The Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL) Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) recognized the efforts of groups in Kings County to raise awareness and stop domestic violence during the third annual Rock the Purple Luncheon at the Hanford Civic Center on Wednesday. 

Participants included the Kings County District Attorney’s Victim Witness Assistance Program, King’s Community Action Organization and Soroptimist International Women’s Organization.

Guests listened to speeches by local activists in the legal and medical professions, as well as law enforcement, sharing their perspectives on domestic violence.

“Cancer is a health risk and so is domestic violence,” said Phil Esbenshade from the Kings County District Attorney’s office. “No one is immune from it.”

In an attempt to break the stereotypes surrounding domestic violence, Neil Sprouse shared his story about enduring domestic violence in his marriage during his 20-year career in the Navy.

“I was in denial. I thought it was my fault,” Sprouse said.

Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) Officer Lt. Andrea Kissner was present, supporting the FFSC. Kissner represents both active duty and dependent victims of sexual assault in the NASL community.

When asked what military families living off base could do when facing domestic violence, she recommended that they reach out to local law enforcement, adding that NASL resources are available to everyone in the military, not just those who reside on base.

“We can meet out in town. We can travel and we do,” Kissner said.

It is estimated by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence that 24 people in the U.S. experience domestic violence every minute and that domestic violence costs the nation $8 billion annually.

For more information or for help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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