News: Domestic Violence Awareness Month kicks off
Story by Sgt. Edward Garibay
FORT BLISS, Texas – Every day there are women, children and sometimes even men driven from their homes as a result of domestic violence. Even worse, there are still many who are too frightened to leave and live in constant terror of what might happen to them next.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the FAP here is doing everything they can to make sure Soldiers, family members, Department of Defense civilians and military retirees have every resource at their disposal to prevent and stop domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is a cycle that needs to be broken,” said Cheryl Rankin, a staff assistant at the local FAP. “If it is not broken, it’s just going to get repeated and there is never going to be an end.”
Throughout the first week of this awareness campaign, Fort Bliss hosted several events such as the Domestic Violence Awareness Kick-off and the information fair at the Family Resilience Center.
During the information fair, attendees received free books, wristbands, stress balls, educational pamphlets and even food. They could stop at various booths and learn about specific resources available to them here in El Paso. There was even a booth where people could sign up to be foster parents for a child displaced by domestic violence.
“A lot of times, victims want to get help, but they just don’t know where to even start,” said Gabriela Rojas-Reyes, a victim advocate at the FAP here. “Our goal is to let people know that we (FAP) are here, and you have a friend.”
For those who missed the fair, they can still catch one of the many other events throughout the month, which are posted at www.blissmwr.com/fap. They can also visit the FAP at Army Community Service, located at 2429 Ricker Road, or call the Fort Bliss 24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline at (915) 269-2013 if they are in need.
Since the FAP is a resource for everyone, Rojas-Reyes also encouraged leaders to visit or attend some of the events scheduled this month, because leaders and friends are often a soldier’s first line of support.
“You don’t leave a soldier behind on the battlefield, so why would you do it here,” said Rankin, talking about the need to protect soldiers in a garrison environment. “The Army is a family, and the Army is a community. We all need to help each other.”
Families with children registered with the post Child, Youth & School Services may be eligible to receive free childcare during many of the events. Contact the FAP office for specific details, (915) 568-9129/9134.