Zonta International is a worldwide organization of executives and professionals working together to improve the status of women through service and advocacy.  Formed in 1919, Zonta International is active in 65 countries of the world.  There are approximately 31,000 members in more than 1,200 clubs.  Membership is classified according to occupation.

As one of the premier Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Zonta International maintains consultative status with several United Nations (UN) agencies.


We have chosen as a club to focus on the prevention and awareness of violence against women and girls—a serious problem in South Carolina.  The club has created an annual award program to recognize and honor those that work to help make a difference in the lives of violence victims.

We raise funds for Zonta International service projects and for local organizations that support women in the areas of health, education, and the prevention of violence.


According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

– One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

– An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

– 85% of domestic violence victims are women.

– Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they kn0w.

– Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of non-fatal intimate partner violence.

– In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner.  In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.

– Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.


-Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

-Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

-30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.


The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates.  This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.

There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion.


The data for South Carolina is equally distressing, and the numbers indicate that something must be done to decrease the occurrence of these cases and prevent further criminal acts that result from this violence.  Currently South Carolina ranks second in the nation for the number of women killed by their intimate male partners in a criminal domestic violence situation. In 2004, there were over 35,124 domestic violence cases reported in South Carolina. In 2004, at least 44 women were victims of domestic violence homicides according to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. The majority of domestic assault victims in the state are female (approximately 84 percent) and black (approximately 49 percent).  The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division reports that 65 percent of the domestic assaults were committed by a spouse.  Most domestic assault arrests (69 percent) were for simple assault; while a smaller amount (22 percent) of the arrests was for aggravated assault.  Conversely, domestic violence is responsible for almost 27 percent of all aggravated assault cases in South Carolina.

Each year in October, the Attorney General hosts a Silent Witness ceremony in Columbia, SC, to honor the victims from the preceding year. During this ceremony, wooden silhouettes represent the women and men who have died due to domestic violence in South Carolina during the previous year. Attorney General Alan Wilson will read the name of each victim and the circumstances of their death. As each name is read, volunteers or family members of the victim carry the silhouette and take a place on the State House steps. The event is open to the public. For more information about Silent Witness, or to find out how you can be a volunteer, please contact the Violence Against Women Department at (803) 734-3717.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233
Trident United Way 211 Hotline (South Carolina)

P.O. Box 63305
North Charleston, SC  29419 view map

211 – Call 2-1-1 from service area
(843) 744-4357 – Alternative Number   (843) 744-HELP
(800) 922-2283 – Alternative Number

24 hours/7 days a week


South Carolina has one of the nation’s highest rates of human trafficking.  It is one of only a handful of states in the Union that has its own law on trafficking.  The Eastern Carolina Coalition against Human Trafficking made January 11th as human trafficking awareness day.

For more information about human trafficking-related issues, call the Eastern Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking at (843) 357-7010.