by BRYCE COVERT, The Nation
Domestic violence rates have skyrocketed in the aftermath of the recession, but governors are cutting funds to support the victims.
Late last week, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley vetoed eighty-one items in the 2012–13 state budget sent to her by lawmakers. Beyond eliminating the state’s arts commission, she also managed to cut $453,680 in funding for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA). If her veto isn’t overridden, “rape crisis centers will lose 37% of their current state funding, which will drastically reduce their ability to respond to victims and provide prevention education,” SCCADVASA’s Executive Director Pamela Jacobs told the Palmetto Public Record.
South Carolina was already failing women when it comes to preventing violence against them. Its rape rate has exceeded the national rate since 1982. It also holds the extremely dubious honor of being number seven in the country for the number of women murdered by men.
But the situation is even more urgent right now. The recession has led to a drastic and alarming increase in violence against women. As I wrote last year, 80 percent of domestic violence shelters surveyed by Mary Kay reported an increase in domestic violence cases for the third straight year, and three-quarters attributed the violence to the victims’ financial issues. More than half say the abuse is even more violent than it was before the financial crisis. The Police Executive Research Forum also reports that over half of police agencies are seeing an increase in domestic violence calls this year due to the economy. This all lines up with studies showing that domestic violence is three times more likely to occur when a couple experiences financial strain, as so many are right now.
Via J'nene Solidarity Kay