National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is observed each October with educational events, community gatherings and support groups. The first Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 1987 was spearheaded by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and proclaimed by President George W. Bush.

The Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program and Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Program held a personal safety and self-defense class to recognize the month Oct. 16 at Pagano Gym.

Jeronica Frierson, a victim advocate for the ACS Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Program, coordinated the training. She said their team is always looking for innovative ways to get their message across.

The class was free and open to women and teens of all physical abilities. Participants learned about domestic violence in the community, resources on Redstone Arsenal, and various tools and techniques to protect themselves. Rachell Arceneaux, AvMC training coordinator and sexual assault response coordinator, conducted the training and taught participants various holds and strikes for victims to escape.

"We wanted to raise awareness of domestic violence and prevent anyone from becoming a victim," Frierson said. "Participants learned essential techniques and skills which will assist them in preventing and escaping physical assaults. The training is more than just learning a few moves. It increases their confidence and overall feeling of safety."