Created: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 06:40:00 EST
Updated: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 07:04:11 EST
Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- Allen Thomas believes his mother's death, at the hands of his father, was a wake-up call for Allen to take action against domestic abuse. He says he is determined to not follow in the footsteps of an abusive father, who is serving life in prison for murdering Allen's mother.
"My father stabbed my mother over 25 times," said Thomas. "I had to identify the body, and to see her laying on the table with all those holes in her chest did something to me I cannot describe with words."
To prevent other males, young and old, from experiencing the often deadly cycle of domestic abuse, Thomas travels the country educating those who directly serve victims of domestic violence. He shared his story this week in Columbia at an annual conference hosted by the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, SCCADVASA. South Carolina leads the nation in the number of women killed by men.
"[South Carolina] has been number one three times in the last 10 years, and we've never not been in the top ten," said SCCADVASA spokesperson, Rebecca Williams-Agee. She says sessions that 'train the trainer' are essential to promoting a message of education and action among males.
Speaking at the conference on the issue of men and boys as it relates to domestic violence was community activist and fillmmaker, Byron Hurt. Hurt addressed the crowd of about 200 by saying domestic violence is as much a men's issue as it is a women's issue.
"it takes a strong man to stand up against domestic violence," said Hurt. "Use your voice to be an ally."
Allen Thomas agrees the change begins within.
"We need more [men] to step up and say this happened to me."
For more information on domestic violence awareness and resources, call 803-256-2900.