In keeping with raising domestic violence awareness throughout October, Fort Bragg’s Family Advocacy Program, Army Community Service, held its Domestic Violence Awareness Symposium, Oct. 4, at the Pope Family Readiness Center. Some available resources included information related to FAP’s mission of promoting healthy Families and service members, as well as information pertaining to medical treatment and to law enforcement and community response to domestic violence.
“When abuse occurs, there is an assessment and treatment services that are available and we had a table that went over what those were,” said Tom Hill, FAP manager.
The symposium launched Fort Bragg’s campaign to recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which was established in 1981 to connect advocates nationwide working to end violence against women and children. In the years since, advocates have learned that women and children are not the only victims of domestic violence, but that men are victimized as well.
According to Hill, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of physical, emotional/psychological abuse, economic control, and/or interference with personal liberty that is directed toward a person.
It is an offense under the United States Code, the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state law and involves the use, attempted use or threatened use of force or violence against a person.
Hill said that ACS advocates receive about 89 calls per month for domestic violence.
Domestic violence, however, isn’t Fort Bragg-specific. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 women or 27.4 percent and 1 in 9 men or 11 percent have experienced some form of intimate partner abuse in their lifetime.
Some of the warning signs of domestic violence are fear of one’s partner or spouse, unexplained bruises, threatening to do harm, leave or commit suicide, using economic abuse in preventing a partner from having access to Family or employment income and isolation from loved ones.
The duty to end domestic violence remains accountable to individuals and to society as a whole.
Those who suspect domestic violence should intervene, said Danielle Duplissis, a victim advocate coordinator, FAP.
“People think what happens in the home, stays in the home,” she said. “See something, say something. If you know something is going on, you should make a report.”
There are two types of reporting — restrictive and non-restrictive, Duplissis said. Each looks at the imminent risks or harm to the Family.
Restrictive reporting allows one to make a report without command/law enforcement involvement, while unrestrictive does not, she explained.
But, there is a way to guarantee restrictive reporting.
Hill said, “They can call and not give their name. That’s the best way to ensure their privacy. We won’t hunt down their caller ID or their license plate. We know that some people just don’t feel ready. They are just worried that they are going to lose their career or their spouse might lose their career.”
Indeed, loss of career is a valid concern for service members who can be chaptered or discharged from military service.
“According to the Lautenberg Act, if a person is convicted of assault, that person is not allowed to carry a weapon. As a service member, that can definitely lead to chapter,” Hill said.
Regardless, it is imperative to report domestic violence.
Once a report has been filed, Soldiers and Family members may receive support such as mental health counseling, advocacy service and medical assistance, Duplissis explained.
ACS also offers communication and parenting classes to build Family resiliency.
Those who wish to obtain resources for ending domestic violence may call:
Victim Advocate 24-Hour Hotline, 322-3418
Fort Bragg Military Police, 396-0391
Fort Bragg Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Hotline, 584-4267
Womack Army Medical Center Family Member Behavioral Health/Social Work, 907-7869
Emergency Room, WAMC, 907-6559
Watters Center, 396-6564
Law Enforcement, 911
National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233
Additionally, for off-post resources, “They can call any of us and ask about domestic violence shelters and get help in finding any one of those … they (shelters) are usually in anonymous places that the police monitor,” said Hill.
Other upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities include a Law Enforcement Presentation, 1 to 3 p.m., Monday, at the Iron Mike Conference Center (2658 Reilly Road) and the Resilience Academy, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 24, 25 and 31, at the Pope FRGC (236 Interceptor Road).
To show unity in a stand against domestic violence, the Fort Bragg community is encouraged to wear purple, the color associated with hope and royalty, on Fridays this month.
For more information/assistance pertaining to domestic violence or to obtain services that could help strengthen the Army Family, visit the Fort Bragg Family Advocacy Program, located on the third floor of the Soldier Support Center (2843 Normandy Drive), call 396-5521 or visit FAP online at https://bragg.armymwr.com/programs/fap.