SCHINNEN, The Netherlands -- During October, community members across the Benelux have come out to break the silence for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. All around the community there were purple displays, a 5K walk/run, a bowling event, senior leadership conferences, pledge signings and other events for the observance. The message from the community is clear -- silence hides violence, and we are speaking up!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

The first event held was Domestic Violence Awareness FUN PT hosted by the Geilenkirchen Air Force's Family Advocacy Program, together with Schinnen Army Community Service, on Oct. 4. All branches of service were invited to a friendly dodge ball competition at Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base.

The event was followed by the Hope 5K Walk/Run organized by the Schinnen Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fitness Center on Oct. 11. Schinnen ACS, together with Family and MWR, also organized a Strike Out Domestic Violence Bowling event at the Schinnen Bowling Center on Oct. 18.

At SHAPE, the community hosted events such as the Date Night Out on Oct. 11 and Take Back the Night Run/Walk on Oct. 15.

A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men will experience physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetime. Abuse is not always physical but can also involve verbal attacks, using intimidation, denying access to money or sexual coercion to name just a few. Domestic violence can affect people from all walks of life regardless of gender, race or nationality. This is not exclusively an American problem. It is a worldwide problem that can only be solved with empathy and respect.

On a daily basis, domestic violence 24-hour hotline numbers around the world help victims with advocacy, emergency housing, emergency funds, transportation and referrals to legal assistance. In the U.S. alone, there are over 20,000 calls made per day to these hotlines. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. Help is just a phone call away. If you know someone who is being mistreated by their intimate partner, support them and let them know that there are people in this community that will help.

The USAG Benelux Victim Advocacy Program is here to help you. If you need assistance, please call the following hotlines:
- SHAPE/Brussels Hotline: +32 (0)472-09-1068
- Schinnen/Tri-Border Hotline: +31 (0)613-21-6737
- American Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center: 1-866-USWOMEN (879-6636) or visit www.866uswomen.org

If you are in imminent danger, dial 112 (the emergency phone number in Europe) or contact the Military Police in your community immediately:
- Brussels: DSN 368-9769 or +32(0)2-717-9769
- Chièvres Air Base: DSN 361-5301 or +32(0)68-27-5301
- JFC Brunssum: DSN 606-2442616/3200 or +31(0)45-526-2616/3200
- Schinnen: DSN 597-4555 or + 31(0)45-534-4555
- SHAPE: DSN 423-3334/3343 or +32(0)65-44-3334/3343