husband who then killed himself.
The domestic violence story is all around us. We don’t realize it, but we know someone who has been impacted directly by domestic violence. 1 in 4 people have been directly impacted by domestic violence…YES, 1 in 4.
If you listen above, Michael Cogdill helps us define domestic violence. How does he know, well let me count the ways. Not only did his father beat his mother, but he bears the burden of sharing the numerous stories everyday how domestic violence invades our living rooms.
It was just a few months ago, Marge Putnam from Seneca was killed by her husband. This story has impacted so many of us in the Upstate of SC. She was engrained in the Clemson University community and loved by so many friends and her family.
So sharing Marge’s story, Michael story, and the stories of so many others is so important…it helps us become aware. It helps us learn that it is not okay to hurt and abuse those we love inside our homes. We must share so that when we understand what it means, we will feel empowered to speak up and call the authorities.
As a legislator said this morning during the #DomesticViolence Awareness Month kick-off Press Conference, this is a community effort. Yes…we must share to become aware.
To learn more about #DomesticViolence and it’s impact on the community, go to SafeHarbor.org’s blog to read more.