In tribute to National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Womack Army Medical Center hosted a presentation in memory of Army 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc, Oct. 17.

Wimunc, a nurse at WAMC was reported missing in July 2008, after a fire was discovered at her Fayetteville apartment. Her remains were found days later near Camp Lejuene in Jacksonville, N.C. Later, Wimunc’s husband, Marine Cpl. John Patrick Wimunc was charged and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Jesse James, dean of admission at the University of Dubuque in Iowa, and Wimunc’s father, spoke on his daughter’s behalf.

James has been traveling across the country speaking to young people about domestic violence and the importance of getting out of abusive relationships. The room fell silent as James displayed a video depicting the life of his daughter from birth up until her death.

A plaque will be placed in Wimunc’s honor in the Mother-Baby unit at WAMC where she previously worked.

“It gives us tremendous gratitude when people remember Holley,” said James.

He explained that keeping Family and friends informed is one of the many ways in which one can bring light to their situation.

Domestic violence, a pattern of abusive behavior by one partner against another, can also impact Families and children.

“A child’s life can be changed forever,” said Dr. Sharon W. Cooper, Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, PA, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine. “It is a fact that child abuse tends to occur if domestic violence occurs in the presence of a child.”

Potential signs of domestic abuse offenders are those with mental health and psychological problems, drug and alcohol abusers, belligerent individuals and those who are prone to stalking.

“The best way of preventing domestic violence is to start looking at would-be offenders,” said Cooper. “People who batter, bully and sexually assault their partners, often begin these behaviors as adolescents.

“An abuser can stop. Abuse is a choice,” said Cooper. “It is not an obligation; it’s not like when you’re going through the withdrawals from drugs or alcohol.”

Local and national resources are available for anyone who is, or thinks they may be a victim of domestic violence.

Callers can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline anonymously and confidentially at 1-800-799-SAFE and Fort Bragg Army Community Service at 396-5521.