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The month is over, domestic violence prevention is not

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Luke Kitterman
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

President Barack Obama declared October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month with the intent to shed light on a physical and emotional topic. Although the month is over, his message and the collective efforts of the U.S. population to prevent domestic violence aim to extend past a calendar date.


“Our Nation’s character is tested whenever this injustice is tolerated,” Obama said in his national proclamation. “When anyone is targeted by someone they place their trust in, we have a responsibility to speak up. We all have a role to play in building a bright and safe future for each other and for our future generations.”


With this goal and attitude in mind, Melissa Vazquez, 27th Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron family advocacy outreach manager, hosted a “Take Back the Night” community walk in coordination with the Hartley House and Family Advocacy Program to show support for domestic violence prevention.


“’Take Back the Night’ was a walk to raise awareness for those who have lost their lives or are currently in a domestic violent relationship,” Vazquez said. “We also want to raise awareness for those children that have grown up witnessing domestic violence in their homes.”


Nearly 200 people were in attendance at the walk to show support for the prevention of domestic violence, an act that knows no limitations on who it affects.


“Domestic violence can affect us all,” Vazquez said. “It ignores race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality and socio-economic status, to include our own military members.”


According to Obama’s proclamation, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have suffered from domestic violence by an intimate partner. In the U.S., 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute.


For Vazquez, putting in the effort to raise awareness and reduce these numbers should not be limited to October; she encourages those affected to use the available resources on base.   


“Attention on this important matter shouldn’t be limited to one month,” Vazquez said. “Focusing on helping those affected should be maintained throughout the year. The Family Advocacy Program is here year round for families that are dealing with domestic violence, and has a Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate. Help is available.”