FORT STEWART, Ga. - An American entertainer drew international attention in 2009, but it wasn't his headlining performances and chart-topping singles that had everyone talking about Chris Brown. The pop music icon was plastered all over the news as he was charged with a felony assault on his then-girlfriend and R&B recording artist, Rihanna.

Most of us remember the high-profile domestic case that rattled the 'Facebook Generation' two and a half years ago. Disgusted, the American public took a stance against the intolerable crime, and broadcasted their support against domestic violence through social media venues, blogs, text messages and protests. But in that same year we took a stance against Brown's Hollywood drama that unfolded on just about every major television network, there were thousands of other Americans who were also suffering similar tragedies behind closed doors.

The truth is we know domestic abuse happens regularly -- across all geographic, socio-economical, racial and religious boundaries, even in our Army- but are our every-day victims of this brutality getting the celebrity attention they deserve? Or do we more often find ourselves turning away and saying "it's not my problem," or "if she doesn't like it, she should just leave."

Would you be surprised to know that about 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence at some point during their lifetime and 1 in 14 men have been physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabitating partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or date? According to the FBI, every day four women die in this country as a result of domestic violence. That's approximately 1,400 women a year!

So, it's likely that someone YOU know is being abused, and he or she needs YOUR help.

We have to get involved. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and part of this campaign includes teaching the public that violence is not acceptable- it's a crime. And, I'm not just talking about physical violence- domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, includes emotional and psychological abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse and economic abuse. The awareness month also provides another opportunity to remind U.S. Military Families about the resources and programs in place to help prevent or stop this epidemic.

One way we as a military community can help stop domestic violence is to speak out against it- broadcast it. Speak publicly against domestic violence. Expand education and awareness efforts to increase positive attitudes toward non-violence, and encourage individuals to report domestic abuse. Furthermore, we can help by supporting the domestic violence counseling programs and awareness centers. Army Community Service at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield offers support through the Family Advocacy Program- free for the Soldier and his or her Family Members. You can take part in the Combined Federal Campaign and donate to the shelters for abused victims and/or rehabilitation programs.

Learn the facts about domestic violence so that you can proactively spot the signs and symptoms and help get that individual the medical attention that he or she needs. And of course, whatever you do, don't ignore it. If you witness an act of domestic violence- report it!
Resources are just a phone call away. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call any of the phone numbers listed below. Let's talk about it - this news deserves your immediate attention and together we can help stop domestic violence.

• National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
• National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE
• Military One Source 1-800-342-9647

Army Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Web site www.sexualassualt.army.mil

Page last updated Fri October 14th, 2011 at 08:33