FORT BRAGG, N.C. – As the sun set below the trees of Festival Park in Downtown Fayetteville, three white doves fluttered into the pastel-pink sky in memoriam of the North Carolinian victims lost due to domestic violence. On Oct 6., Cumberland County hosted its annual ‘Remember my Name’ vigil to bring awareness of domestic violence.
Held during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, ‘Remember My Name’ is organized by the Cumberland County District Court, Cumberland County Superior Court, the CARE Center Family Violence Program, Cumberland County Department of Social Services, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department, Hope Mills Police Department, Army Community Service, Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Phoenix Center.
A new and breathtaking sight to the annual remembrance event was the Field of Shoes, created by the Fort Bragg ACS Family Advocacy Program. Accompanied by a photo of each victim, 106 pairs of shoes lined the grounds representing a heartfelt visual tribute of their tragic losses.
“We have been partnering with the Cumberland County Courthouse with the vigil for many years,” said Angielina Villafane, ACS FAP victim advocate coordinator supervisor. “We work very closely together with the courthouse staff for some of our clients - we have the same goals and ambition to help our community - and so it is a partnership we treasure and an event near and dear to our hearts.”
This year’s awareness month theme is ‘Breaking the Silence,’ which encourages the military community to speak up and share information about preventing domestic abuse and supporting those who have experienced it. No one has to face it alone.
“The Army’s response to domestic abuse and domestic violence requires a coordinated community response that includes action by military law enforcement, Family Advocacy, judge advocates, and the command,” said Col. John Wilcox, Fort Bragg garrison commander. “Domestic abuse is devastating to service members and their Families and it is incompatible with the Army Values.”
The Fort Bragg FAP is located in the Soldier Support Center on the installation. FAP staff members are always available to support victims and others affected by domestic abuse, whether they are at a point where they want to leave their partner or are just looking for information. They work with victims to develop a safety plan and can connect them to emergency services, counseling and emotional support, housing and shelter, and financial and legal services. If needed, they can help victims get a military or civilian protection order.
“Preventing abuse in the military community starts with promoting an understanding of what safe and healthy relationships look like, providing ways for individuals to take steps such as setting boundaries and seeking help in stressful times, and knowing what support is available in crisis,” Wilcox added.
FAP, which is part of ACS, also provides parenting, anger management, stress management, relationship, and safety classes or workshops.
Villafane added that vigils like ‘Remember My Name’ is a platform to come together and show unity, and most importantly to honor and remember the victims lost and ensure the Families know the community works every day trying to end the endemic of violence for generations to come.
“We (FAP) provide support and resources to the community to help spread the word about the importance of seeking help, and what kind of support is available,” she said. “We are always just a call away.”
The fight to end Family violence and saving lives is much more than just a once-a-year push. Confronting Family violence issues is a 24/7 responsibility; and it's not just the responsibility of those in office or the courthouse, or the victim advocates - it is a community wide effort.
If you know someone who is experiencing Family violence, please reach out. FAP is available 24/7 via their Fort Bragg Family Violence Hotline at 910-322-3418.