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Local women's organizations pushing for stronger domestic violence laws

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Three local women's groups are taking their push for stronger domestic violence laws to the next level.

South Carolina regularly ranks among the highest in the nation for women killed by men.

The groups are putting pressure on state leaders to take action.

"We feel very strongly that we would like to see our state as one of the safest places for women," said Julie Hussey, President of The League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area.

Hussey said, "We advocate for issues that our members have studied and care about."

Abuse against SC women is one of those issues.

"How do we move from talking about it, getting the bills, to actually getting those bills passed," said Hussey.

Hussey says her push for more laws goes a little deeper than some.

"When I was in high school, I was in an abusive relationship, and so I know what it's like to be in that relationship and to be there thinking well maybe we can solve this, maybe we can fix it," said Hussey.

The league held a forum Wednesday night with the American Association for University Women, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority alumni Charleston chapter.

Joni Strom Willims, Charleston chapter president said, "One of principals that we stand on is helping those in the community."

South Carolina is second in the nation for the number of women killed by men, according to the Violence Policy Center.

"We know that when laws change, it changes the mindset and it changes behaviors," said Garcia Williams, committee chair for Delta Sigma Theta Charleston alumni chapter.

There are 124 state representatives, and of that number fewer than 20 are women. Newly elected representative Mary Tinkler says she's open to continuing the momentum pushing domestic violence laws, and hopes to be involved on the state level.

State Representative elect Mary Tinkler said, "Women make up over half the population here in this state and it's time and important for us to be able to make sure that our voices are heard appropriately."

Hussey said, "One voice can say this is happening, this is terrible. But when somebody else says this is terrible and other voices start to join is really when something happens."

A committee of state lawmakers was formed this year by former House Speaker Bobby Harrell to come up with solutions to the problems in our state.

Wednesday's open discussion led by the women's organizations was held in the council chambers at North Charleston City Hall.

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