News: JTF Guantanamo Service Members Stand Up Against Domestic Abuse
Story by Sgt. Michael Baltz
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — Navy Capt. Steven Blaisdell, U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay commanding officer, has proclaimed October as domestic violence awareness month at Guantanamo Bay during a domestic violence awareness training facilitated by Fleet and Family Support Center to educate service members, Sept. 25.
"With four million women being abused annually in the United States — 324,000 of which are during pregnancy — and 1,500 to 2,000 of domestic abuse cases resulting in death, awareness is critical," said Carol Leaphart, a domestic abuse advocate. "It is extremely critical for military members, since the risks are increased after deployments."
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Thinh Le has participated in this training multiple times.
"The training is great. I feel I learn something more every time," Le said. "This is one of those things that we need to learn to help keep our eyes open, so when a situation arises, we are prepared and know how to properly respond. After all, it could be a life we are saving."
The class has a primary goal of teaching prevention.
"The reason we do the [general military training] is that we want to be proactive and educate our military members on domestic abuse issues," Leaphart said. "The [Department of Defense] wants to eradicate domestic abuse in the military community. The purpose of the training is prevention, and giving people the tools they need to recognize domestic abuse, and how to know if they are in an abusive relationship."
According to the DoD, 95 percent of cases of domestic violence are perpetrated by men against women.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over a spouse or intimate partner through fear and intimidation. It often includes threats or use of violence. Although we have historically referred to this behavior as spouse abuse, the term is often misleading and the use of the term domestic violence will become increasingly common across the military services in the future.
Domestic violence takes many forms. It may include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children and intimidation.
Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one of the following categories:
Physical attacks — the abuser's physical attacks or aggressive behavior can range from bruising to murder. It may begin with seemingly minor acts, such as pushing or restraining, but often escalates into more frequent and serious attacks.
Sexual abuse — physical attack by the abuser is often accompanied by or culminated in sexual violence wherein the victim is forced to have intercourse with the abuser or take part in unwanted sexual activity.
Psychological attacks — the abuser's psychological assaults can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolation from friends and family, deprivation of physical and economic resources and destruction of property.
"There is a powerful movement in the United States with real men stepping up against domestic abuse," Leaphart explained. "It is up to you to take a stand against domestic abuse."
If you are being abused, think you are being abused or are concerned about someone who you think is living with abuse call 1-800-799-SAFE.
For more information about Joint Task Force Guantanamo, visit the Web site at www.jtfgtmo.southcom.mil.