Home : News : Features : Display

Family Advocacy educates Andrews in domestic violence prevention

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. -- At night, screams are sounded in the homes of families who are affected by abuse... physically or mentally, probably both, but not everyone can hear their cries. While some are deafening, others are silent and held within. They are also sometimes victim to hiding cuts and bruises. 

The offender, someone they love, has scarred them, but it isn't always a visible mark. The cause of the abuse is a concern, but more importantly, the fact it is happening is more of an issue threatening the security and well being of all family members. 

Domestic violence doesn't only occur at night, and it doesn't only occur in the home, but domestic violence does affect everyone, said Joyce M. Cravin, 79th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy outreach manager. "It's like second-hand smoke." 

It has a devastating impact on the victims and children involved, said Harold Lipton, 79th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy treatment manager. 

"There is no evidence which shows servicemembers are more at risk for domestic violence than civilians, but they are at risk," said Ms. Cravin. "The legacy does not discriminate on age, income, race or rank." 

Military installations are not a discriminating factor either. While there aren't many members at Andrews affected by domestic violence, they are here. 

"In Fiscal Year 2006, the Family Advocacy had 52 incidents reported and 23 were substantiated," she said. "The numbers for Andrews Air Force Base are low, but no matter how low the numbers are, the mission and people are affected." 

"Domestic violence undermines wellness for all parties," said Ms. Cravin. "Exposure to abusive behavior is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next." 

While such stressors as deployments and force shaping exist in the military, it's important to know servicemembers and their families can be affected in many ways.
Not only can the offender's military career be affected, but the spouses' and children's well-being can be affected, said Mr. Lipton. Children who are involved with physical or emotional abuse often times become terrified, and suffer from sleep and eating abnormalities. They also may develop emotional difficulties, causing poor interpersonal relationships, which may negatively impact present and future relationships. 

The Air Force's mission can be harmed if Active Duty victims or offenders are unable to perform their duties effectively, he said. 

As part of the many programs the Air Force provides to take care of Airmen and their families, Family Advocacy provides a number of classes to assist in preventing domestic violence. 

Family Advocacy staff members also work with 79 MDOS's Life Skills Support Center, and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment office when their skills are needed to help individuals and couples work out their problems without resorting to self-destructive physical or emotional abuse, said Mr. Lipton. Programs for new parents also help them deal with the tasks and emotions, which arise when a baby becomes part of the family. 

The United States recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month as a way to help increase the public's awareness and help prevent violence in the home.
Staff members from Family Advocacy briefed Andrews leaders during a biannual leadership training on family violence education and prevention Sept. 28 as one of the many steps taken to promote Domestic Violence Awareness Month here. 

A forum was held Oct. 11 to educate Andrews members on domestic violence. Several Prince George's County community agencies were present to explain what community services were available to Andrews members. 

Information and purple ribbons, which represent Domestic Violence Awareness Month, are scheduled to be distributed at the Andrews commissary Oct. 30. 

The forum and handouts are actions Family Advocacy staff members have taken to raise the Andrews community's awareness on domestic violence. 

The key to domestic violence is preventing it, said Mr. Lipton. Andrews personnel who find themselves in potentially physically or emotionally abusive relationships can get help right here at Andrews. Family Advocacy treatment staff members are equipped to help prevent abuse before it begins.

Family Advocacy programs - A Prevention and Relationship Program will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Saturday. The purpose of the class is to teach time management, stress management, communication management and problem solving. The Family Advocacy office provides assessment and treatment for Active Duty members and families with pending or substantiated incidents of family maltreatment. For more programs, contact the office at 240-857-9680.