This year marks the 30th campaign year for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year's theme is “Will you stand up?” National Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the “Day of Unity” held during October 1981.
The original intent was to establish a nation-wide connection of advocates who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon grew into an entire week that was devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state and national level before eventually becoming a nationally recognized, month-long campaign in 1987. The Day of Unity is still acknowledged the first Monday in October.
Domestic violence transcends all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic boundaries. Too often, we only associate domestic violence with physical abuse. It is more than that. Domestic violence can be emotional and mental abuse as well. The effect of this violence is far-reaching, weakening not only families but also the core of our communities.
Domestic violence is particularly devastating because it is usually silent and hidden. It occurs in the privacy of the home. Raising awareness of domestic violence should not be a topic for discussion just in the month of October. It should be a year-round conversation that we should all consider and work to prevent. A glance at the most recent statistics on domestic violence provides a sobering reminder of the severity and effects of this issue.
Putting this issue into context, every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. At least one in every three women, in the entire world, has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a member of her own family.
One of the key strategies that Domestic Violence Awareness month touches on is helping couples to build healthy relationships. The professionals at the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) can provide ways and resources for couples to help sustain them as well as help them when relationships become challenging. FFSC has resources that are available to both victims and offenders of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help. If you feel that you or someone you know is dealing with a domestic violence issues, FFSC encourages you to take a moment to ask some tough questions.
Is Your Partner Abusing You? Ten Ways to Tell:
- Does he or she “put you down” at home or in public?
- Do you avoid even discussing some subjects because you are afraid your partner’s reaction will be violent?
- Does your partner place excessive limitations on the activities you do, such as the time he or she “allows” you to run errands or see friends?
- Are you afraid of doing the “wrong” thing, even if you are not sure what that is?
- Does your partner watch your every move?
- Do you feel sexually ashamed or humiliated, or are you being sexually hurt?
- Does your partner refuse to help when you are sick, injured or pregnant?
- Does your partner accuse you of being unfaithful, crazy or worthless?
- Has he or she injured you physically, no matter how slight?
- Do you live in constant fear for yourself or your children?
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there is confidential help available. The team at FFSC is available to provide personalized, local assistance. They are also able to help explain your options and resources.
- NAS Lemoore FFSC Family Advocacy Program: (559) 998-4034.
- NAS Lemoore FFSC 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (559) 469-5061.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline online: http://www.thehotline.org/ They also have live chat available from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. Central time at: http://www.thehotline.org/what-is-live-chat/
Your FFSC onboard NAS Lemoore is always ready to help. I encourage you to reach out to its kind, caring and compassionate team if you feel that they can be of service. Please contact them if you or someone you know needs help. We should all watch out for each other and work to achieve and maintain respectful, safe and positive relationships.
All my best,
Captain David James
Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station Lemoore