Updated: Apr 7
Ebony Parson, 28, died September 14, 2013 in a Conway, S.C Bingo parlor, shot to death by an estranged lover who then killed himself with his own shotgun.
Ebony was one of nearly 20 people per minute who are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. Unfortunately, her abuser, a jealous former boyfriend, took her life.
In Ebony’s case, there were warning signs that she was in trouble. In fact, she called 911 so many times reporting abuse that they told her to stop calling or she’d be arrested.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so today we have with us on the Lean to the Left podcast Ebony’s sister, Gwendolyn Reed, founder of Ebony’s Hope, which she started a year after her sister’s tragic death.
The organization’s goal is to inspire, educate and help citizens and to reduce the number of domestic violence murders and other crimes.
“Had we known about several different things maybe we could have done something different,” Gwen says on the podcast. “And I, that's just how I feel. I, and Ebony Hope is my, ‘sorry’ to her. I don't know what else I could have done different to save my mom a baby.”
So, Ebony’s Hope, a 501c3 charitable organization that accepts contributions, works as a liaison between domestic violence victims and available community and governmental resources.
“Ebony Hope is just basically me wanting the community to know and citizens and victims to know that they're not alone. That there's resources here for family members to know that there's help out here in the community. So, they, they won't end up another Ebony. Because I don't want that for anybody.
“I cry for my sister sometime one or two times a week. I cry for my mom. Ebony Hope is my ‘daily sorry’. If I save one person, then I did okay with this tragedy.”
To help others, Gwen sponsors an annual community event to provide information and help, bringing together other organizations that support domestic violence victims. This year's event takes place on the lawn of the Old Courthouse on Main Street in Conway, SC, Saturday, October 29. More info here.
In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell let the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expire rather than pass a measure to close the deadly "boyfriend loophole", which allows convicted domestic abusers to purchase guns. The bill had been approved by the House of Representatives, 263-158, with 33 Republicans joining all but one Democrat in passing it -- despite threats from the National Rifle Association.
Here are some of the questions we asked Gwen.
Q. First, can you recount for us what happened to Ebony and why?
Q. Had she been in an abusive relationship with this guy before that?
Q. Do you think her death could have been prevented?
Q. How did this affect your own life, and that of your brothers and sisters?
Q. You said that Ebony didn’t know what resources were available to help her, and that you didn’t either. So you’re trying to fix that with Ebony’s Hope, right?
Q. You mentioned that children are the uncounted victims and that a child who has witnessed domestic violence is more likely to become a victim or even an abuser. Explain that, please.
Q. What needs to be done to make things better?
Q. How is Ebony’s Hope helping?
Q. What can the community do to get involved?
Q. What are some of the resources available here in South Carolina and elsewhere to help victims of domestic violence?
Q. What should someone who is a victim of domestic violence do?
Q. You’re the co-author of Fortitude of an Overcomer. What is that?
Listen to the interview:
“I’ll Pray for You, A Christian Woman’s Guide to Surviving Domestic Violence.” -- Donna Wayles, interviewed on the Lean to the Left podcast.
"Fighting Violence Against Women & Children" -- Roger A. Canaff, former Special Victims ADA & author, interviewed on the Lean to the Left podcast.
"Trauma of a Pastor's Betrayal" -- Sandy Phillips Kirkham, author "Let Me Prey Upon You," interviewed on the Lean to the Left podcast.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Guide by the Helping Survivors advocacy center.