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Family Advocacy hosts domestic violence discussion

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women and every 9 seconds in the United States the woman is assaulted or beaten.  The violence takes many forms and can happen at any time or once in a while. Remember anyone can be a victim and remember if you are being abused you are not alone, it is not your fault and help is available. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tristin English)

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women and every 9 seconds in the United States the woman is assaulted or beaten. The violence takes many forms and can happen at any time or once in a while. Remember anyone can be a victim and remember if you are being abused you are not alone, it is not your fault and help is available. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tristin English)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Family Advocacy hosted an interactive event Oct. 7 that showed participants how to maneuver through the challenges of real-life domestic violence situations.

Amanda Pinkham, Family Advocacy outreach manager, said the program, "In Her Shoes: Living with Domestic Violence," taught about the struggles and showed the helpful or harmful role that social systems can play in a victim's life.

"Police, domestic violence helping agencies and government officials alone cannot prevent abuse from occurring," she said. "Our silence is affirming to those engaged in power and control. We can send the message that dominance over another is unacceptable. When we stop the silence we unmask the violence."

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, and every nine seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten, according to DomesticViolence.org.

"Domestic violence has or will touch our lives in some way and is no longer considered a private issue," said Pinkham. "It happens in all communities and it's important for everyone to understand the struggles that women with abusive partners face."

Attendees paired off before receiving a card with information about scenarios that a woman comes up against while in an abusive relationship. Then, they had to choose how to help the person in the scenario.

"This information gave me another perspective on domestic violence," said Naty Golubski, a participant in the class. "Fourteen years ago I decided to leave my husband after he put me through mental and emotional abuse; it took me more than two years before I successfully left. I had forgotten what it felt like to make the decision to leave. This discussion taught me to take a step back and offer a few options for others to remove themselves from those situations."

Participants re-grouped to discuss the scenarios and talk about personal situations they have gone through.

Tech. Sgt. Heather Coles talked about her personal experience dealing with an abusive husband and how to be supportive toward someone going through the same situation.

"Be supportive but don't be forceful," she said. "If someone doesn't want out, they're not getting out. It's up to them."

Golubski said she thinks that she knows someone who might be experiencing domestic violence and plans on using the information she gathered to pass on to her friend.

"Just being there for the person is OK. I think a lot of people don't understand the victim is being proactive when they are just going on their own time tables," said Golbuski. "I'll be telling other people what to look for in case they know someone in that situation. There aren't always obvious signs such as cuts and bruises; abuse can be mental and emotional."

Family Advocacy offers classes and counseling to help victims of domestic violence. A Scott AFB Family Advocacy domestic abuse victim advocate can assist in:

· Obtaining military or civilian protection orders;

· Accompany the victim to court proceedings;

· Ongoing supportive services and resource linking; and

· Assist command with after-hours victim response.

The next domestic violence forum is Oct. 29 from 1-3 p.m. in the MDG Deltgen Auditorium.

For more information call 256-7203.