73 / 48
      58 / 41
      57 / 37

      One billion women rise up against domestic abuse

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Valentines Day was used to send a new message for women across the Midlands: rise up against domestic violence.

      Hundreds of women took part in the One Billion Rising flash mob event at the Statehouse Thursday. Officials say one in three women has been affected by violence.

      Zumba Instructor Cynthia Shephard immediately wanted to help when she heard about the world wide event.

      "I said 'What can I do that is local; that can be interesting and fun?' And since I teach Zumba, I thought this would be a great way to combine the two," said Shephard.

      Midlands Sexual Trauma Services Executive Director Ginney Waller said the key is to help men and women at early ages. She said there are support systems for victims suffering from physical, mental, and sexual abuse.

      "There is a rape crisis agency that serves every portion of the state," Waller said. "We provide a 24 hour hotline. We provide hospital response. We also do crisis intervention as well as counseling. You are not alone. There are individuals who care about you."

      At the end of the flash mob, several children visiting the Statehouse participated in their own flash mob; giving Shephard hope for the future.

      "I loved the kids. I thought that was the best part of the day. That is the next generation of young girls and boys coming up. Maybe we will have a whole different perspective," said Shephard.

      A perspective they hope will change a disturbing trend.

      Anyone suffering from sexual abuse is encouraged to contact the Midlands Sexual Trauma Services Center at 803-790-8208. You can also visit here.