http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_facto..._homicide_in_south_carolina.html?wpsrc=fol_tw Tuesday evening, the Charleston Post and Courier released a massive seven-part series on South Carolina’s failure to take domestic violence seriously—a failure that has resulted in the state leading the nation in the murder rate of women at the hands of men (currently the best measure we have for domestic homicide). The series, titled “Till Death Do Us Part,” is the result of interviewing “more than 100 victims, counselors, police, prosecutors and judges” to create a multimedia story chronicling the failures of legislators, law enforcement, social services, and even churches to do enough to fight the problem of domestic violence. Journalists Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes, and Natalie Caula Hauff unflinchingly place much of the blame on South Carolina culture: heavily conservative values about marriage and gender roles, as well as an enthusiasm for guns that makes it nearly impossible to get them out of the hands of men who want to kill women. Amanda Marcotte Amanda Marcotte Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter. South Carolina, they write, is a state “where men have long dominated the halls of power, setting an agenda that clings to tradition and conservative Christian tenets about the subservient role of women,” leading to “a tolerance of domestic violence.” Even though research shows that the murder rate from domestic violence “declines three months” after a couple has been kept apart and “drops sharply after a year’s time,” power players in the state frequently prioritize keeping couples together over victims’ safety. For instance, the Post and Courier interviewed state House Minority Leader J. Todd Rutherford, a Democrat, about his refusal to support any bills increasing the maximum penalty for a first-time domestic violence offense, which is currently 30 days in jail. (The maximum penalty for beating a dog, the Post and Courier notes, is five years.) Rutherford “said such laws fail to take into account that many cases involve families that might be preserved,” arguing that women frequently drop the charges because they “realize the destructive consequences for the whole family.” Never mind that the belief that women are supposed to move heaven and earth to make their marriages work causes victims to stick by men they know are dangerous.