JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
As Domestic Violence Awareness Month draws to a close, a 5K run/walk and shelter drive at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston will conclude a month's worth of activities at JBSA locations that draw attention to a problem that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affects nearly one in four women.
The run/walk will start at 8 a.m. Saturday at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston's Jimmy Brought Fitness Center; participants are encouraged to show their support of domestic violence prevention by wearing purple.
The shelter drive supporting Family Violence Prevention Services Inc. is scheduled throughout the run/walk; donations of bedding, blankets and towels for families seeking shelter to escape abusive homes will be accepted at drop boxes at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
Other events this month included the I Can We Can Art Project at the JBSA-Randolph Medical Clinic, a socially engaged art project that asked participants to consider what they can do to raise awareness and help break the silence around domestic abuse, and information booths at JBSA-Randolph's National Night Out and JBSA-Randolph's Oktoberfest.
In addition, the Taj Mahal at JBSA-Randolph is illuminated in purple throughout the month as a reminder of the toll domestic violence takes on its victims.
"Purple is the official color for awareness of domestic violence," Emily Mueller, 359th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy intervention specialist, said. "Lighting the Taj purple gets people talking and asking questions in a new and unique way."
Mueller said domestic violence is a "pattern of behaviors that involves violence or abuse by one domestic partner against another" in relationships such as marriage, cohabitation or involvement with an intimate partner.
"Domestic abuse includes physical abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, sexual abuse and neglect," Mueller said.
Domestic violence is so prevalent that a CDC survey in 2011 estimated 22 percent of women and 14 percent of men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner. In addition, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women - more than car accidents, mugging and rapes combined - according to the Texas Council on Family Violence.
The unique stresses of the military lifestyle place military couples and families at risk for domestic violence, but the Department of Defense takes a proactive approach, Mueller said.
"The DOD has directives for all military services when it comes to prevention of domestic violence and child maltreatment," she said. "Anyone who suspects maltreatment is occurring should make a report. For immediate safety concerns, contacting local authorities by calling 911 is imperative."
At JBSA, the Family Advocacy Program, with offices at three locations, works with individuals and families to reduce the risk of maltreatment through safety, education, fostering healthy relationships and strengthening families, Mueller said.
"We offer support through individual and/or family counseling, educational classes and group settings," she said. "If you are an alleged victim and want to know your options for support, including options for restricted versus unrestricted reporting, call our Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates hotline at 367-1213."
Mueller said prevention is the "name of the game" at Family Advocacy.
"That's why we offer so many prevention programs such as couples' enrichment classes, stress management, emotions management, communication and parenting," she said. "Additionally, we offer prevention counseling and/or connect folks to the vast array of options available, from our mental health and behavioral health providers to our chaplains, Military and Family Life Counselors, Military OneSource and TRICARE providers."
For more information, call the Family Advocacy offices at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Lackland, 292-4775, and JBSA-Randolph, 652-6308.