14th OMRS Family Advocacy spreads awareness on domestic violence

  • Published
  • By Airman Davis Donaldson
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Domestic Violence Awareness & Prevention Month, observed every October, is a time for Airmen and families to spread awareness about domestic violence; according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website, nearly 20 people are physically abused every 20 minutes by an intimate partner in the U.S. – this equates to more than 10 million women and men annually.

The 2019 Domestic Violence & Prevention Month theme at Columbus Air Force Base is “Setting Boundaries, Staying Safe: Navigating Technology Use in Relationships.”

Daisy Jones-Brown, 14th Flying Training Wing violence prevention integrator, gave her insight about the observance and how people can contribute.

“Domestic Violence Awareness Month is for people to realize: one, people are in domestic-violence type situations. (Secondly), people want to be out of those situations and (lastly) they should ask themselves, what can everyone do as a team to prevent it from happening,” Jones-Brown said.

Jones-Brown said the month is to prevent domestic violence from happening, but realizing it is happening to families at the present moment and they need help.

If someone has already been affected by domestic violence, there are resources at Columbus AFB and in Columbus, Mississippi, for them to get help, Jones-Brown said. She said Family Advocacy programs, the Chapel, Safe Haven, Inc., which is a domestic violence shelter off base, and herself, are some of the resources victims can use.

“Sometimes it just takes a friend,” Jones-Brown said. “It just takes a friend, a co-worker or someone who cares, to say ‘Hey, I’m going to get you somewhere safe’ to get them in a better situation and environment.”

Jones-Brown said although there are plenty of resources, people are scared they might make their situations worse by telling someone.

“The biggest problem, sometimes, is embarrassment and shame,” said Joyce Dumas, 14th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Family Advocacy intervention specialist. “Other times they don’t want have fear of leaving relationships, due to the children. Overall, they just don’t want to make their situation worse.”

Dumas said the goal for herself and Family Advocacy is to get a victim’s family back to where they were to begin with, without major repercussions.

“They just want us to put their family back together,” Dumas said. “And that’s our main goal here, which is to strengthen our families and help them regain their level of functioning.”

To avoid a victim’s fear of impact on their spouse or family, there is an option for the victim to do restrictive reporting, Dumas said. Restrictive reporting allows a victim to report their situation in a disclosed environment with no investigation involved, while getting the medical treatment they need.

Even if domestic violence is not a part of someone’s life, Jones-Brown notes there are many ways people can make in impact in 2019. The theme for 2019 is spreading awareness through technology.

“The theme the Air Force has this month is recognizing the month via social media and technology,” Jones-Brown said. “One of the things we want people to focus on is that if they see something on social media, (regarding domestic violence) they would correct it. If they see something that is in support of domestic-violence awareness, they would share it.”

Jones-Brown said the point, in general, of Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month is for families to realize when they or others are not in a safe situation.

“I think many people who aren’t in these situations think there’s not much they can do,” Jones-Brown said. “But, I can say this, nothing really changes unless everybody is on board. If everyone is aware, cares about the cause and does something when they see something, we’ll get there better and help them faster.”