The Bad Boys of South Carolina

But not the kind we gals like

First, the good news. South Carolina’s governor finally saw fit last January to put together a domestic violence task force. That group met this week and heard the personal testimonies of several domestic violence survivors. I sure hope they listened and will make realistic recommendations to Gov. Haley. Recommendations that will actually be implemented. I’m a vociforous advocate for stronger laws (or in some cases any laws!) to protect victims and help reduce the rate of domestic violence in this state. My post “What I Really Hate About South Carolina,” which caused quite a stir in August, 2014, and Domestic Violseveral follow-up posts are still being viewed, shared and reposted, thankyouverymuch. Obviously, I’m pleased that the subject of domestic violence in South Carolina is finally getting the attention it deserves.

I’m cautiously optimistic that the powers that be are actually dealing with the fact that South Carolina has the highest rate in the nation of women murdered by men.

Now for the bad news.

Former Lexington County Sheriff James Metts got a slap on the wrist for Sheriff James Mettscorruption and accepting bribes. This is just the latest in a long list of many South Carolina law enforcement officers who find orange jumpsuits flattering. Metts is the eighth sheriff in South Carolina to be charged or investigated in the last four years. The list of South Carolina police officers and deputies fired, indicted and/or investigated in connection with criminal cases is longer than my arm.

In Metts’ case, I fault the voters who have elected and repeatedly re-elected him as their top law enforcement officer since 1972. Why would anyone continue to vote the same person into office for 40 years knowing the risk of corruption? My guess is ignorance, complacency and personal favors are the biggest factors.

One thing that I think would make an improvement in both these areas is more women being involved in South Carolina politics. Our good ol’ boy culture and the lack of participation by women are at the root of many of South Carolina’s problems. Did you know that South Carolina has NEVER been represented in the U.S. Senate by a woman? Women’s voices in politics and presence in law enforcement, on any level, would make a huge difference in our communities. Not every woman can or should run for office. But we can support those who do and encourage those who should. Attend your school board meetings. Be a campaign volunteer for a female candidate for county council, state legislature, or Congress. Encourage a female deputy to run for sheriff.

Better yet, don’t vote for the male candidates who have been in office for decades (can you say Strom Thurmond?). Look for a woman candidate who is in favor of term limits and vote for her! We won’t rid this state of it’s Neanderthal mentality towards women until we put women in positions of authority where they can represent and protect our daughters, mothers and sisters.

Hey, ho!

Ongoing violence against women

October is for women because it’s Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence October RibbonsAwareness month. I’ve been talking a lot recently about South Carolina’s horrendous culture of men killing women and the state-wide epidemic of domestic violence. But what I haven’t addressed is the verbal violence against women that pervades society in general, and was brought to light in lovely Florence, S.C. this week.

One of our our gubernatorial candidates has been accused of calling his rival a whore. This incident was, of course, caught on video, which you can watch for yourself below. I don’t buy it; it’s apparently a slip of the tongue.

What I take issue with is anyone using the word whore to describe a woman for whom they have no respect. The word itself has a place in our lexicon. We need a word we can use when discussing “a woman who engages in sexual acts for money :  prostitute; also :  a promiscuous or immoral woman (Merriam-Webster).” But I can’t figure out why we don’t have a word for men who exhibit the same behavior that we can use when talking about men for whom we have no respect. The word bitch falls into the same category. And please don’t try to tell me the word bastard fills that void. A bastard can be male or female.

Men, it’s time to grow up and treat women with respect – physically, verbally and emotionally. And you deserve the same from us.

Taking hundreds of steps forward…

and seemingly endless steps back

As most of my readers know, I make it a point to speak up on the subject of South Carolina’s intolerable domestic violence statistics. Allow me to indulge in yet another public service announcement on the subject.

In less than 24 hours, there have been two conflicting news headline stories here in Columbia. First, the good news:

Hundreds walk to end domestic violence

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS)Early Saturday morning at Finlay Park in downtown Columbia, the city held its Eighth Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence. 

Domestic Violence

Source: Mayor Steve Benjamin/Twitter

The City of Columbia has been working toward bringing more awareness to domestic violence and this morning Mayor Benjamin, Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine, domestic violence advocates, supporters and survivors attended the one mile walk in support of the cause.

The Violence Policy Council reported in their annual “When Men Murder Women” that South Carolina ranks second in the nation for women that are killed by men. Statistics show that almost one in four women are likely to experience domestic violence in their lives.

The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Sistercare provide emergency housing for abuse victims in need. The City of Columbia wants everyone to know that there is assistance for those seeking to leave abusive relationships in the Midlands.

And, of course, the bad news:

Man wanted for stabbing estranged girlfriend arrested

Domestic Violence

Jason Boyles (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS)Richland County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Saturday wanted on multiple charges, including attempted murder.

Jason Boyles, 28, is accused stabbing his estranged girlfriend Friday at a residence in the 1900 block of Roof Street.

Deputies say he went to the home to return the 24-year-old victim’s vehicle, then attempted to force the victim into her car.

When the woman tried to escape, Boyles stabbed her in the upper body, deputies say.

The woman was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.Boyles is also accused of pointing a knife at his estranged girlfriend Oct. 5 and stealing her vehicle.

Once arrested, Boyles will be charged with attempted murder, burglary, and criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.

Boyles and the victim share two children in common, deputies say.

Boyles was taken into custody Saturday near the 9800 block of Two Notch Rd. 

It’ll be nice when I never have to write about this topic again. But until the root of the problem is addressed, I’ll be doing whatever I can to bring about awareness of the issue and fight for change.

Opposed to running unoppsed

Jenny, this is all your fault!

I’m licking my chops, salivating, and rubbing my hands together in anticipation. My brother just sent me the link to Gail Collins’ September 17 article in the New York Times, “Sex is the Least of It.”  Yup, yet another op-ed about Mark Sanford. The journalistic equivalent of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. I’m posting this BEFORE I read the article because I’ll be too wound up when I’m done to do anything but sputter and spit. The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker also wrote a piece on Sanford’s foibles yesterday.

Sanford Walking

Keep walking. And don’t come back!

I blame Jenny Sanford for our communal state of shame every time her ex opens his mouth. By not backing up his story about being on the Appalachian Trail  in 2009, she washed her hands of him, inflicting him and his trail of endless tears on us. I’m sure the only winner here is his Argentinian ex-soulmate, Maria Belen Chapur. All I have to say to her is, “De nada!”

Hey, all you South Carolina voters in District 1 – yeah, that’s you Charleston, Hilton Head, Summerville and points beyond – get with the program, please. Isn’t there anyone down you can find to represent you on Capitol Hill (and in the press) besides this dope? Is there a District 1 citizen reading this who will run? Please?

Driving myself crazy

Always wanting to be wherever I’m not

I recently spent a week “back home” in Maryland relaxing on the beach in Ocean City. Hadn’t been there since… well, not for a very looong time. That was where we vacationed every year throughout my childhood. I have wonderful memories of that town in particular and Maryland’s Eastern Shore in general.

The girls I was with could make a vacation in Kabul fun, but sitting in the sand with such smart, funny, relaxed women of a certain age was a tonic for my soul. However, I gotta say the beach in Maryland can’t compare to those in the Carolinas (with the exception of the Myrtle Beach area beaches, where I refuse to go except in the winter).

This is not a pelican, but a disgusting seagull.

This is not a pelican, but a disgusting seagull.

The South Atlantic coast can’t be beat, from Topsail to Surfside to Isle of Palms to Fripp and even onto Tybee Island in Georgia. I didn’t see one pelican or find any sand dollars in Ocean City. Can you believe it?

On the flip side, I don’t eat too much seafood down south because the Chesapeake Bay area has the best, hands down! I tried the clam chowder on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco once and thought I was going to be sick. When I first moved to South Carolina I had to have my brother mail me a can of Chesapeake Bay seasoning because they didn’t sell it in the grocery stores here. Fortunately, things have improved in that department.

Anyway, the upshot of spending a week back in my old stomping grounds left me even more confused about where I want to live, and only underscores why I call myself the Carolina Yankee. And if you don’t know me personally, you’ll know me if you pass me on the road…

20140909_101545image_1

Adding polish to the pandemonium

Clear, pink, or black – everyone has an opinion

“What I Really Hate About South Carolina” caused a huge stir. One result was quite a few negative posts by people who didn’t like what they perceived to be my anti-South Carolina attitude. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Another result was the post being viewed by more than 10,000 people through reblogging, overwhelmedFacebook shares, Twitter, email, etc.

You can find my responses to the haters and criticizers (at least those of whom merited a response) where I don’t so much defend myself or my choice of words, but put the burden back on them to actually read what I wrote. That people didn’t even get the joke about the USC Gamecocks and mentioned shotguns and other violence to “put me in my place” was quite ridiculous and half the reason I closed the comments section of the post. The point of the post was to bring awareness to a pervasive, shameful problem in South Carolina, not bash the state, people, or culture in general.

I was contacted by many people, male and female, thanking me for writing what I did and encouraging me to continue writing about the topic. There were so many comments (overwhelmingly positive) that I just couldn’t keep up so I ended the conversations, except on Facebook. I’ll admit I took down a few individual comments because they were too nasty or ignorant to pollute my website. It’s my site and I’ll censor if and what I want.

One gal was very upset Nailpolishand decided she’d never visit my blog again. But when she realized I have a sizable audience she got back in touch with me wanting me to share this photo with my readers, which I’m happy to do. I have no idea of this product actually works, let alone exists, but if so, then it’s a terrific one. Think Christmas stocking stuffer for your daughters, nieces, and friends! The person who sent the picture knows who she is and I thank you.

Welcome new followers and thank you to those who passed the message along. It’s still getting hundreds of views a day a week after being published because of those who shared it with someone else.

And just for the record, I LOVE South Carolina. Just not everything about it.

A man speaks up!

Literally!

champagne-toastI won’t pretend that South Carolina  House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s announcement was in response to my recent blog post about our state’s shameful domestic violence statistics. I believe the Post and Courier deserves that credit. Cheers!

Let’s hope the committee Harrell sets up will actually accomplish something… and include an abundance of women. businesswoman-wearing-heelsBetter yet, let’s all contact him and make that suggestion!

I confess my curiosity: Is Harrell actually concerned about reducing domestic violence or using the platform to rehab his own questionable reputation? Tsk tsk to me, but what would a post from yours truly be without a little snark?

To end on a more positive note than that, I’d like to thank everyone who shared my blog post on social media and took the time to contact me with their opinions and comments – positive and negative. I read and responded to all of them. The response has been terrific. Let’s keep up the good work bringing awareness to the need for change in the laws and culture regarding domestic violence in South Carolina.