By Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The numbers are staggering. According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center online, nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. More astounding, is one in four women have experienced some type of domestic abuse throughout their lifetime.
Those are national statistics, but the military statistics, which represents less than one percent of our nation, are just as alarming. High operations tempo at home station, long deployments overseas, as well as the economy are the main cause of these rising statistics.
Then defense secretary Robert Gates acknowledged these stresses during a lecture more than a year ago at Duke University.
“As a result of the multiple deployments and hardships associated with Afghanistan and Iraq, large swaths of the military — especially our ground combat forces and their families — are under extraordinary stress,” Gates said.
The secretary continued that the consequences of these stresses include more anxiety and disruption inflicted on children, increased domestic strife and a corresponding rise in divorce rates.
October marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a month dedicated to bringing awareness to the alarming statistics mentioned above. Stresses aren’t changing or going away. Recognizing the signs of abuse can go a long way in potentially saving a life.
Team Schriever members need to be aware of any changes in behavior, which all Wingmen should know, is the key to taking care of our fellow comrades.
“The biggest thing to look for is changes in personality,” said Paula Fraass, the Schriever Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “If this person is always outgoing and now they never want to talk or engage in conversation, then you should just ask the question.”
Fraass also stated that the sudden lack of friends is also a big indicator of an unhealthy relationship.
“When it comes to abuse, any type of abuse, it’s mostly about control,” said Fraass. “If you notice that someone who used to have a large circle of friends now just doesn’t, that’s a big indicator that something could be going on.”
Fraass encourages all Wingmen to ask, act and intervene.
“If you see something, if you suspect something, don’t be shy,” commented Fraass. “Ask the question. Ask them if there is something going on. Ask them if they need to talk. If you feel uncomfortable talking to them, or they feel uncomfortable talking to you, refer them to the many agencies on base that can help.”
If any type of domestic violence or abuse is suspected Family Advocacy on Peterson Air Force Base is the first place to call.
Team Schriever members can also talk to a Chaplain, who can provide 100 percent confidentiality. The military family life consultant here is also available for any military member.
There are also agencies in the Colorado Springs area that members can go to if they need further assistance. TESSA, is a private, not-for-profit agency that offers programs and services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. According to their informational pamphlet, all services are confidential.
If you are being abused or suspect someone is being abused don’t hesitate to use the numbers below to get help.
Peterson Family Advocacy: 556-8943
Schriever Chapel Office: 567-3705
Schriever Military Family Life Consultant: 651-3379