Lt. Holcombe: 'Enough is enough' for domestic violence

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, September 19, 2014

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Call 911 at the first sign of domestic abuse.

Call 911 at the first sign of domestic abuse.


Domestic violence help guide

Here’s a sobering thought.

On average, one in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe relationship violence – with the riskiest time in a woman’s life between the ages of 18 and 34.

Absorb that while perusing the stands at a high school football game on Friday night or college game on Saturday.  Or gathering in sanctuaries on Sunday.

The crushing knockout blow Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice delivered to the face of his then-fiancé, now-wife Janay Palmer, caught on camera, may ashamedly symbolize the punch felt around the country and lightning rod for October’s Domestic Violence Month.

“That is unbelievable how hard (Rice) hit her. I think all society now is saying, ‘look, enough is enough’. We are going to do everything we can to stop this,” said Greer Police Lt. Jim Holcombe.

Meghan Wiebel is the Victim / Witness Advocate for the Greer PD. “I think it (punch) just heightened our awareness,” Wiebel said. “We know domestic violence occurs. The public now has an actual video to see what is occurring in the world.”

And Greer police now have body worn cameras to capture domestic violence victims’ complaints. “You get the bruises, her crying, you get yelling and maybe this guy makes some statements that ‘I am going to whip your butt’, when the officer is there, and you capture all that. It’s going to be hard for (the victim) to say anything differently,” said Greer Police Chief Dan Reynolds.

“Criminal domestic violence (CDV) is probably one of the worst cases where we get no support when it comes time to prosecute the case because a lot of times it’s us against them,” Holcombe said.

The Greer PD reportedly answer 3-4 CDV calls a month.

“It takes the average domestic violence victim seven attempts, often over a period of years, before she or he, because men can be victims, too, end the abusive relationship for good,” Wiebel said. “Once the victim does leave, she is in the greatest danger, because most domestic violence homicides happen after the victim has ended the relationship.”

Wiebel explained that domestic violence is a cycle – tension building, violence and seduction or honeymoon.

Within that cycle there’s a telling power and control characteristic where abusers isolate their victims from contact with family and friends. “They relocate to another city where they have (the victims) all to themselves,” Holcombe explained.  “They take the wife away from her family where the victim becomes dependent solely on the abuser for everything they get and eat.”

“The victim doesn’t understand that, because it’s not presented like that,” said Wiebel. “It’s like ‘we’ll go out here and check this area out.’”

A woman is reportedly more likely to be killed by her male partner than by any other person. About 4,000 women die each year due to domestic violence and about 75 percent of those women were killed as they left a relationship, or just after leaving.

South Carolina ranks No. 2 nationally for women murdered by men. The state was No. 1 in the previous ranking and has been a perennial top 10.

“In a relationship, the cycle of violence doesn’t start right away,” said Wiebel. “You see the emotional abuse at first, or the control factors. Maybe the finances will start to control the victims. And then the abuse will start to happen a little bit more, and it gets worse and worse each time.

“A lot of these abusive relationships, they’ve been in it for years, or married for years. The violence is really, really bad because the victims really do love and care about their abuser, because at one point it wasn’t like that. And all of a sudden it gets worse.”

“(Abusers) get very apologetic, they promise they will never do it again. They apologize on and on and then the cycle starts all over again. But each time the violence gets worse,” Wiebel said.

Wiebel said statistically, it takes someone six or seven times before domestic violence is actually reported. “They may not know its abuse, they may be fearful and they may be afraid because (abusers) are threatening them,” Wiebel said. “This is the power and control,  some of the things that they pretty much use for threats. They use intimidation and emotional abuse.” The victims are the ones blamed by their abusers as the cause of the violence.

Reynolds mandates his officers document and report all CDV calls, even if a husband and wife are arguing and there are no physical marks. 

“All (victims) have to do is fear for their safety and that’s really domestic violence,” Holcombe said. “You don’t know exactly what goes on once the doors are shut again. If there is any type of physical evidence at all, or claim of any type of physical stuff, I would say (99) percent of the time there is some sort of arrest.”

Call 911 at the first sign of domestic abuse, Holcombe said. “The victims must go through the police process. They must get it reported and then the officer will refer the case (Victim Notification Form). The victim will be contacted and get the support and everything she needs. If it’s something really bad, let’s say it’s an abuse case where (the victim) doesn’t know where to go, the officer knows the contacts and will set up housing and places to go.”






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