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Center deals with domestic violence

By Senior Airman C. Todd Lopez

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (Oct. 20, 2000) -- This month, military and civilian communities observed Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The entire month is dedicated to increasing awareness of the problems of domestic violence and looking at ways to stop the problem.

"There is no excuse for domestic violence," said Deborah A. Carr, Family Advocacy Outreach manager. "This month is about heightening the public's awareness of domestic violence and its effect on society."

The Family Advocacy program here is responsible for educating the base population about preventing, identifying and reporting abuse.

"We regularly hold classes, lectures and seminars on domestic violence," said Carr.

During Domestic Violence Awareness month, the center holds additional classes focused on several particular issues.

"During October we held the Family Support Center/Family Advocacy sponsored 'Marriage doesn't have to be a ball and chain seminar' and also 'The Dating Game' at the Teen Center," said Carr. "We will also hold the Purple Ribbon campaign at the BX, Friday."

"Domestic violence is a learned pattern of behavior used by one person in a relationship to control the other person," said Carr. "The partners may be married or not married, living together, separated or dating."

Domestic violence is more than just physical abuse-it covers an entire spectrum of abuse.

"Examples of domestic violence include actual or threatened physical harm, sexual assault, stalking, intimidation, emotional abuse, mind games, name-calling, put-downs, or economic abuse by withholding money or being prevented from getting money," said Carr.

Domestic violence education is important because much abuse goes unreported by victims.

"Often victims don't think of themselves as abused," said Carr. "Many don't see the things their partners do to them as abusive, nor do they see them as a pattern."

While Carr said women are most often the victims of abuse, they are not the only victims if there are children in an abusive home.

"The children may be suffering from emotional abuse, possible neglect or physical abuse," said Carr. "Most children who live with abuse become victims or abusers as adults."

"Domestic violence shouldn't happen to anyone," said Carr. "It does though, when it does, Family Advocacy is there to help."