JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Service members, spouses and community partners from Joint Base Lewis-McChord recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Month during a presentation from Dominique Waltower, motivational speaker and life development coach, Oct. 30 in Carey Theater.
Accompanied by his son, Dante, Waltower spoke about domestic violence from his own personal life experiences and focused on the importance of accountability and healing.
“In some cases, domestic violence can be the result of learned behavior,” Waltower said. “Growing up, my mom had issues with drugs, issues with alcohol, and sometimes I didn’t know what I was walking into when I came home. The violence she exhibited toward my stepfather became my own as I got older. It was up to me to acknowledge my past, seek help and rise above my issues.”
Dante presented his own perspective of domestic violence as a child growing up in an abusive home.
“I vividly remember my mom screaming, glass breaking and sudden loud shuffling from the next room,” Dante said. “My brothers and I didn’t realize the numbing effect that violence in our home was causing.”
During the presentation, Dante recounted a letter he wrote to his parents when he was 5 or 6 years old. The letter read, “Mommy, daddy: when you fight, my heart hurts.” He credits the letter as a crucial turning point in the acknowledgement of his family’s issues.
“Coming forward with your problems is sometimes seen as a sign of weakness, but it’s actually the opposite,” Waltower said. “Owning your problems and seeking help is a sign of strength and a sign of hope for a better future. Admitting there is a problem and coming forward with it are the first steps to breaking the cycle of violence. ”
The JBLM Family Advocacy Program, under the Directorate of Personnel and Family Readiness, offers many services for victims of domestic violence, including: safety planning, referrals to military and civilian resources, crisis intervention and serving as the liaison between commanders and victims.
“If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, we encourage you to come forward and get in contact with any of our Family Advocacy Program counselors,” said garrison commander Col. Skye Duncan. “The FAP victim advocates are available at any time and at every moment. It is amazing to see the care that they provide to our JBLM community.”
Victim advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence. Restricted and unrestricted reporting options for domestic violence are available on a case-by-case basis.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, don’t hesitate; call for help at 253-966-SAFE (7233).
“We specifically set aside this month for education to ensure that our Airmen, Soldiers and especially our family members have a safe place to live, Duncan said. “I call on everybody on JBLM to acknowledge that this is a real issue and a concern that families are dealing with. We have amazing people and resources available to help you.”
If you missed the event and would like to view the presentation, visit our Facebook page:
Joint Base Lewis-McChord website
JBLM Family Assistance Program