October is Domestic Violence Prevention Month and Fort Belvoir's Army community Services Family Advocacy Program recognizes the common desire to end interpersonal violence and abuse with a Purple Ribbon Fair Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Commissary Field.

The fair includes a performance by the Army Downrange Band as well as various activities for children from a moonbounce, bean bag toss and craft making.

The fair is a National Capital Region joint service event, so people from Fort Myer, Va., Henderson Hall, Va., Joint Air Force Base Bolling/Anacostia, Va., Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and Andrews AFB, Md. and other installations within NCR are welcome to attend.

Fourteen domestic violence prevention groups outside of Belvoir are scheduled to promote their services, including Action in Community Through Service, Turning Points and the Bethany House. The Belvoir FAP has a strong working relationship with ACTS and the Bethany House.

In the past, a candle light vigil had been held at the host installation to honor victims of domestic violence who had passed away at the participating installations within the NCR.

Belvoirs' FAP group wanted to take a different approach this year.

"(Family Advocacy) decided to go with more of the prevention side and promoting happy and healthy Families," said FAP sexual assault response coordinator Erin Roberts. "So, we have the purple ribbon fair celebrating safe Families and preventing Family violence."

A lack of communication between spouses or partners is one of the biggest issues that lead to domestic violence according to Roberts.

"A lot of times the issue comes down to financial issues and trust issues which can be tied into communication. What happens is, when couples don't communicate that's the initial breakdown," said Roberts. "Individuals have things going on and their spouse doesn't know, so they start checking their spouse's cell phone, Facebook, bank account to see how they are spending their money. The spouse might start thinking their spouse is cheating on them. A lot of times the issue is as simple as one spouse has something going on at work and is not communicating that to the other spouse."

Roberts said what the classes attempt to stress is that communication is not only important for the relationship, but for the individual as well.

"Nobody is expected to handle every single issue on their own and when someone is married or in a partnership you need to rely on that partner," said Roberts. "So, the goal of the classes is to strengthen the partnership so that if these issues come up it's easier for the spouse to say 'something is going on with you and I need you to tell me.'"

According to Rachel Rice, Installation Victim Advocate, couples also need to understand that one spouse may communicate different then the other spouse.

"Usually, you communicate the way you want to receive love and feedback instead of the way your spouse needs to receive it," said Rice. "So, understanding how your spouse receives love and feedback is very important."

Rice also said that a person who resorts to violence within a relationship isn't totally to blame. For a person who grew up in a violent home, falling back on that kind of behavior is a natural inclination.
One spouse may also blame themselves for violence in the relationship because they blamed themselves for the violent they grew up in according to Rice.

"Blaming themselves for violence in the relationship isn't specific to the wife," said Rice. "The husband will blame himself if he grew up in a violent home as well."

Though they cannot make a person change, Rice said FAP will provide as much information as they can to help victims of domestic violence.

"We do not force victims into making decisions or situations they don't want to be in," said Rice. "They have to make the decision that they want to change."

Garrison Commander Col. John Strycula and Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Berhane will each make opening remarks and then sign the Department of the Army proclamation for Domestic Violence Prevention Month.

Department of Emergency Services personnel are usually the first responders to a domestic violence situation, so they will be at the fair in order for the Belvoir community to be more familiar and comfortable with DES.

"DES strongly supports this type of event," said Frank Hentschel, DES deputy director. "We will be displaying some of our law enforcement and or fire equipment for the children to look at."

Other NCR installations will have tables set up promoting their domestic violence prevention programs. Belvoir will be giving out information on their couple's communication classes, self-defense classes and vignettes of violence classes.

Page last updated Thu October 6th, 2011 at 14:04