Upstate domestic violence resource organizations tracking increase in need

National

GREENVILLE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – A significant increase in people seeking help and refuge from domestic violence. That’s what the executive director at Safe Harbor told us they’re going up against.

An Upstate woman, who has seen firsthand the devastation domestic violence can leave behind, shared her mother’s story with 7NEWS.

Melody McFadden has a lot of angels.

“She could cook out of this world, she made dishes that everybody always begged for in the community,” said Melody McFadden.

One of those is her mom. She lost her at a young age. She said she was taken by domestic violence.

McFadden said all the red flags were there, like manipulation, verbal abuse and physical harm.

“I can remember incidents where he broke her jaw, I can remember an incident where he hit her with a pipe. I remember when he hit her with a car against the front porch, I was actually on that front porch,” McFadden explained.

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McFadden said despite their attempts, her mother couldn’t leave the relationship. But when she finally did, she was killed.

“He went around to the kitchen window and it was a big window, he slid the window open and called her name. My sisters were screaming for her and when she turned around, he shot her forehead,” said McFadden.

It’s stories like those Becky Callaham with Safe Harbor hears all too often.

“The number of people calling us who need emergency shelter has gone up,” said Callaham.

Callaham told us what they’ve seen the biggest increase in people calling them looking for counseling or orders of protection. She said that she’s concerned those numbers will get even worse.

“The financial, and emotional and mental impacts of COVID and COVID connected with this dual pandemic of domestic violence for about a year where families were stuck together, are going to go on at least for the next couple of three years,” Callaham said.

But if they do, she said they will always be here to help.

As for McFadden, she misses her mom but told us seeing the violence firsthand and learning the warning signs has helped her save other lives of those trapped in a similar relationship.

“That person is wearing long sleeves to cover a bruise on their wrists or arms, that person doesn’t have money even on payday because the abuser has control over that,” said McFadden.

Now, she’s an advocate and fighter for safe gun use because she said if she can save one life, her mother’s death wasn’t in vain.

“Are you okay? Are you alright? Do you need help? Sometimes that’s all someone living in domestic violence needs to be asked,” McFadden said.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are resources in the Upstate. That includes the Safe Harbor 24/7 Help Line. That number is 1-800-291-2139.

There’s also the National Domestic Violence Hotline. That number is 1-800-799-7233.

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