October signals Domestic Violence Awareness month

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Domestic Abuse Awareness Month may only last during October, but the staff at the Family Advocacy Office want to make sure that all base personnel and their families are conscious of domestic abuse issues the year round.

"Our mission in family advocacy is the prevention of domestic and child abuse through education programs and reaching families before the abuse occurs," said Mr. Jerome Ellis, Family Advocacy Outreach Manager. "Our focus is to assist families with the daily challenges associated with mission and family."

Domestic abuse is verbal, emotional, physical or sexual behavior that is controlling, humiliating, intimidating, threatening, blaming or violent against a spouse, partner or family member.

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, Domestic abuse is the single largest cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than muggings, car accidents, and rapes combined. Men are also at risk of domestic abuse.

"Our community is not immune and Domestic Abuse is often referred to as an Equal Opportunity Crime," according to Carla Atkins, Family Advocacy Treatment Manager. "Even one incident is one too many. Our goal is to continue educating our base population about a problem that can quickly cripple a community."

"One out of every four women will be exposed to some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime," said Jerome Ellis, Family Advocacy Outreach Manager.

In order to combat domestic abuse, family advocacy offers multiple ways to help couples cope with the stressors of relationships.

"We offer several prevention classes, such as couple's communication, anger/stress management and parenting classes," Mr. Ellis said.

All programs are sponsored by the base Integrated Delivery System (IDS) which consists of multiple on base agencies that assist in collaborating to provide synergistic, accessible services to the Seymour Johnson AFB community that promote strong individual and families through spiritual and emotional growth, mental and physical health by empowering all community members to not only adapt but thrive on the unique challenges of the Air Force way of life.

The programs in place back family advocacy's quest to quell domestic abuse and create a safe environment for families.

"We want our community to be a model of what we would consider peaceful homes," Mr. Ellis said. "Hopefully, we'll build relationships that other societies and communities can emulate."
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