October begins Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) throughout the Navy. Naval District Washington is doing its part to educate its personnel on the dangers and effects of domestic violence and encouraging everyone to do their part to stop it should it occur.
“Domestic violence happens in all types of families and relationships,” said Vice Adm. William Moran, deputy Chief of Naval Operations (manpower, personnel, training and education), in a Navywide message. “The Navy is absolutely committed to strengthening families and preventing abusive behavior. We must continually strive to create an organizational culture that encourages speaking out and taking action to prevent domestic violence incidents. We cannot remain silent; prevention and intervention programs are available for anyone who needs help.”
This year the Navy has adopted, “Silence Hides Violence,” as its DVAM theme to encourage every member of every community to use their voices against domestic violence. The theme will also center on the impact of getting help for a victim of abuse, as well as the consequences of a victim and the community remaining silent in the face of abuse.
“Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time for the community to come together and build awareness and a movement towards safe and healthy relationships for all individuals and families,” said Lolita Allen, program analyst, Family Advocacy Program at Commander, Navy Installation Command (CNIC) headquarters. “DVAM is observed to bring to light an issue that affects our community in a staggering way. It’s an opportunity for domestic violence organizations to connect with the community through meaningful outreach and awareness events.”
Throughout the month and continuing through the year personnel are encouraged to educate themselves on what domestic violence is and what everyone can do to stop it.
The CNIC Family Advocacy Program website explains that domestic abuse can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, educational level or socioeconomic background. Furthermore, domestic abuse can happen to couples in any stage of a relationship from dating to married. It can include physical abuse, emotional abuse - such as threats, isolation, extreme jealousy and humiliation - and sexual abuse. Children are also at risk of domestic abuse; child abuse is the physical or sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment or neglect of an unmarried person under 18 years old.
“Domestic violence does not just impact victims of abuse, it also impacts children, commands and communities. Domestic violence is also a public health concern,” said Allen. “The cost to victims can include feelings of isolation, control and dependency, responsibility, guilt and shame, despair, helplessness and hopelessness. Health can be affected, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Allen explains that victims of domestic violence can seek help by contacting their nearest Military Family Advocacy Program. In situations where a victim is in immediate danger, individuals should call 911.
The concept of Domestic Violence Awareness Month began as a “Day of Unity” in October 1981, and soon after evolved into an entire week. In 1987 the first monthly observance took place. Two years later Congress passed a law officially designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
For more information on DVAM and domestic violence, or to learn more on how to help, visit the CNIC Family Advocacy Program website at www.cnic.navy.mil/ffr/family_readiness/fleet_and_family_support_program/family_advocacy.html.
This article is part one of a series on Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more information on events in Naval District Washington, visit www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.
Naval District Washington Fleet and Family Support Directory
- Naval Support Activity - Washington
Washington, DC 20373
- Naval Support Activity - Annapolis
Annapolis, MD 21402-5073
- National Naval Medical Center
- Naval Support Activity - South Potomac
Dahlgren, VA 22448-5150
- NAS Patuxent River, Md.
Patuxent River, MD 20670-1132
- NIOC Ft. Meade
Fort Meade, MD 20755
The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) is available 24 hours a day for safety planning and referrals for local resources, visit http://www.ndvh.org/.