October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By James Coffidis, Family Advocacy Treatment Manager
  • 97th Medical Group
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Altus Air Force Base.

Domestic violence and maltreatment has existed for centuries; it was not until the 1970s that it was first considered a social problem of epidemic proportions. Since then, much has been learned about the nature of violence and maltreatment within the family, including the risk factors and consequences of the violence.

Domestic violence is defined as a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice which involves the use violence against a person within the family environment. Furthermore, the Air Force defines domestic abuse as a pattern of behavior, including violence, which results in emotional/psychological abuse, economic control, and/or interference with personal liberty directed toward a current or former spouse, or intimate partner with a common domicile, or person who shares parental responsibilities.

Every year, the United States and military community recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month is devoted to raise public awareness and promote the prevention of domestic violence. The Family Advocacy Program has a display at the 97th Medical Group titled "An Empty Place at the Table" serving as a reminder that abuse can leave an empty place at the table or in the home. Family Advocacy collaborated with the Women's Resource Center in Scranton Pennsylvania to use this theme. Family Advocacy is also collecting used cell phones to be donated to the domestic violence shelter ACMI House to be used for victims of domestic violence.

Realizing families in our community are under a great deal of stress, the following are some ways to prevent domestic violence from occurring in your home:
  • Decide within your family violence will not be tolerated. It's your home, so make the rules as a family. Conflicts are better resolved by talking things over.
  • Take the time to calm down when arguing. Attempt to resolve conflicts through talking; however, when an argument begins to escalate, it is time to take a break.
  • Always be aware your children learn from what they hear, see, and experience. Be the best example possible, as you are their primary mentors and molding their foundation for life.
  • Verbal arguments can easily escalate into situations we later regret. Don't be afraid to get help if you and your partner are having difficulties with conflict resolution. It is not always possible to solve your differences on your own, and asking for help is a sign of maturity.
The efforts of the Family Advocacy and community agencies to campaign against domestic violence and maltreatment are changing our perceptions of this long-standing social problem. Domestic violence is viewed as counter to the greater good within the community. For more information or to receive assistance, please call the Family Advocacy Program at 481-5376 or visit us in the 97th Medical Group.