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NEWS | Oct. 7, 2015

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Brenda Edmond 628 MDG

The nation and the military have made remarkable progress over the past 30 years in recognizing domestic violence as a crime, providing legal remedies, social supports and coordinated community responses. Yet millions of families continue to be traumatized by abuse, leading to increased rates of crime, violence and suffering.

Violence against women, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking is a persistent problem across income status, race and location. A significant number of the victims and perpetrators have children who often witness or are exposed to violence occurring in the home. In addition to the immediate trauma this causes, there may be long lasting emotional, behavioral and financial injury, for the victim, children and for society.

· 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010)

· 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010)

· 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence (USDJ, Children's Exposure to Domestic Violence, 2011)                                       

Now is the time to prevent violence and its devastating costs and consequences by committing to a strategy focused on the community.

1. Our community needs to develop a no tolerance policy for abuse and neglect.  In and around the military, we are all mandated reporters.  If we suspect or witness someone being abused, we must stand up as community members and report the suspected abuse.  There are many helping agencies on base with Family Advocacy acting as the primary agency to address this problem.  Remember, you are not doing the victim any favors if you turn the other cheek or believe it is not your business to interfere in another person's life.

2. We need to advocate and provide treatment services to the children that are exposed to abuse and neglect in their homes.  Children of abuse tend to repeat the cycle in their adult relationships. The cycle must be stopped when children are young and impressionable.

3. We must talk to our youth to provide the "correct information" about sexuality and treatment of females.  Much of our youth's music and television objectifies women and portrays them in a manner that is disrespectful and humiliating.  Parents must talk to their youth and monitor the types of messages that are influencing their values and moral development.

Men must also step up to the plate and confront their male counterparts when they are engaged in inappropriate behavior toward females or when they are telling or passing on jokes that are degrading or offensive to females.  By setting standards of conduct and attitude, men will ensure they are the "appropriate" role models for their children

We must all understand and accept the important role we can play on a daily basis to prevent abuse and neglect.  To report abuse or neglect or to inquire about available programs and services on base, please call Family Advocacy at 843-963-6972 (AB) 843-794-7435. 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Ending domestic violence begins with recognizing it.  Look over the following questions.  Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your intimate partner.  Remember, when one person scares, hurts or continually demeans the other person, that's abuse.

Does your partner ...
____ embarrass you in front of friends or family, or drive your friends and family away?
____ curse or scream at you, call you names or put you down?
____ use intimidation or threats to get you to do what he/she wants?
____ tell you that you are nothing without them?
____ grab, push, pinch, shove, slap, choke, punch, kick, bite, spank, scratch, burn, or restrain you?
____ throw objects or break your possessions?
____ threaten the safety of children or pets?
____ threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
____ insist you dress the way he/she wants?
____ subject you to reckless driving?
____ behave jealously, accusing you of flirting or cheating?
____ withhold approval, appreciation, or affection as punishment?
____ control your access to money and transportation?
____ use alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
____ blame you for how they feel or act?
____ pressure you sexually for things you don't want to do?
____ prevent you from doing things you want?
____ try to keep you from leaving the room or house?

Do you ...
____ sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
____ constantly make excuses to other people for your partner's behavior?
____ believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
____ try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
____ always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
____ stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you left?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.  Domestic violence doesn't just stop on its own.  Call for help today.  Family Advocacy Program is available to help military families end the abuse.  Remember, it starts with respect!  Live core values to keep your love healthy and strong.