Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Executive Director Sara Barber express their excitement for the new Ring Doorbell initiative. Photos by Julie Crosby
The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault announced on Wednesday a new initiative with Ring Video Doorbells and Security Cameras to provide extra safety to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Ring’s donation of up to 1,000 devices, doorbells and security cameras, will provide an additional tangible way for advocates to work as they develop safety plans with individual survivors on a case-by-case basis,” Sara Barber, SCCADVASA’s executive director, said. She was joined at a news conference by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and representatives of Ring and Amazon, which will deliver the devices.
The donation comes in time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time when Barber announces troubling statistics. This year, she was excited to add the donation from Ring as a hopeful nod to the future of South Carolina.
South Carolina is the sixth most dangerous state in the country for violence against women, according to Barber. She said in 2019 over 40,000 South Carolinian’s reached out to SCCADVASA’s partner organizations for help.
On Oct. 5, Attorney General Alan Wilson led a ceremony to memorialize 24 women and 15 men who were killed as a result of domestic violence in 2020. Families carried silhouettes of the victims to the State House steps with a 40th silhouette added to represent potential unknown victims. The Silent Witness Domestic Violence Ceremony highlighted the reality of domestic violence in South Carolina.
SCCADVASA will be distributing the donated devices to 10 of its partner organizations in South Carolina and to two specific organizations that serve Black and African American survivors and Indigenous survivors.
“Tools such as this can be a tremendous resource in terms of safety planning and provide added comfort for survivors who are experiencing heightened safety concerns or those who are in fear of repeated harassment or stalking,” Barber said.
Amazon Regional Policy Manager Joe Nolan said the Ring team is looking forward to helping SCCADVASA continue their mission.
“We know every survivor has a different story and different safety needs and hope that this donation helps make a difference for individuals and families throughout South Carolina, but we also know that this is just one of many ways SCCADVASA staff and advocates can support survivors,” Nolan said.
Nolan went on to announce Ring donated $20,000 to SCCADVASA.
Benjamin said he is hopeful the donation from Ring will help to provide security to victims and survivors and that it may prevent further victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“The word coalition is a crucial part of the very name of SCCADVASA because it speaks to the need for partnerships and collaborations to improve the outcomes and the wellbeing and safety of survivors,” Benjamin said.
“This initiative, as the mayor spoke to, highlights the power of collaboration to build safer communities and to support survivors,” Barber said. “This is not something that advocates can do alone. To create peace in our homes and communities, we must recognize what is our piece to contribute.”
Ring’s contribution is part of its mission to make neighborhoods and communities safer.
“We are deeply appreciative to the team at Ring, Amazon, and to Mayor Benjamin’s office for being such proactive and supportive partners and look forward to continued collaborations with them as we work together to build on the hope that South Carolina citizens can look to a brighter future where homes are places of safety rather than of fear,” Barber said.
Barber spoke about the importance that tools like the Ring Doorbells are to helping aid survivors and their advocates.
Amazon and Ring Doorbells presented a check for $20,000 dollars as a donation to the program.
Amazon Regional Policy Manager Joe Nolan said he believes video doorbells are a useful tools to the employees, advocates and survivors associated with domestic violence.
ABOUT THE JOURNALISTS
Mackenzie “Ken” Patterson is a senior multimedia journalism and studio art student from Greenville, South Carolina. They are passionate about the environment and human rights and will use that passion to pursue a JD in environmental law. On campus Patterson has worked as the social media coordinator for Sustainable Carolina and continued that work off campus as a social media intern for the Post Landfill Action Network. Outside of journalism, they enjoy gardening, painting, and gaming with family.
Julie Crosby is a fourth year multimedia journalism student from Charleston, South Carolina. As a former South Carolina State House intern, Crosby is particularly invested in writing stories that combine her passion for politics and education. She hopes to tell the stories of educators who are advocating for continued policy improvement for students in South Carolina. In her free time, Crosby enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.