October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to consider what you can do to prevent the issue of partner abuse in our community.

Domestic violence is defined as actions taken by one person in an intimate relationship to gain power and control over another.  It can include physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse.

Some examples of these behaviors are: hitting, punching, shoving, stabbing, shooting, threatening behavior, name calling, humiliating in front of others, controlling what one wears, says and does, controlling the financial decisions, stalking, destroying or attempting to destroy property and using children to control one’s partner.

Army Community Service will be offering several opportunities during the month to increase awareness about this serious problem, to train leaders, servicemembers and others and to help couples improve or strengthen their relationships.

Please take a minute to look through the list below of the many activities planned for the month.

Fort Bragg Victim Advocates will be available at every event listed should anyone have questions or need assistance.

Domestic Violence Month luncheon:

To kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month there will be a luncheon Oct. 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at McKellar’s Lodge in Dining Room B.  There will be civilian and military speakers from the local law enforcement community to discuss measures everyone can take to recognize, report and prevent domestic violence. A military commander who went above and beyond the call of duty while working with a Family involved with the Family Advocacy Program will be recognized. Finally, a victim of domestic violence will tell her story and the impact the horrible abuse has had on her, her children and her military career.

Co-Parenting Children when Divorced or Separated Workshop:

Esther Berrios, a presenter known on Fort Bragg for her entertaining and informative workshops, will be facilitating two events at the Soldier Support Center, third floor. Co-Parenting Children of Divorce and Custody Workshop will be offered Oct. 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This workshop provides parents with tips for peaceful, loving parenting in the midst of divorce and custody battles.  Register early as this class fills up fast.

The Amazing Couple’s Challenge:

You’ve seen the TV show, but this is real and in person.  On Oct. 11, for the first time, the Family Advocacy Program is hosting a fun-filled event targeting couples from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Linden Oaks Clubhouse. Come out and compete as a couple in this scavenger hunt to see if you have what it takes to win the Amazing Couple’s Challenge.  Call 396-5521 if you feel you have what it takes to win this race.

Sound Off Open Mike Night:

Get ready to showcase your talent.  On Oct. 16, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., ACS, partnering with the Better Opportunities  For Single Soldiers program, will sponsor Sound Off, Open Mic Night at SportsUSA on Fort Bragg.  Categories include: poetry and short story readings, stand-up comedy, free style rapping and acoustic instrument playing. This event will focus on promoting healthy relationships and safe dating. All participants and the first 25 people through the door will receive free literature on healthy relationships and safe dating. For more information or to register to perform please call 396-5521.

Domestic Violence the Musical:

People often ask why victims of domestic violence just don’t leave.  Fix the Hurt Performing Arts Group will perform Domestic Violence the Musical? in October to help people understand why victims don’t leave. There will be three shows. Two will be held on Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2:30  to 3 p.m. at the Family Readiness Center on Pope field and one the on Oct. 17, at the Watters Center for Family Life and Religious Education from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.  This is a very powerful show and the messages provided will have the audience clapping, cheering, crying and silent.

I Have this Friend play:

Fix the Hurt Performing Arts Group will also be performing I Have This Friend, a musical targeting teenagers who are either already dating or who will be dating in the near future.  Watch as parents and others become aware of the true danger of dating violence.  Learn “red flags” as they present in relationships.  The event will take place at Albritton Middle School on Oct. 16 starting at 6 p.m.  *Subject matter is appropriate for ages 13 years and above.  Students under 17 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Couples Workshop:

Oct. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., a Couple’s Communication Workshop is scheduled. This is workshop provides a wealth of information about effective, peaceful relationships for couples or anyone in a relationship. Limited seating and childcare is available. Please call 396-5521 for reservations.  This class usually fills up fast, so reserve early.

Candle Light Vigil:

On Oct. 25, at 5:30, p.m., the final event for the month will be the annual Remember My Name Candlelight Vigil at 5:30 p.m. on the steps of the Cumberland County Courthouse. The event is held to remember those who lost their lives as a result of domestic violence.  Every victim from North Carolina will be recognized and honored.

The theme for October 2013 Domestic Violence Awareness Month is “End Domestic Violence:  Recognize It, Report It, and Prevent It!”

The Fort Bragg Family Advocacy Program reminds military couples that there’s no excuse for intimate partner violence.