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      Domestic violence survivors honored

      COLUMBIA (WACH)--Sistercare names two domestic violence survivors as Women of the Year.

      Paula Coleman and Sarah Jackson were honored Wednesday morning at the 5th Annual Women of the Year Event.

      As a nonprofit, United Way partner agency, Sistercare's mission is to provide services and to advocate for abused women and their children, and to promote prevention of domestic violence through community awareness and training.

      Ms. Coleman was selected after the progress she made in Sistercare' s transitional housing program and her efforts in completing a college degree while supporting her family. Coleman says after reaching out to Sistercare and breaking free of her abusive relationship she feels like a new person.

      Ms. Jackson is a twenty-year survivor of domestic violence. She sought Sistercare's services after fleeing a northeastern state to escape her abusive husband. Her abuse was so severe that she felt she had to move to another state and hide for years from her husband. However, Ms. Jackson was determined to be free of her abuser and has met that goal even though some feelings still linger.

      "Every time I hear of another family being killed, then my emotional abuse it has a way of coming to the surface," said Jackson.

      "A lot of people see me today and they can't believe I'm the same person I was before, I look different and I feel different, it's a whole, it's amazing just how much your physical appearance changes," said Coleman Wednesday.

      Sistercare is the only organization that specifically offers shelter and support services for battered women and their children in Richland, Lexington, Kershaw, Newberry, and Fairfield counties.