SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
October is Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month and it’s important Airmen are aware of myths associated with domestic violence because they can often be dangerous.
Identifying stereotypes and stigmas associated with domestic violence can be helpful to those who are in or have been in an abusive situation as it can help resolve a difficult situation.
“Many people think domestic violence is only physical, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Jessica Ditson, Schriever violence prevention integrator. “There’s emotional, spiritual and financial abuse. It’s not always a bruise.”
Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 43 million women and 38 million men experience psychological aggression from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
However, abuse doesn’t just occur between intimate partners.
“Domestic violence can be experienced by anyone who lives in the same home as you, not just your partner,” Ditson said. “It could be a parent-child relationship, sibling to sibling or between partners, but we must broaden our understanding of who can be impacted.”
Additionally, Ditson said factors such as economic standing have little impact on who experiences domestic abuse.
“We see domestic violence everywhere – across all socioeconomic statuses, all types of neighborhoods, and in the military, across all ranks,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Barney, 21st Medical Readiness Squadron family advocacy officer. “Domestic violence is thought to be the most common crime in the United States, yet one of the least reported crimes.”
Ditson continued, saying it’s on leadership to build a healthy relationship and connect with their Airmen to help identify when Airmen are going through an abusive situation.
“Airmen should feel safe going to their supervisors for help during their time of need,” she said. “That’s why it’s important we make an effort to connect with one another. We need to be able to identify problems our Airmen are suffering through [to] help get them into a safer environment.”
Indicators of domestic violence can be bruises, low self-esteem, uncooperative behavior and a change of attitude when the abuser is around.
Airmen and their dependents who are victims of domestic abuse are encouraged to reach out to helping agencies, such as the Family Advocacy Program.
“Our mission is to provide services for the prevention of any type of family maltreatment, to include domestic violence, inter-partner maltreatment and child maltreatment,” Barney said.
For more information, contact the P-S GAR FAP at (719) 556-8943. If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the P-S GAR 24/7 Domestic Abuse Victims Advocate at (719) 291-6625.