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Domestic violence undermines readiness

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. There are displays promoting domestic violence prevention located through out the base. 

As one walks into the Medical Clinic, pictures hang in the atrium that were drawn by our children at the Child Development Center, depicting the prevention of domestic violence. One drawing stands out; it is a heart with the message, "Never hit, just hug." The statements may be simple but the messages are powerful.
Domestic violence destroys the very core of what families are supposed to represent. "Domestic violence is a crime that ruins families, weakens communities and undermines military readiness," said Dr. David Chu, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
Domestic violence presents in many forms: physical, emotional and sexual maltreatment. The Department of Defense defines physical maltreatment as using physical force against another person that results in some form of injury. Emotional abuse is defined as using words or body language to demean, degrade, establish power and dominate, to promote weakness and submission in the partner, and to destroy the emotional health of the partner. Sexual abuse is forcing an unwilling partner into sexual acts.
Domestic violence extends across gender, socioeconomic status, race, religion, culture and sexual orientation. The epidemic of domestic violence is an equal opportunity offender. Though more women report domestic violence than men, men are not immune to this epidemic. Men are, however, less likely to identify and come forward to report domestic violence. A family is less likely to report domestic violence the higher the rank, income and status. Culture is an additional factor for not reporting domestic violence. If we are to create a culture intolerant of domestic violence, it must not be tolerated within the constructs of our families.
To create a cohesive and healthy family unit, partners must be equal. When equality, respect, boundaries and value for each other exists, maltreatment will decline dramatically.
Our world is plagued with violence and we face stresses and challenges daily. Our safe haven, our support, our warmth and replenishment should come from within our family. Our family and home should be the representation of comfort and happiness. Our family should be our greatest source of support when life has been too challenging. Domestic violence weakens the safety and security of families, as well as undermines mission readiness.
If you need help, call the Family Advocacy Program at 784-2474 or the Domestic Violence Victim Advocate at 784-7760.