Community unites to support victims, increase awareness of domestic violence
October 28, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - Domestic violence is the leading cause of injuries to women, and about every nine seconds a women is touched by domestic violence.
And because "we are touched by this global problem in our military community," the Family Advocacy Program victim advocates gathered community members for a candlelight walk through Hainerberg Housing in a pledge to Take Back the Night Oct. 17.
"It's not some far away problem," said Col. David Carstens, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander. "I spend about three hours per day giving attention to the cases in our community."
About 150 individuals, old and young, took part in the event to boost the awareness of domestic violence in hope of deterring abusers and encouraging victims to report incidents.
"I came to show my solidarity to the victims of domestic violence," said Willie Majors, Army retiree, who said he was enlightened at the fact that men are victims of domestic violence also. "I thought only women went through that. But from what I heard today, men just don't report it."
Savannah Simmons, a senior at Wiesbaden High School, said she came to support victims and is more aware after taking part in the event.
"It's a real problem especially in the military community. I know it doesn't seem like it but it is," she said, taking surprise at the fact that a safe haven for victims and children exists in the community, and that currently the safe house is full.
This year's awareness month theme, "Silence Hides Violence," is aimed at not only encouraging victims to report violence, but also challenges bystanders to say something if they suspect someone is being victimized.
"We have to report it. We can't just sit on the sideline anymore and say it won't happen to me," said Majors. "I'm going to spread the word."
"Just because I see it, that doesn't mean I can't say anything," said Simmons, emphasizing that witnesses shouldn't turn a blind eye when they witness violence or encounter possible victims. "Tell people it's wrong to do that."
Julie Wahlers, Family Advocacy Program victim advocate coordinator said that the fact that people came out to support the awareness event makes it a remarkable event.
"Anytime community members comes together for a cause, it is a success," she said, adding that by showing up to walk many became more informed on the issue.
Wahlers said that the victim advocates are doing a number of things yearround that are focused on prevention. Mainly, she said they have established partnerships with the schools to get the message of prevention to youths in hopes of breaking the cycle of abuse, building healthy relationships and establishing boundaries at young ages.
She also advised that victims, potential victims, abusers and probable abusers should be aware that obsession, jealousy and controlling behavior are implications of abuse.
Wahlers said, "You don't have to be in a crisis to get help." Army Community Service offers a number of resources for prevention and assistance. Visit the facility in Hainerberg Housing Building 7790 or call mil 335-5234 or civ (0611) 4080-234 for more information.