Andersen members recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month with one voice

by Airman 1st Class Alexa Henderson
36th Wing Public Affairs

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Nearly one in four women and one in seven men have experienced a form of domestic abuse at some point during his or her lifetime. To help give victims a voice, October is observed as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

 Andersen families and 36th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy Program officials came together to support survivors and raise awareness of the issue with multiple events including a dodgeball tournament, a zumbathon, information booths and a scheduled exhibition at the end of the month. This year's theme was "Together we are one voice against domestic violence."

 "Domestic violence is defined as a pattern or behavior where one partner forces their will onto the other partner through physical, emotional or sexual means," said Capt. Jessica-Lynn Stanley, 36th MDOS Family Advocacy Program element chief.

 Military members may be particularly susceptible to domestic violence because of a variety of factors. Service members and their spouses are often stationed at bases far away from their homes, causing communication to become difficult at times. Military members also tend to marry at a younger age than their civilian counterparts do, which experts suggest can be another risk factor for domestic violence.

 Warning signs of domestic violence for adults may include potentially subtle changes in behavior. While these signs don't necessarily mean a person is being abused, they are known to be some of the indicators that someone is enduring physical violence. Victims may not go out as often as they used to and may wear long sleeves or heavy makeup to hide the marks from physical abuse. Children may show signs of aggression while younger children may show other signs of distress, such as wetting the bed and nervousness.

 "It's important to be aware about domestic violence because one in four people are affected by it," Stanley said. "It's entirely possible that it could be affecting or has affected someone you know."

 Andersen Air Force Base has a variety of programs that can aid victims in the wake of domestic violence. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, chaplain services and the Family Advocacy Program are available for victims who seek assistance.

 "While we have many programs to aid victims of domestic violence, we want to get to people before it ever becomes a problem in the first place," said Shawn Wilson, 36th MDOS clinical counselor.

 Wilson said that there are classes available for couples who may fight often and whose fights may escalate. The classes are offered to help suppress anger and build communication skills, potentially preventing domestic violence in families.

 For more information, contact the Family Advocacy Program at 366-5167.
 

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