Schriever observes Domestic Violence Awareness month

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time of year to bring awareness to domestic violence issues and available resources.

On average, physical abuse in the United States occur in nearly 20 relationships per minute.

“Since 1981, October has been National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  This month is set aside to educate communities, individuals, couples and families about the Family Advocacy Program services to prevent and report domestic abuse,” said Jeanette Barzee, Family Advocacy Program outreach manager at Peterson Air Force Base.

In one year, this equates to more than 10 million abused women and men, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“We are bringing awareness to a dynamic that is disturbing, that is violence against other people, particularly in the context of intimate relationships,” said Dr. Ken Robinson, 50th Space Wing Violence Prevention specialist.

According to the Department of Defense, domestic violence is an offence under the United States Code, the Uniform Code of Military Justice or state law that involves the use, attempted use, threat, use of force, violence against a person who is a current or former spouse, a person who shares a child with the abuser, a current or former intimate partner with whom the abuser shares a common domicile.

It may also entail a violation against a lawful order issued for the protection of a person who is a current or former spouse, a person who shares a child with the abuser, a current or former intimate partner with whom the abuser shares a common domicile.

“It is important for military members to be aware of domestic violence because in terms of various occupations in general, military members have the second highest rates of domestic violence, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Battered Women's Justice Center,” said Barzee. “Additionally, domestic violence disrupts the military mission significantly. In so many ways, the military aspires to live by 'higher standards' and to lead by example, so military members need to recognize that violence in the family is unacceptable.  We can do better.”

Within the last 10 years, scientists and researchers who study domestic violence have examined this dynamic through the lens of attachment theory.

“Empirical studies using the attachment model have shown that domestic violence risk is often associated with insecure attachment anxiety patterns (i.e. anxious, avoidant) that people have developed in previous relationships,” said Robinson. “Sometimes under stress when concerns of disconnection arise, individuals with insecure attachment styles out of the fear of abandonment may react in unhealthy ways. These reactions include efforts of emotional and physical control such as blocking a door when a partner attempts to leave which can lead to a physical altercation.

“He stated that it is important for military couples to understand their attachment dynamics especially as risk factors tend to elevate around pre and post deployment or extended periods of shift work.

Robinson specializes in attachment and family systems theory and has a wealth of experience working with military families, couples, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines. He served in both the Air Force and Army Chaplain Corps. After retiring from the Air Force Chaplain Corps in 2006, he completed his doctorate in marriage and family therapy and spent six years in the Army Community Service, Family Advocacy Program at Fort Carson, Colorado.

“The 50 SW Prevention Program will begin implementing evidence based programs on the installation to help reduce domestic violence but also other forms of violence, such as child abuse, sexual assault, suicide, bullying and workplace violence utilizing the attachment perspective,” said Robinson. “These new programs being implemented are focused not only on reducing violence, but in helping individuals, couples and families improve the overall quality of their relationships.” 

In generating awareness, the goal is to bring attention to a problem and how to respond to domestic violence situations and do something about it.

October can be a time to generate conversations about what can be helpful in responding. It is also a good time to learn more about domestic violence in general, and encourage individuals to speak up and know the warning signs.

 “Our hope in the Family Advocacy Program is that this focus empowers victims, friends, relatives, co-workers and others to report abuse and seek help early on before things become violent,” said Barzee.

“The overall message is no one deserves to be abused. Anyone can be a victim. Don’t be afraid to be a part of the solution,” said Robinson.

Dr. Robinson will conduct an “Intimate Allies” Couples Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20 in Building 210, Room 310 in the First Term Airman Center classroom.  For more information or to register, contact Robinson at 567-2647 or Paula Krause at 567-7446.

For more information about the Family Advocacy Program call 556-8943.