If you see the color purple everywhere, it's because Domestic Abuse Prevention Month begins today across this great nation.

Just as the color pink indicates breast cancer awareness, the color purple shows your support in preventing domestic abuse. In Oklahoma, the crime affects 49 percent of women and 40 percent of men sometime during their lives, according to the 2011 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. The Department of the Army campaign, "Don't Turn Your Back on Domestic Violence" is designed for public awareness and prevention efforts aimed at stopping intimate partner violence and increasing healthy relationships.

While it's true that intimate partner violence is a complex problem that can't be solved by a poster or a banner, the message of the campaign is there are countless steps we can take in our daily lives to stop someone who is being abusive or to help someone who is being abused.

Have you thought about it; your responsibility as a neighbor or friend? Is it to protect the "privacy" of your neighbor who is possibly being abused or do you speak out and provide information? Do you defend another's behavior, even if it's criminal, because, "he's a great guy" or do you intervene when you hear him talk badly about his wife?

We may not want to get involved in our neighbor's "dirty laundry", or we may minimize what's going on because, "everyone gets angry." While you may think this way, consider that intimate partner violence is not just a personal issue, and it's not something that just happens. Intimate partner violence is a community issue and a crime. It happens to our friends, our moms, our brothers, our children.

Some things to rethink as you become part of the solution:

Don't assume it doesn't happen on our installation. It does.

Don't assume men are always the perpetrators. They're not.

Don't assume intimate partner violence happens only in heterosexual relationships. It doesn't.

Don't assume just because your neighbor doesn't ask for help, she or he doesn't want or need help. They might.

Trust your gut, if you see something in a relationship that makes you feel uneasy, something you can't quite put your finger on say something, intervene. Tell your neighbor what you've noticed, and ask if there's anything you can do to help. Don't excuse the behavior of the offender.

When we treat our spouses and intimate partners with dignity, respect, trust and honesty, we will shape our future as well as our partners, our spouses, our children and our families.

When you are concerned about someone, "Don't Turn Your Back on Domestic Violence." Say something, get help, and provide information to your friend or neighbor. To report abuse on post, call 442-2103. The Army Community Service hotline for domestic abuse victim advocacy is 574-0871. For more information, call the Family Advocacy Program at 442-4916.

Page last updated Thu October 4th, 2012 at 00:00