Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Are YOU Going To Do About Domestic Violence?

"What are YOU going to do about domestic violence?"

This is what South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster asked an audience full of business leaders at his domestic violence summit for the business community on October 25. It was co-sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

The Attorney General was not just giving a speech -- he meant it. He wanted to know what everyone in the audience was going to do about an issue that he believes is the number one crime issue in South Carolina -- and he wants the business community to join him in dealing with this issue. He wants business people to look at the business costs of domestic violence and to see how they can be proactive in addressing domestic violence -- and that was why I was there. I was there to talk to employers about how they can "do well by doing good" -- they can recognize domestic violence as an issue impacting their workplaces and employees, respond appropriately in the context of the workplace, and refer employees for assistance and services (and of course people can get information on our website at . . .and fortunately we had wonderful service providers there with us from all over South Carolina.

But it was more than that. Attorney General McMaster wanted every person in the room to think personally about our response to domestic violence and we were personally going to respond. We heard from a wonderful young lady who shared her incredible story of courage and survival, and we heard from the AG about the dire statistics in South Carolina, and we heard from Verizon Wireless about the wonderful things they are doing as an employer. And then it was time for people to decide how they were going to step up.

So -- as October draws to a close, I guess it is time for all of us to ask ourselves the question that Attorney General McMaster asked everyone in that room in Columbia, South Carolina last week -- "What are YOU going to do about domestic violence?"

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