By Loran Doane, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsOctober 5, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers, family members and Army Community Service staff met at here, Oct. 2, to sign a Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation, pledging their commitment to do everything possible to prevent domestic abuse.
Army leaders plan to work hand in hand with family advocacy specialists to increase awareness of domestic violence, educate military families about the signs of abuse and reinforce the negative effects domestic abuse has on Army family readiness while highlighting prevention and victim programs and services.
"Make the Right Choice! Act to Prevent Domestic Abuse" is the theme chosen by the Army to highlight the importance of personal responsibility in identifying, mitigating and, when necessary, removing oneself from violence that occurs in the home.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, attacks by male partners are the number one cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44.
"There is no place for domestic violence in the Army," said Cole Weeks, Family Advocacy Program manager. "(Domestic violence) is against the Army's philosophy, and it negatively impacts mission readiness. As a community, we all have a responsibility to respond and take action to reduce the prevalence of family violence."
Some reports indicate that nearly 80 percent of women who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser and that domestic abuse equally affects women of all races and economic backgrounds.
"We want those spouses involved in abusive relationships to know that there are options available and that you don't simply have to live that way," said Cora Hodges, victim advocate coordinator. "You have choices."
According to Hodges, domestic abuse can come in several forms and may be the result of a variety of causes. It may come in the form of emotional, physical, sexual or economic abuse, or could even be a combination of them all.
Not just spouses feel the painful effects of abuse in the home. Reportedly, more than 50 percent of female victims of intimate violence live in households with children under age 12.
"Children often do not have the means or ability to simply remove themselves from volatile situations or understand what is happening in the home," Hodges explained.
"That's why it is so important for us to educate everyone about the tragedy of domestic abuse. Sometimes it takes someone from outside the home to make the right choice by acting to prevent it."