By Jeremy Henderson, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 29, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Domestic violence can change lives forever, and Army Community Service hopes one woman's story will help promote awareness and fuel prevention.
In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, ACS will host the presentation, "Mildred Muhammad: Scared Silent," at the post theater Oct. 4 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m., and Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Muhammad is the former spouse of John Muhammad, the D.C. sniper. Her presentations will entail her own personal story surrounding her life as a victim of domestic abuse. Her story is unique and speaks directly to the importance of knowing and understanding the risk factors for domestic violence, according to ACS officials.
"Her style and wit in sharing her story holds the audience's attention," Luticia Tremble-Smith, ACS family advocacy program manager, said. "Muhammad has shared her story on several military installations. I first heard her speak at the International Summit on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in 2011. Her story is significant because it addresses the impact that emotional and psychological abuse can have on victims and that domestic abuse doesn't always leave visible scars."
The event is free and open to the public, and Tremble-Smith feels everyone can benefit from hearing Muhammad's story.
"October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month," she said. "This presentation will hopefully increase the awareness of domestic violence through the sharing of her personal experience. It is not uncommon for victims of domestic violence to report abuse after hearing a personal testimony of survival."
According to Tremble-Smith, a few simple steps can help anyone become more aware and aid in the prevention of domestic violence.
"One can become more aware by learning how to identify the risk factors associated with domestic violence before it begins, and by learning how to promote respectful and healthy behaviors in relationships," she said. "Learn healthy communications skills. Learn safe and appropriate ways to raise the issue of domestic violence with family, friends and co-workers."
According to Muhammad's website, she is a certified consultant /Office on Victims of Crime, CNN contributor, domestic abuse survivor, humanitarian, certified advocate, trainer and educator, and author.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
However, physical abuse is not the only form of domestic violence to consider, according to Tremble-Smith. Psychological abuse can be just as damaging and often harder to detect.
According to the NCADV, psychological abuse involves trauma to the victim caused by verbal abuse, acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Perpetrators use psychological abuse to control, terrorize and denigrate their victims -- 48.4 percent of women and 48.8 percent of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner.
Victims of psychological abuse often experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, low self-esteem and difficulty trusting others, according to NCADV. Acts include convincing the victim he or she is crazy, denying victim access to money or other basic resources, isolating the victim from friends and family, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, or humiliating the victim.
For more information on the subject, call 255-3898.