A vote against violence

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

“I’ve never voted a day in my life and I never will,” said Lashona Burks, a 36-year-old nurse from York, S.C.

Burks, a mother of two, believes that the political system is broken and said it’s a waste of time to vote. “Why should I stand in line to vote for some big shot, career politician who doesn’t even care about me or my family?” said Burks.

“I don’t vote red or blue, black or white or old or young. I pick the candidate who will serve me best,” said Robert McCoy, a 62-year-old farmer from Denmark, S.C.

McCoy has lived in South Carolina his entire life and has voted in nearly every election. “Growing up in an all-black community, I quickly learned to value the voice I have because the people before me couldn’t share their voice the way I can,” he said.

“I hold myself to a high standard when election time comes around,” said Jennifer Mack, a 29-year-old bank teller from Hartsville, S.C. “A month before each primary I research each candidate. I analyze their political platforms, their goals for the community and their behavior in and out of the office,” said Mack.

Although Burks, McCoy and Mack have differing opinions on voting, one thing they all agree on is that South Carolina has a serious problem with domestic violence. Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-S.C., one of five candidates for governor, also recognizes this problem and is advocating for stronger penalties for offenders.

“Currently, South Carolina ranks first in the nation for the amount of homicides caused by criminal domestic violence,” according to The Office of The Attorney General, South Carolina’s chief prosecutor and legal counsel.

South Carolina’s rate of 2.54 per 100,000 women murdered by men was more than double the national average, according to a 2014 report by the Violence Policy Center, a national anti-gun violence non-profit organization based in Washington.

“I love this state, but this is embarrassing. While the majority of the blame can be rightly placed upon the abuser, some blame should fall on lawmakers,” said McCoy. He said South Carolina’s slap-on-the-wrist laws make it easy for batterers.

In South Carolina, the first offense of criminal domestic violence is a misdemeanor. Then the offender can either be fined $1,000 or imprisoned for “not more than thirty days,” according to the S.C. Legislature. But the previous punishments can be waived if the offender completes a court-approved program designed to treat batterers, according to the legislature.

Even though she doesn’t believe in voting, Burks says she’d vote for the politician who could implement steeper punishments for offenders of domestic violence.


By: Ashly Higgins

Print Friendly, PDF & Email