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Washington, U.S.A. — William Kellibrew IV, deputy director and national victims advocate, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, made the following statement in response to Governor Nikki Haley’s remarks about rape and domestic assault prevention programs:
“The recent remarks by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley calling rape and domestic assault prevention programs a ‘distraction’ for the Department of Health and Environmental Control in order to justify nearly a half million dollars in budget cuts are appalling and insensitive to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
With that type of attitude toward victims it’s no wonder that, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the state she leads ranks seventh in the country for the number of women killed by men, and has had a rate of sexual violence higher than the national average since 1982.
“Governor Haley may think that the only thing victims of violent crimes need is ‘sympathy and encouragement;’ however, as a person who as a child witnessed the brutal murder of my family in our living room, I assure you that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault need extensive medical and mental health care services.
The lack of services adds tremendously to the public health crisis and becomes more costly in the long run. I did not receive desperately-needed therapy or support for three years after my mother and sister brother were murdered so I understand that cutting funding for victims is dangerous and a direct slap in the face to those who need these services the most. Reducing funding sounds contrary to the agency’s mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.
“I urge Governor Haley to venture out into the community and speak with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and I’m sure she will recognize that we need support in every way possible. Perhaps Governor Haley should consider that an increase in funds for prevention programs could reduce the number of women killed in her state, reduce South Carolina’s high rate of sexual violence, and lower costs over time.”
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