FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Fort Jackson community will recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a rally at the Solomon Center Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Sabrina Madden, lead victim advocate with the Family Advocacy Program, said the rally is meant to educate the community and demonstrate unity in the fight against domestic violence.

"I think it's important for people to educate themselves about what domestic violence is, (its) impact and that we shouldn't stay silent about it," Madden said. "I think the only way we can have a zero tolerance policy is to get out, bring everybody together and to talk about it and say, 'This is unacceptable, and we're not going to accept it anymore.'"

Madden explained that the scope of domestic violence goes beyond physical violence.

"When (people) think of domestic violence, they usually solely think of the physical violence," she said. "That's not what domestic violence entails. Usually domestic violence starts with the isolation or the emotional abuse or the economical abuse."

Madden said that it's important for the community to realize that everybody has a responsibility to act if he or she knows about abuse in a relationship.

"If any other crime would be committed on this post, in this state or in this nation, people would call the police," she said. "But when it comes to physical abuse between intimate partners, they think it's a private matter. It's just as much of a criminal offense as all the other criminal offenses."

One survivor of domestic violence, whom the Leader chose not to identify because of privacy concerns, said that a show of support by the community can help victims realize they're not alone.

"I didn't know where to go for help. I was exhausted. I was in a cage," she said.
One of her family members contacted the Family Advocacy Program, and with the help of the victim advocates, she was able to get out of the abusive relationship, she said.

"I feel more empowered because I know that there's a way out. I'm no longer caged," she said.

She said she encourages everyone affected by domestic violence to reach out for help.
"It's not saying you're broken," she said. "It's just saying that you want to be the best person that you (can) be."