SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Oct. 11, 2013) -- 1.3 million. That's the number of women who become victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).
Other sobering statistics follow:
•One out of every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
•Females ages 20-24 years are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
•30-60 percent of perpetrators of domestic violence also abuse children in the household.
•Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
•There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence, annually.
•Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits, each year.
•Intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, of which $4.1 billion goes directly toward medical and mental health services.
But what is perhaps most shocking, the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes, with less than one-fifth of victims seeking medical treatment following an injury.
"We see everything, from pushing and shoving to severe beatings," said Adrienne Howe, victim advocate, Army Community Service; Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.
According to Howe, domestic violence is a prevalent issue, here, largely due to Hawaii's location in the middle of the Pacific."It is, unfortunately, a very big problem, here," Howe said. "Our rates (of domestic violence) in Army Hawaii are higher than in the rest of the country because you're isolated here. You don't have your family and friends to go to, and there really is no way to leave without buying an airplane ticket, and most of our domestic violence victims don't have that kind of money."
To combat domestic violence and strike a chord of resiliency on all Army garrisons, including USAG-HI, the U.S. Army Installation Management Command's Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is taking the lead in the campaign to give Soldiers and their families the tools they need to avoid and prevent the occurrence of intimate partner violence.
"We'll have a campaign, this year, activated at each garrison, to highlight our programs to our Soldiers and family members," said Col. Anthony Cox, FAP director, in a news release. "Our goal is to help them capitalize on their strengths to make their domestic situation a success."
USAG-HI is joining IMCOM's concerted effort, this month, by holding several events and activities in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"All month, we will have displays at both Schofield and Fort Shafter -- the Silent Witness and Empty Place at the Table -- as a reminder that people are killed, unfortunately, by domestic violence," said Howe.
"We'll also be tying purple ribbons around trees in Island Palm Communities," Howe added. "Purple is the color of courage and strength, and as a survivor, you have this courage and strength to overcome your situation."
Howe said that domestic violence can be more than just physical abuse; it can be financial and emotional, as well.
"You're looking for the bruises; you're looking for the physical part of it. But I think the (psychological abuse) is a lot more damaging," she said. "A bruise will heal, but all of that emotional torture, that takes a long time to go away."
Also, domestic violence isn't only a women's issue.
"We've seen a big rise in men's cases, where the man is the victim," Howe said. "A lot of times, men are afraid that they're going to turn around and fight back, so they want to report the abuse now, before they do something just on impulse."
ACS operates under the mission to "assist commanders in maintaining readiness of individuals, families and communities within America's Army by developing, coordinating and delivering services that promote self-reliance, resiliency and stability during war and peace."
Its Victim Advocacy Program has evolved to be an advocate/expert voice in the community on behalf of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by offering an avenue for support and services (with restricted options) that support clients' integrity and provide them with the information necessary to make positive choices for themselves, and their families.
If someone feels she/he is being mistreated by her/his partner -- which is, by definition, anyone you have lived with for 30 days or more in an intimate relationship, are married to or have been previously married to, or share a child with -- Howe said to report the action(s) to ACS, where a local advocate can offer advice and resources.
"In domestic violence, we look for patterns," Howe explained. "Every couple is going to argue; that's normal. But is this something that's happening every day, every week? Is this something you think you can work out in counseling, or is this something that is having a severe emotional impact on you?
"People leave relationships about seven times, on average, before they actually leave," Howe stated. "Don't be afraid to ask for help.
"A lot of domestic violence victims have a lot of courage and strength; they just don't realize where their strengths are," she added. "It's OK to reach out for help. You don't have to go through this alone, and you have a right to not be abused."To report domestic or child abuse call these numbers:
•Fort Shafter Military Police, 808-438-7114;
•Schofield Barracks MPs, 808-655-7114; or
•911, if you do not reside on a military installation.To speak to a local advocate, call the Army Community Service 24-hour SAFE Line at 624-SAFE (808-624-7233).DVAM Events
Army Community Service will be holding the following events, this month, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month:
•Oct. 15, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Armed Services YMCA, Wheeler Army Airfield -- ACS, in partnership with ASYMCA, will be collecting food to support domestic violence victims and their families.
•Oct. 21, 1:30 p.m., Sgt. Smith Theater, Schofield Barracks -- A screening of the documentary "No Way Out But One"; adults only, due to the sensitive nature of this film.
•Oct. 29, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., PX Market, Fort Shafter -- ACS, in partnership with ASYMCA, will be collecting food to support domestic violence victims and their families.
Also, there will be reminders positioned throughout USAG-HI installations to bring greater awareness to domestic abuse, to include the following:
•A Silent Witness silhouette display at the ACS building on Schofield;
•An Empty Place at the Table display at the Schofield Warrior Inn DFAC, Tripler Army Medical Center Cafeteria and K-Quad DFAC;
•A Clothesline Project display of T-shirts designed and decorated by families; and
•Purple ribbon tree displays at Island Palm Communities on Schofield, WAAF, HMR, AMR, Red Hill and Fort Shafter.For more information on any of these events, call 808-655-4ACS (655-4227).