Commentary: Together we can end domestic violence

  • Published
  • By Lawanna R. Barron
  • Family Advocacy Outreach Manager
Across the nation and within the Department of Defense, October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Moody Air Force Base, Ga. community is involved in preventing domestic violence, and our efforts must continue until we end this devastating problem. We have Airmen and families who are traumatized by intimate partner violence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 31 percent of women in the United States have been physically abused by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.

Intimate partner violence covers "physical, sexual or psychological harm" by a current or former partner, according to the CDC. In addition to experiencing physical abuse by a partner, an estimated 22.3 percent of women, and 14 percent of men, have experienced severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

The most common types of severe violence women experienced by intimate partners were as follows: being slammed against something and being hit with a fist or hard object.

Domestic violence impacts mission readiness and has a long-term impact on Airmen and their families. Offenders of domestic violence use emotional, physical and sexual abuse to control their victims. The result can be serious injury or death. Infidelity, anger, alcohol or stressors are never an excuse for domestic violence.

Domestic violence occurs regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and military rank. Also, children suffer when there is domestic violence in the home.

We must remain vigilant in supporting the right for everyone to live free from violence. Here are some things you as a community member can do to end domestic violence in our community:

· Respect yourself, your family and your community.

· Advocate that domestic violence is never acceptable.

· Promote domestic violence awareness by talking to your friends and family about this issue.

· Offer your support and understanding - not your judgment - to a friend or family member whom you are concerned about.

· Become active in recommending that pre-marital and marital couples attend communication training or marriage retreat.

· Support your friends and family by informing them of resources that can help them if they are experiencing problems in their relationships.

· Talk to teens about how they should treat and be treated when they are in a dating relationship.

· Report all suspected cases of partner and child abuse to the Family Advocacy Program. If the abuse is occurring and there is immediate danger, call 911.

Remember, each of us have a very important role in preventing domestic violence. We must work together to ensure a safe and healthy community at Moody AFB.

For more information on prevention programs available or to report suspected partner or child abuse, please contact the Family Advocacy Program at 229-257-4805. The Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate is also available to victims 24/7 by calling 229-444-6808.