Capt. Brad Lewis - Judge Advocate, Special Victims Counsel
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Domestic violence is a serious problem in the United States and is especially troubling in the context of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Abusers seek to establish power and control over their partner through intimidation, threats, physical violence, financial abuse; and emotional

or psychological abuse.

Abusers who engage in physical violence and other forms of abuse toward their intimate partner

are often sexually abusive as well. According to the National Coalition against Domestic

Violence, between 40 and 45 percent of women in abusive relationships will be sexually assaulted during the course of the relationship.

Intimate partner sexual assault and rape are used to intimidate, control and demean victims of domestic violence.

The existence of a relationship, even a marriage, does not in any way make it acceptable for a person to force another's participation in sexual acts through threats, violence, coercion, or other means lacking freely given consent. A study by the Center for Disease Control determined

that 10 to 14 percent of married women are raped at some point during the marriage. Even more

alarming, it found that only about 36 percent of all rape is ever reported, and the reporting of marital rape is even lower, making it the most under-reported form of sexual assault.

Intimate partner violence occurs among both heterosexual and same sex couples, in any community regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, orientation, or education.

If you have been a victim of intimate partner violence you have rights and options. There are dedicated advocates here at Fort Jackson, ready to help anyway we can. The Army Community Services Family Advocacy Program has a team of professionals and a wealth of resources. They can be reached 24 hours a day at: 803-429-4870. You can also call the National Domestic

Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) If you have been, or believe you may have been, the

victim of sexual assault (weather or not related to intimate partner violence), the Special Victims Counsel at the Legal Assistance Office can answer your questions about sexual assault confidentially. The SVC can be reached at: 803-751-5159 or 703-347-4288.

Another excellent local resource is Sexual Trauma

Services of the Midlands, a private non-profit organization that provides support for survivors of sexual assault and abuse in Richland, Lexington, Newberry, and Sumter counties. STSM can be reached at 803-771-7273 (RAPE) or 1-800-491-7273.

The Department of Justice reports that victims who are both physically and sexually abused are more likely to be injured or killed. Intimate partner violence accounted for 14 percent of all U.S. homicides in 2007.

This is a problem that cannot be ignored, and will not fix itself.