By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 26, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 26, 2013) -- Domestic violence appears to be on the rise in the military, so much so that the Department of Defense considers it an item of specific concern, and Fort Rucker is on a mission to help Soldiers and Families understand, recognize and report it.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is recognized each year by the Department of the Army to increase awareness of the importance of the military community coming together to take a collective responsibility in ending domestic violence within military Families, said Luticia Trimble-Smith, Family Advocacy Program manager.
To help do this, Fort Rucker has couples communication workshops, a resource library, parenting classes, a new parent support program, and anger and stress management classes to help support the community.
"It is important to understand how to recognize domestic violence, how to prevent it, and where to obtain resources for immediate safety and protection," she said.
In recognition of October being DVAM, and to increase awareness of community resources available to maintain strong Families, several events will be held across the installation.
"We are always developing and providing programs that empower and strengthen Families. October is just the month where we have large, special events," she said. "The events will focus on enhancing relationships and having fun while giving out important educational information."
The FAP will have information and awareness tables set-up at a variety of locations throughout the month. This is a community-wide effort to get the word out on domestic violence related facts, issues and resources.
The Purple Day campaign will begin Oct. 4. This will be a community-wide effort to recognize the collective responsibility to prevent all forms of domestic violence.
People can participate by wearing purple every Friday throughout October.
The Scream Free Marriage Workshop will be held Oct. 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for free at The Commons, Bldg 8950. This workshop will include free childcare and is open to active-duty military, retired, DOD employees and their Family members. Registration is required by Sept. 27. For more information and to register, call 255-3898.
Army Community Service's Exceptional Family Member Program and Relocation Readiness Program's Hearts Apart Family Bowling Night invites all active-duty military Families with special needs, or disabilities, and Families with Soldiers deployed or serving an unaccompanied tour to participate in a night of bowling Oct. 17 from 5-10 p.m. at Rucker Lanes. Cost is $1 per game and $1.50 for shoe rentals. Registration is required by Oct. 15. For more information and to register, call 255-9277.
"We want everyone to be aware of the resources that are out there to assist victims, and their Families to receive the support that they need to ensure everyone in their Family is safe," said Trimble-Smith. "A victim can be anyone -- a Soldier, a coworker, a friend."
When someone is in imminent danger, Trimble-Smith said that it is important to contact law enforcement immediately.
"If you suspect that someone is a victim of domestic violence, encourage them to contact the Victim Advocacy hotline where they can make a restricted or unrestricted report and receive comprehensive services such as assistance with obtaining protective orders, shelter, medical, legal, financial and other appropriate recourses," she added.
The 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline is 379-7947.
Early notification, according Marcel Dumais, chief of police for Fort Rucker, is the best way for victims to remain safe and healthy.
"We have to act when we hear anything about domestic violence," he said. "We can't wait until it gets to the point where it may result in a death. I hope people are concerned enough to get out and notify a supervisor in a case where they believe domestic violence is happening."
Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander, said last year during the event's kickoff that since 2009 Fort Rucker has had three deaths from domestic violence.
"That is three deaths too many. We have to step forward and be vigilant. Be aware of the signs -- don't assume someone else is handling it. Be bold, be blunt and ask questions," he said.
Domestic violence is often bound to the home and goes unreported, said Trimble-Smith, enforcing the garrison commander's discourse about spectators taking a stand against it.
"We have a responsibility to our fellow person. That is a requirement as human beings -- to care for each other. So, it is incumbent for each of us to recognize the signs and to not pretend something isn't there or assume that everything is OK," said McRae.