Col. Daniel Whitney, commander, USAG-HI, signs a proclamation declaring October National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, at a ceremony on Schofield Barracks, Oct. 1. (This photo has been altered from its original form; background elements have been removed.)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (Oct. 22, 2012) -- Life-sized cardboard cutouts of a young child, woman and man stand silent in the foyer of the Army Community Service building, here, unfaced reminders of real people -- people we see every day in our neighborhood, at the Commissary checkout, in our school classrooms and in our workplaces -- who have lost their lives to domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a crime that weakens individuals, family units, communities and, ultimately, the Army's mission.

Oct. 1, Col. Daniel Whitney, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, signed the official proclamation "Don't Turn Your Back on Domestic Violence" marking the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This seriousness of domestic and sexual violence was underscored by two sexual assault cases reported to the Directorate of Emergency Services, USAG-HI, and the Honolulu Police Department, Oct. 5-6.

Both incidents occured at night in a grassy area behind housing areas on Aliamanu Military Reservation. HPD^is investigating the incidents, with assistance from DES.

This year's Domestic Violence Awareness Month focuses on the increased rates of domestic violence for military in Hawaii and military members who serve in the Army.

Army Hawaii has recorded higher rates of child and spousal abuse during the past five years compared to the entire Army. The stress of transitioning and multiple deployments in the last several years are significant factors that contribute to higher rates, as well as family and job stress, financial problems, social isolation or limited support networks, and drug or alcohol abuse.

What is domestic violence, and how do we know if someone is at risk for abuse?

AR 608-18 states that domestic violence "involves the use, attempted use, or threatens use of force or violence against a person."

Physical abuse can include hitting, choking, pulling hair, shoving and/or tripping.

Emotional and verbal maltreatment, while not physically apparent, can leave lasting scars in children and spouses that are just as damaging. Emotional and verbal abuse may include constant put-downs, berating, humiliation, withholding love, threatening to abandon, threat-ening to take away children or income, and neglect.

"Don't Turn Your Back on Domestic Violence" charges the Army and local community to stop ignoring the problem of domestic violence in our neighborhoods, schools and communities.

You can participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month:

-- Food Drive, Schofield Barracks Commissary and Fort Shafter PX Marketplace, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 31.

-- To speak with a Victim Advocacy Program advocate, call (808) 624-SAFE (7233) or (808) 655-4ACS (4227).

-- To report abuse, call any one of these numbers:

Military Police at (808) 655-5555 (Schofield/Wheeler/Helemano); MPs at (808) 438-7114 (Fort Shafter/Aliamanu/Tripler);Child Protection Services, (808) 832-5300; or Dial 911.

(Editor's note: Clymer works is with the Family Advocacy Program; Army Community Service; Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; USAG-Hawaii.)

Page last updated Mon October 22nd, 2012 at 18:40