Heighten domestic violence awareness during recognition month

  • Published
  • By Mitzi Wood
  • Family Advocacy Intervention Specialist
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This month is an opportunity for Team Vance to become more aware of the importance of ending domestic violence and abuse in our community.
What is domestic violence? According to the Department of Defense, spouse abuse includes, but is not limited to, assault, battery, threat to injure or kill, any other act of force, violence or emotional abuse, causing undue physical or psychological trauma or causing fear of physical injury. It also includes physical injury, sexual assault, intentional destruction of property, psychological abuse and stalking.
Domestic abuse or violence refers to behaviors directed toward a member of the opposite sex who is either a current or former spouse; a person with whom the abuser shares a child in common; or a current or former intimate partner with whom the abuser shares or has shared a home.
Team Vance leadership and all the helping agencies receive annual training to know how to respond to domestic violence situations. There will be a display in the base library and posters in the 71st Medical Group emphasizing the need to remember abuse happens and that there is help available for those experiencing abusive relationships.
However, preventing domestic violence is more than receiving annual training and looking at displays and posters. It requires an individual and community effort to examine their relationships.
People in our community have said to me it is normal for married couples to argue. I would agree that disagreements are part of a healthy relationship, but yelling and shouting is a different matter. We have accepted as a society it is OK to yell at your spouse. Television reinforces this message with the content of its programming. When we accept that arguing is the norm, what else are we willing to accept? Think about it. Domestic violence affects everyone -- family, friends, co-workers and the community at large. Preventing domestic violence is everyone's responsibility.
Here are some warning signs of potential domestic violence: financial difficulties, constant arguing and fighting, martial infidelity or perceived infidelity on the part of one or both spouses and a history of violent behavior.
A spouse who is an abuser looks to find ways to control and intimidate their partner. They may isolate or threaten the life of the victim or someone the victim loves. They may try to control and intimidate by using mental, emotional or physical tactics to make the victim feel fear or a lack of ability to defend themselves.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are ways to get help in this community. Whether that means the abuser is taken out of the home or the victim seeks shelter downtown, there are ways to get out of an abusive relationship. Safety for the victim is the No. 1 priority in these situations. A safety plan can be developed to help support a victim's need for protection and a plan to leave. A victim of domestic violence has access to family support, legal and family advocacy to help him or her obtain financial assistance and support. There are many services available to help our military families.
Individuals, couples and families may attend parenting classes, marriage enrichment groups and therapy sessions. All these services are available to enhance the military family and increase healthy relationships.
If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse, get help. You may call the family advocacy office at 213-7419 and talk to any staff member available or call the YWCA at 234-7581. The point is to get help and get it soon. Don't wait until it's too late.