October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This year's theme for the 2020 Domestic Violence Awareness Month is "United to End Domestic Abuse."By Denver Beaulieu-HainsImagine being on lock-down with your abuser during COVID-19. Statistics show one out of every three women and one of every four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. As a survivor myself, I know the abuse doesn’t stop because there’s a pandemic. In fact, the stress and close quarters can be deadly for some.As a 29 year-old specialist in the U.S. Army during the 90s, I found safety when my 1st Sgt., pulled me aside…“Specialist, if you cut your hair one more time,” he said. “I’m going to take away your children and put you on suicide watch.”It was a warning and he meant it, and he got my attention.At that time he knew something was wrong, but it didn’t become clear until the military police contacted him. It took me 20-years to understand that my partner’s weapon in the trunk of our car posed a significant threat for the Army and my well-being. It meant things were worse than I thought.Signs of abuse“If you hadn’t done that,” he’d say. “This wouldn’t have happened.”Locking you in or out of your house, forcing you to have sex with him, and punching, pushing, kicking, biting and pulling hair are obvious signs of abuse [for some].However, “I had been conditioned to think the abuse was normal, fondness – a form of love.The confusion is undeniable, if you live in the house with an abuser. It’s easy to not be sure because the pattern of behavior, tension, incident, and calm is a merry-go-round of emotions that keep you wondering, working harder to be better or you just walk on egg-shells and stay out of the way.A sign of Intimate partner abuse is that your partner bullies, threatens or controls you.I didn’t have money at the time. I was an Army E-4 and my salary paid childcare. I was making a measly [term used by the attorney’s office], $19,000 a year back then.“The only reason you have anything at all is because of me,” he said that too. “Your own mother doesn’t even want you. Where can you go?Desperate to leave, I left with nothing. Once again our resilient community helped me get a fresh start. At my next assignment Schofield Barracks, the neighbors noticed I had nothing when mover’s showed up and delivered a few boxes of dishes.I understand why someone might stay – finance being a good reason. Yet, I something inside of me pushed me to believe in the Army and trust myself – deep down I knew I could make it on my own. I wanted the opportunity to try.Marital counseling was also part of the strategy. That taught me that I wanted my own counselor – not one with my husband. Another clear sign that I wasn’t working on being together. I was moving forward.“No one ever learned to be together by being apart,” the counselor said. I was an Army spouse then.Those lessons were more than 22 years ago, all are still invaluable.The Army takes care of its own, and I’m still here as living proof that the process, procedures and programs work. Today’s challenge, how do you report it amid the public health emergency and Health Protection Conditions and the restrictions that go along with it?Some may say it’s easy for me to talk – I got away. The truth is leaving is never easy and there isn’t a day that I don’t remember the devastation of knowing that no one could fix it for me, and that I had to do something to change my circumstance and I had to do it quick. I had become impulsive, self-destructive and numb to the idea that my world was scary and up-side down.My chain-of-command was the start to getting help. They advocated for me when I couldn’t even understand the gravity of the situation. I was eventually compassionately reassigned and my career continued. I got a fresh start.The financial counselor at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan’s Army Community Services (ACS) helped me budget for my Permanent Change of Station. I don’t remember if I required a loan – but if money is an objection to peace of mind. Don’t forget to ask your Chaplain or ACS. They can point you in the right direction.Finally, what did my hair have to do with all of this? It was the one indication that something was not quite right. Someone noticed and helped me do something about it.My doctor, who had counseled me so many years before prophesied as I reported to him spit-shined in Army Battle Dress Uniform.“I’ll never have to worry about you again,” he said. “You are wearing the uniform now. You will be O.K.”He was right. I have come completely full circle. I’m a member of the staff here now. I am part of a community of professionals that care about service members, Korean Nationals, contractors and Department of Defense civilians and their families at Camp Casey, Yongsan, and K-16.I don’t anyone to be afraid or to fear for themselves or their children. Victim Advocates are available to provide unrestricted and restricted reporting options. Please call the 24/7 Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate Hotline at 153 or 0503-357-8913 here at Yongsan to speak with a confidential counselor.Imagine how it feels to be safe, and to able to help someone else. I pass the same ACS, my old haunts and the barracks [where I lived]. Today, I am here alone on my own merits. I’m even responsible for my own young [younger than I], talented service-members.Let’s realize a community free of domestic violence together! Imagine that!(This is the first article of USAG Yongsan-Casey's Healthy-Choice Options series. This series encourages members of the community to be happy and healthy.)Editor's note: We want to hear from you! if you have a concern write us at https://www.facebook.com/usagyongsan call DSN: (315) 722-6131 or 82+ 010-8977-7060.