Charleston chef extraordinaire Sean Brock featured on 'Nightline' tonight

Sean Brock

Unfortunately, South Carolina has made news again for being on a list where we'd rather not even be mentioned.

As Allyson Bird and Schuyler Kropf reported this week, we're No. 7 on the list of states with the most women killed by men, according to a report from the Violence Policy Center.

Here, more women are killed by men, usually men they know or to whom they are related, than in 43 other states in the nation.

We've jumped two spots from last year's No. 9 ranking.

Yes, the data is two years old -- that's the most recent information available -- and things could improve next year. After all, violent crime dropped 28 percent in Charleston in 2010, according to a new FBI report. Though that same report said Charleston and North Charleston saw a slight increase in murders and non-negligent manslaughters from 2009 to 2010.

So the jury's still out there.

Guns don't help

When there's a gun in the house, even if the woman bought the gun, even if she's the only adult in the home, it's more likely that the gun will be used on her than by her.

In 2009, there were 42 women killed in the state, and 90 percent of them were killed by someone they knew.

Those are not great odds.

What's even more disturbing is the difference that a firearm in the home makes -- and not in a good way.

According to the Violence Policy Center's report, if you're a woman and there's a gun in your home, you're three times more likely to be murdered than a woman who doesn't have a gun in the home.

So, if you're a woman who has thought about buying a gun for protection, know that several studies show it's more likely to wind up being used on you.

Guns don't kill people. Men kill women with women's guns.

Tragic reminders

Every year, the attorney general holds a ceremony on the Statehouse steps in memory of partners killed by partners. This year's ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 4. In the past 13 years, 33 women, on average, were killed each year by their partners, according the state attorney general's website.

Research shows that it takes two years of recovery and counseling for an abuser's behavior to change, according to information on the city of Charleston's domestic violence services website.

Two years. Or sometimes longer. Court records indicate that there were domestic situations between Amanda Black and Chesley Black dating to 2005.

Chesley allegedly killed Amanda in their West Ashley home this month.

Training and treatment are crucial to breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

If you can help, the state attorney general's office offers free one-day training sessions on criminal domestic violence. If you need help, My Sister's House, the only local domestic violence shelter for women, has a 24-hour crisis line at 744-3242, or you can call them toll-free at 800-273-4673.

Women in abusive relationships need to be aware that they may have more to fear at home than outside it.

Reach Digital Editor Melanie Balog at mbalog@postand courier.com or 937-5565.