Think Respect - Stop Domestic Violence! October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By Lawanna R. Barron
  • Family Advocacy Outreach Manager
All people have the right to be in safe and respectful relationships. Across the nation and within the Department of Defense, October is designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year's theme at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., is "Think Respect - Stop Domestic Violence!"

Respect is the foundation of a healthy relationship. According to the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, respect is one of the core aspects of a non-violent relationship along with non-threatening behavior, trust, support, honesty, accountability, responsible parenting, shared responsibility, economic partnership, negotiation and fairness.

Unhealthy relationships based on power and control can lead to domestic violence. When this occurs, it violates an individual's privacy, dignity, security and humanity due to the systematic use of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological and economic control.

Domestic violence is against the core values of the United States Air Force. It impacts mission readiness and has a long-term impact on victims, children, families and society.

Domestic violence occurs in heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender intimate relationships. Partners can be dating, married, separated or divorced. Domestic violence occurs regardless of military rank, religion, racial, ethnic, cultural, disability or age groups.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives, 1.3 million women are assaulted by their partner every year and 85 percent of domestic violence cases reported is against women.

In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control found that 40 percent of the victims of severe, physical domestic violence are men. Men are largely silent on the issue because of the perception that men are physically stronger and should be able to subdue a female attacker easily. Those men who do report physical violence are more likely to be ridiculed-both by law enforcement and by the public-than women are.

Domestic violence is learned behavior and is a choice. It is not caused by mental illness, alcohol, drugs, and an inability to control anger, stress, the victim's behavior or problems in the relationship. Just as it is learned, it can be unlearned.

Here are some things you as a community member can do to "Think Respect -- Stop Domestic Violence!"

· Respect yourself, your partner, your children, your family, your Air Force and your community.
· Advocate respect by letting others know that domestic violence of any form is unacceptable.
· Promote respectful behaviors by being a role model and talking to your friends and family about this issue.
· Be non-judgmental in understanding that both men and women can be both offenders and victims of domestic violence
· Support your friends and family by informing them of resources that can help them if they are experiencing problems in their relationships.
· Become active in domestic violence prevention activities through Moody and in the local community.
· Report all suspected cases of partner and child abuse to Family Advocacy.  If the abuse is occurring and there is immediate danger, contact law enforcement by calling 911.

The Family Advocacy Program located in the 23d Medical Group is available to answer any questions you may have about respect in relationships. Prevention services include marital therapy, Fearless Marriage Couples Communication Training, Anger Management Training, Love & Logic Parenting of Early Childhood and School Age Children, Active Parenting of Teens, Crossroads to Parenting and Divorce, How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk(ette) and the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. There is no documentation in the medical record for attending these programs.

For information on prevention programs or to make a referral regarding suspected abuse, please call Family Advocacy at (229) 257-4805. Also, the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate is available 24/7 to take restricted reports by calling 1-229-444-6808.

Remember, "Think Respect - Stop Domestic Violence!"