COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - New numbers show South Carolina has one of the highest rates of women killed by men in the country.
A study by the Violence Policy Center shows South Carolina only ranks behind Nevada in that type of domestic-related murders. That's an increase over last year, when South Carolina ranked seventh on the list. Tennessee, Louisiana and Virginia are the other states in the top five.
The annual report by the VPC is based on 2010 homicide data and is released is released each year to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
The numbers don't surprise Nancy Barton, the executive director of Sistercare. The Columbia agency helps provide services and shelter to battered women and their children.
"We're almost seeing a woman killed per week in South Carolina," said Barton. "Last week, I heard teens talking about when 'I hit her she knows i love her.' These are adolescents and it's 2012."
One of the more recent high-profile domestic killings happened in late May in Batesburg-Leesville. Shaquanah Jones Brannon, 30, was shot and killed by her estranged boyfriend Jamael Goodman while she was working at the China One restaurant. Goodman then shot and killed himself.
Earlier that day, Brannon had filed paperwork to get a restraining order against the man. The 27-year-old Goodman had also posted threats on his Facebook page saying he had nothing to lose. Experts say Brannon took proper steps, but even that wasn't enough.
"When she does leave it's the most dangerous time for her," said Barton about women in abusive relationships. "That's when we will see these homicide-suicides scenarios. If I can't have her no one else will."
Barton points out heading off situations like that starts at a young age, by changing a culture where some may simply ignore the warning signs or don't know what to look for.
"Talk about dating violence and domestic violence and talk about what relationships should be like with partners that are safe and healthy and respectful."