FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Soldiers and civilians gathered Sept. 29 in the East Atrium of the III Armored Corps headquarters to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a proclamation signing here.
The event was hosted by the Fort Cavazos Family Advocacy Program with an address by Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, the commanding general for the III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos. With the East Atrium packed to capacity, Bernabe delivered a stark message that profoundly impacted the audience.
“Twenty people every minute, that is the number of adults in the United States physically abused by a partner,” Bernabe explained passionately. “If you do the math, that’s ten million adults a year.”
Bernabe didn’t stop at the staggering statistics of physical abuse; he also underscored the prevalence of emotional and financial abuse, issues often overshadowed in discussions about domestic violence. He emphasized statistics, stating that reported incidents barely scratched the surface of the grim reality of this pervasive issue.
“That statistic merely represents a fraction of the extensive problem that is domestic violence,” he stressed, prompting solemn nods from the audience.
The kickoff event served a broader purpose than just the military base. It was to spread awareness within Fort Cavazos and throughout the neighboring communities. Rhonda Shabazz, the Victim Advocate Program manager with Fort Cavazos FAP, provided insight into this year’s theme, “United Against Domestic Abuse, Breaking The Silence.”
“This is not a celebration,” Shabazz clarified. “But it is a reminder of the work that we have done and the work that we continue to do to make a significant change in our surrounding communities.”
Bernabe echoed the sentiment, urging everyone to use the resources available to combat domestic violence, especially the family advocacy programs.
“Let us reacquaint ourselves with all the resources we have here to help combat domestic violence, like our great family advocacy programs,” Bernabe urged. “All the things in those programs do to help provide families with resources to teach resilience and guide families in crisis towards resolution without resorting to violence.”
Domestic abuse victims can call 254-287-2273 (CARE) or 254-702-4953 for on-post services. They can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 for Spanish speakers.