YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Members from throughout the Area II community gathered at Collier Field to participate in the annual "Take Back the Night" walk against domestic violence, Oct 16.

Take Back the Night is a national event held in October to raise awareness about domestic violence. It was created to help bring the community together with a common goal -- to stand up against domestic violence and child abuse.

Col. Michael E. Masley, garrison commander for USAG Yongsan, attended the event and shared his personal meaning of Take Back the Night.

"Tonight, we are here for the people who can't be. We represent the men, women and children who are suffering from domestic violence and need our help," Masley said. "Tonight I ask you all to be their voice. We must also send a message to the abusers who commit these awful crimes against the people they should love and protect. Domestic violence is not acceptable in any circumstances."

Brigadier General Chris Gentry, Eighth Army, also shared his thoughts about the domestic violence issue in the military.

"Domestic violence respects neither rank nor status and has the power to destroy not only the fabric of our communities, but also the lives of our community members," Gentry said. "That is why it's so important that we recognize the pain and suffering of domestic violence and confront it. Tonight we will reaffirm our commitment to ending domestic violence in our ranks, and to maintaining the trust that makes our Army great."

Following the comments, a group of local children from "Team Rogue" performed a choreographed gymnastics routine to the song, "Take Back the Night." Army Community Services (ACS) coordinated the event, and the American Red Cross and the Audie Murphy Club supported the event through their contributions.

Approximately 350 people participated in the community event, including dozens of children and some 'four-legged' family members on a leash. Each person was given a glow stick to wear around their neck during the walk, which began at Collier Field and ended at the ACS building. Yongsan emergency services provided a military police escort for the particpants to ensure their safety along the roadways. The walkers stopped at some points to hear more information about domestic violence in the military community and beyond. The event finished at the ACS building with an opportunity drawing sponsored by the Red Cross, and some free giveaway items from ACS.

"The walk had a record turnout, and the lights from the glow sticks could be seen far throughout the Garrison," said 'Take Back the Night' event coordinator and ACS victim advocate, Barbara Barnett. "We could not be more grateful for the participation by military, civilians, family members, children and even pets. We hope the message of awareness will continue to spread."

Her sentiments were shared by many of the walkers during the event.

"I'm really satisfied with today's event. I certainly didn't expect this many people and it seems to be a great turnout," said Staff Sgt. James Mcclellan, 19th BC. "I think this issue is something that should be talked about and I hope that the people who actually are suffering with this problem know there are a lot of people who will support you, so please seek help."

As a victim advocate, Barnett said the efforts to bring awareness to this serious issue cannot be limited to just one night a year.

"A great way to reduce domestic violence is community involvement," Barnett said. "We need to
get together as a community, and as a military family network, to lower the rates of domestic violence by making it everyone's business and share the message that this must stop."

To wrap up the main theme of the evening, Masley summed it up best. "Remember, together we can end child abuse and domestic violence as a community. We must recognize it, report it, prevent it and take back the night!"

Facts about Domestic Violence:
1. Women are 84 percent of spouse abuse victims; 16 percent of the victims are men.
2. Technology has become a quick way for stalkers to monitor and harass their victims. More than 1 in 13 victims report that they have been cyber stalked.
3. Children exposed to domestic violence often show greater behavior, and attitude problems, as well as cognitive difficulties, when compared to those who were never exposed to domestic violence.
4. Spouse abuse rates are higher in the military, than in civilian life. Presently, the Army has the highest rate of Domestic Abuse.

For more information about the resources available to help victims of domestic violence, contact Family Advocacy Services at DSN 738-7505, or visit a Victim Advocate today at the Area II Army Community Service.