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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2016

JBSA domestic violence awareness breaks silence

Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

Landmarks at Joint Base San Antonio locations are bathed in purple light every night this month to raise awareness of a problem that impacts lives and can have a detrimental effect on military families as well as mission readiness.

Purple is the color of Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, which is being observed at JBSA with the theme “Break the Silence, Stop the Violence.”

The main event for JBSA’s observance, the Domestic
Violence Awareness 5K Run/Walk, is set for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 22 at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Community Aquatic Center, 3548 Williams Way. Registration, which is free, will begin at 7:45 a.m.

“We’re asking runners and walkers to wear purple tops to raise awareness of domestic violence,” said Angela Nance, 359th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy Program intervention specialist. “We will also be collecting new baby clothes, white towels, white twin-size sheets, new socks and new underwear for women and children of all sizes to donate to shelters for women and children in Bexar County.”

The color purple is illuminating JBSA landmarks, including the water tower off Winans Road and the Navy Medicine Education & Training Command headquarters at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston; the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Air Force Postgraduate Dental School and Clinic, and 37th Training Group, building 9225, at JBSA-Lackland; and the Taj Mahal at JBSA-Randolph.

Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander, set the tone for JBSA’s observance of Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month by signing a proclamation Sept. 13 that described domestic violence as “an intolerable crime with devastating safety and health implications for every individual in the Joint Base San Antonio community, be they a victim, family member, loved one, friend or co-worker of a victim.”

The proclamation “shows everyone how important this topic is and reminds victims they are not alone and help is available,” said Norma Leal, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston FAP outreach manager.

“As outreach manager, I try to spread this message to as many people as possible,” she said. “By connecting with other programs and events, we can make ourselves more visible and more available to assist those who are seeking help.”

Domestic violence is so prevalent that a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey in 2011 estimated 22 percent of women and 14 percent of men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

It not only affects families and couples, but the Air Force mission and the JBSA community, said James Price, 59th Medical Wing FAP outreach manager.

“Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month is an opportunity for the military units and civilian organizations to connect with the community through meaningful outreach and awareness-raising events,” he said. “We are hoping the awareness campaign activities will strengthen our community and let those who are seeking guidance or help know that assistance is just a phone call away.”

“The most important thing to get across to possible victims of domestic violence is that you are not alone,” Price said. “There are many agencies in your corner.”

National Night Out activities Oct. 4 at JBSA locations provided another opportunity for family advocacy representatives to raise awareness of domestic violence.

At National Night Out, the FAP’s domestic abuse victim advocates, or DAVAs, led an art project, “I Can, We Can,” created by the nonprofit organization A Window Between Worlds, which uses art as a healing tool to empower and transform individuals and communities impacted by domestic violence. Participants decorated a cutout of a hand and included messages of hope and support, Price said.

“It’s an art project created by A Window Between Worlds to connect and unite communities for greater awareness and prevention of domestic violence,” he said.

The month’s activities also includes information tables at various sites throughout JBSA.

“We always try to provide educational materials, but during this month we like to have an information blitz and set up tables throughout the base with information that people can pick up,” Leal said. “We also like to highlight the positive aspects of our program such as prevention. We offer a class that can give support to families before an incident occurs. We aren’t trying to catch maltreatment, but rather prevent it and address it when prevention isn’t possible.”

FAP representatives – including intervention specialists, treatment managers and outreach managers – work year-round with military members and their families to prevent and address domestic violence, but the October observance provides them with a special opportunity to connect with the JBSA community.

“We know abuse can take many forms – physical, emotional, sexual and neglect,” said Nance, intervention specialist who responds to reports of child and spouse or intimate partner maltreatment involving active-duty members and their spouses. “We really want to get the word out about the services, programs and classes we offer to prevent abuse from occurring.”