By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleOctober 13, 2011
People from several military installations across the National Capital Region came together for Belvoir's Purple Ribbon Fair, Saturday at the Fort Belvoir Commissary Field.
The event, themed "Celebrating Safe Families and Preventing Family Violence," commemorated October Domestic Violence Prevention Month and raised awareness for domestic violence prevention.
"Nobody should be hurt," said John Macapinlac, Department of Defense human resource assistant. "Speak up and don't be afraid."
Belvoir's Army community Services' Family Advocacy Program hosted the event.
The United States Army Downrange Band performed tunes from various music genres and there were activities for children and a variety of information on domestic violence.
The fair was a National Capital Region joint service event with FAP representatives from Fort Myer, Va., Henderson Hall, Va., Joint Air Force Base Bolling/Anacostia, Va., Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and Andrews AFB, Md. in attendance.
The Purple Ribbon Fair is Belvoir's FAP's first event to commemorate Domestic Violence Prevention Month.
"It takes all of us working together," said Col. John Strycula, FB Garrison commander. "There can be no bystanders when it comes to eliminating domestic violence."
Strycula said that the Army is committed to stopping domestic violence through prevention and early intervention.
He said Army Community Services is a good source to help build Family resiliency and maintain readiness which can help end violence.
FAP representatives and local community organizations all shared information about domestic violence from various perspectives.
Belvoir's New Parent Support Program educated people on topics such as effective ways of discipline their child without violence.
Action in Community Through Service, a non-profit hunger homeless violence in Dumfries, VA, spoke on topics such as their minority programs and working through the court system.
"It can affect us all, men and women" said Jennifer Ward, Fairfax County sexual assault outreach specialist survivor services, community and support.
People should have a safety plan if they find themselves in a violent relationship, Ward advised. If at all possible avoid being alone with a violent person and have all necessary documentation ready in case it becomes necessary to quickly leave a bad situation. A strong support system is vital as well.
Ward, who visits workshops, schools and colleges to raise awareness to domestic violence, said men have been victims of domestic violence but can be more timid about seeking help than women.
People should feel no fear in speaking out if their in a violent relationship, she said.
"There's no reason to be ashamed," Ward said. "(Domestic violence) is not acceptable no matter what gender."
The organizations at the event stressed that people can overcome violent relationships.
"I love seeing the women and the children succeed and be happy because they're no longer in a situation where their abused," said Kathryn White, Bethany House of Northern Virginia volunteer coordinator.
Bethany House is a non-profit in Alexandria, Va. that helps was organized to help women and their children who have suffered from domestic violence regain health and dignity and become reestablished in their community by providing temporary housing and support.
The organization provides women and children with items such as food, shelter, counseling and clothing. Bethany House helps them transition back to independent living through work such as life-skills training and assistance in finding long term shelter.
Fort Belvoir's FAP has planned other events to promote domestic violence prevention month. These events include a couple's communication class Oct. 18 and a self defense workshop Oct. 20.
In the past, Belvoir's first event was a candle light vigil to commemorate the lives affected by domestic abuse.
This year the FAP decided to switch to the Purple Ribbon Fair to shed more light on ways to prevent more lives from being hurt, explained Rachel Rice, ACS installation victim advocate. She said organizers focused on getting the whole Family involved and provide them the opportunity to speak with resources in the NCR area.
"This year's theme is "Together we can end domestic violence,'" Strycula said. "Act now."
For more information on events during Domestic Violence Prevention month, call ACS at (703) 805-2561.