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Domestic Violence Awareness Month aims to reduce injuries

by Senior Airman Brandy Dupper-Macy
355th Wing Public Affairs
Photo by Airman 1st Class Brad Lail

MACDILL AFB, Fla.-Kristin Stoycheff, military victim advocate, hands out fliers to members of MacDill in support of the Clothesline Project of Tampa Bay. The project is to bear witness to violence against women and children.

Photo by Airman 1st Class Brad Lail

MACDILL AFB, Fla.-A T-shirt bearing the logo of the Clothesline Project embodies the horrors of domestic violence. To learn more about the effort, go online to www.clotheslineproject.org.

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States -- more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

It is also estimated that a woman is battered every 15 seconds in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

With such a high number, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, observed in October, was established to raise awareness and reduce the numbers of those abused.

"Its purpose is to make people aware of the nature, extent and consequences of domestic violence," said Marley Smith, 355th Medical Operations Squadron's family advocacy outreach manager. "Domestic violence is a major social problem that affects all segments of our society. Three to 4 million women are battered each year by intimate partners. It's the most common reason women go to emergency rooms, and women have a 25 to 33 percent chance of being battered in their lifetimes and a 25 percent chance of being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Five to 10 percent of reports involve men being battered by women. So, it's important that we be proactive in preventing domestic violence and helping victims."

Domestic violence is an offense under the United States Code, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or state law that involves the use, attempted use or threatened use of force or violence against a person of the opposite sex, or a violation of a lawful order issued for the protection of a person of the opposite sex who is:

  • A current or former spouse.
  • A person with whom the abuser shares a child in common.
  • A current or former intimate partner with whom the abuser shares or has shared a common domicile.

There are four types of domestic abuse:

  1. Spouse physical abuse: Includes but is not limited to scratching, pushing, shoving, throwing, grabbing, biting, choking, shaking, slapping, hitting, restraining, use of weapons/objects, etc.
  2. Spouse sexual abuse: The use of physical force to compel the spouse to engage in a sexual act against his or her will, whether or not the act is completed.
  3. Spouse neglect: Deprivation, more than inconsequential physical injury, or reasonable potential for more than inconsequential injury resulting from capable spouse's acts or omissions toward a spouse who is incapable of self care due to substantial limitations in physical, psychological, intellectual or cultural capacities.
  4. Spouse emotional abuse: Berating, disparaging, degrading, humiliating, interrogating, restricting ability to come and go freely, threatening, stalking, etc.

Some people are scared to tell someone they are being abused, but Airmen and family friends can help by watching for signs of abuse.

"All active-duty and civilian employees on a military installation are mandatory reporters," Mr. Smith said. "That means that if they know or suspect that spouse or child maltreatment has occurred, they must report it to the family advocacy officer or security forces. If the abuse is happening now, they should call 911 or security forces. The only exceptions to the mandatory reporting requirement are the clergy-penitent and lawyer-client relationship."

To report domestic abuse, people should contact the family advocacy office at 828- 2721 during normal duty hours. After duty hours, people should call 911 or the local security forces squadron.

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