Charlotte Richter | Staff Writer
Army Community Service and the Family Advocacy Program will be hosting a series of events and recurring experiences throughout October in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The nationally observed month, symbolized by a purple ribbon, began in October 1987 as an opportunity to acknowledge the impact of domestic and intimate partner violence. Purple ribbon signs have been placed around post as visual reminders.
Scheduled Domestic Violence Awareness Month events include an official proclamation of the observance by Garrison Commander Col. John Misenheimer Jr. and a few guest speakers, including Leavenworth County Humane Society Director Crystal Blackdeer, who will speak about the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 25 in Marshall Lecture Hall at the Lewis and Clark Center. Other guest speaker dates are still to be determined.
FAP will also partner with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence to feature a Silent Witness display, which will move to various locations around post, to include upcoming dates at the Post Exchange, Munson Army Health Center and Gruber gymnasium. The display shows the relevance of domestic violence in any community.
Recurring events will include self-defense classes, New Parent Support classes, and a book club every Tuesday now through Oct. 26 focused on love languages and communication. Details on the events will be posted on the Fort Leavenworth ACS Facebook page.The events are intended to build a safe space in the community, Green said.
“These events are not only for domestic violence victims, these are open to everyone on post,” she said.The main goal of Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to bring the issue to light.“(Domestic violence is) just the reality… it is here, it is happening here,” said Tricia Green, FAP victim advocate. “Just be aware and willing to help your neighbor, and if you have the information, share it.”
In addition to awareness, providing resources to community members is another goal.“The idea behind the prevention month is that we are supplying resources to people so they can help victims,” said Jayne Meath, FAP specialist with ACS. She said the awareness helps the community guide victims to the FAP office or provide support directly.
“The other thing to remember, a lot of people don’t realize how quickly (domestic violence) can escalate,” Meath said.FAP is designed to navigate situations in which domestic violence occurs or may occur. Meath said the two main functions of the pro-gram include education and prevention through crisis intervention and treatment through clinical support and counseling.Similar to the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program, those interested in reporting domestic violence may choose between restricted and unrestricted channels for reporting within the criteria of marriage, intimate partnerships, shared children and shared living spaces.
Unrestricted reporting may involve protections through law enforcement, command and an investigation, whereas restricted reporting does not. Although restricted reporting has more limited resources due to the confidentiality associated with the method, those using that form of reporting can still receive medical treatment and speak to a counselor, chaplain and FAP.Green and Meath said resources are available through FAP to learn about warning signs, safety protocols, legal assessments, reporting options and support options, including help for non-post residents.
Green said it’s empowering for victims to take initiative in seeking support. Victims and those interested in providing support may reach the FAP office and victim advocacy by calling (913) 684-2812 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A 24-hour Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline is also available at (913) 683-2537