October shines light on domestic violence

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Many times after my briefs on domestic violence and reporting procedures, someone asks me "Where does Misawa rank among other bases in the Air Force?" and I'll say that we are not number one and we are not at zero. Why are we not at zero they may ask? It's not that someone is not doing their job; it's that we are all human and humans make mistakes. People may say or do things that they later regret. There are not perfect people, but there are perfect teams, and as a team we can work together to raise awareness and prevent domestic violence in all forms.

As with any movement, Domestic Violence Awareness Month came about from humble beginnings. The first Day of Unity in 1981, which brought together both domestic violence survivors and advocates on the first Monday of October, has evolved into the whole month. It is important to have awareness months in order to raise public education, provide forums where normally unspoken topics can be discussed freely and celebrate where we have come from, as well as re-focus on the work that still needs to be done. Various events that Family Advocacy has planned for October include info booths, AFN spots, educational briefs and a full monthly calendar of classes.

Here on Misawa Air Base, Family Advocacy works with families who may have a domestic issue in a therapeutic sense to both strengthen the family and promote mission readiness. We are one of two agencies on this base, the other being SARC, that can receive a restricted report in which the chain of command is not notified. This allows the adult victim to receive the care they need, while at the same time, weighing all the options available. Reports can come from other sources as well. Furthermore, even if children are not direct recipients of domestic violence, they too suffer mentally and physically over the long-term. Domestic violence is not just a problem within one family but can affect whole communities over generations.

To prevent and head-off these problems, Family Advocacy offers a wide-range of nationally known programs that use statistically proven methods in helping couples to better communicate, parents to better deal with their children's issues and for all of us to better manage anger and stress. These classes are offered throughout the year on a monthly and quarterly basis. Prevention is about awareness. Many times all it takes is a talk with a friend or neighbor. However, if professional guidance is needed please feel free to contact Family Advocacy or any of the other helping agencies here on this base. Let's work together to make Misawa the best community we can!

If you have any questions, please contact Family Advocacy at 226-2123.