FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Fort Cavazos Family Advocacy Program’s Victim Advocate Program, in partnership with the 1st Cavalry Division, organized an event to urge supporters to raise domestic violence awareness, one step at a time.
More than 100 Fort Cavazos senior leaders, Soldiers, family member, community members and Family Advocacy Program coordinators gathered Oct. 4 in front of the III Armored Corps Headquarters here to participate in the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk and take steps to bring awareness to domestic violence through support and education.
“I think every year across the world, we all do a walk just to bring awareness to domestic violence,” said Rhonda Shabazz, Victim Advocate Program manager with the Fort Cavazos Family Advocacy Program. “It is just kind of our main kickoff event after the proclamation, just to kind of bring the community together and give out resources that people may not normally be able to receive except at a walk like this.”
Shabazz said she thinks the subject of domestic violence is often left out in conversations.
“We have a lot of things for the sexual assault program; most people are very familiar with it,” she said. “If anybody talks about October, they’re talking about breast cancer awareness; they’re never really discussing domestic violence.
“We are a micro of the macro,” Shabazz continued. “So, we all deal with domestic violence the same way that the population on the outside of the gates deals with domestic violence. The significance is that these are our folks who are fighting the wars for us.”
Soldiers and family members with strollers and dogs in tow, walked and ran the two-mile track in front of the III Armored Corps Headquarters. 1st Cav. Div. Soldiers took the opportunity to partake in some friendly competition while testing their physical fitness in a race for the best two-mile run time.
“Anytime we can support a program, an entity here that is about curbing the effects of corrosive behaviors, it’s a win for us,” expressed Col. Timothy Gatlin, 1st Cavalry Division Artillery Brigade, 1st Cav. Div., commander.
Gatlin said that the event aligns with the installation’s dedication to its service members and military families.
“In the Army, we talk about people first, and it doesn’t get any more people first than really looking at the family,” he said. “It’s family advocacy and what they do for us on a daily basis to make sure that our families can stay connected. Connected internally, connected to the units, because I think if we are able to do that and make the experience at home worthwhile, it translates into service members, men and women who are ready to go out and do their duty to the best of their ability.”
In the spirit of taking strides to educate the community about domestic violence resources and services, representatives from the from Families in Crisis, AWARE Central Texas, Child and Youth Services, Family Advocacy Program, Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates, New Parent Support Program and the Killeen Police Department Victim Witness Liaison set up information tables with literature and information.
Just before handing out medals to the fastest walkers/runners for male and female Soldiers, family members and even four-legged participants, Gatlin thanked the attendees for supporting the event and expressed gratitude to the Family Advocacy Program for their efforts.
“Oftentimes, there’s a lot of stress that comes inside of the home, and so having folks like Rhonda and her team on our side, ready and willing to come in and teach and educate is a win for us, especially for me as a commander,” Gatlin concluded.