United to End: Domestic Violence Awareness Month focuses on unity in military community

  • Published
  • By Khirstia Sheffield
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – October is not just a month filled with falling leaves, chilling weather and carved pumpkins. It’s a month dedicated to domestic violence awareness and here at the Sheppard Air Force Base, the safety of all military members is at the core of the mission.

Domestic violence is multifaceted and includes physical, psychological, sexual and economic abuse of a victim and is often hidden from the public view. The 82nd Medical Group Family Advocacy Clinic is the home of protection and their main mission is to support families who face adversity. Through the promotion of healthy and resilient families, the clinic strives to support suffering families by preventing, intervening and treating child abuse and domestic violence. For the month of October, the Family Advocacy Clinic is focused on uniting all military members together to prevent future domestic violence through the hashtag Join Forces to End Domestic Violence.

“United to end, at its core, is all about togetherness,” said Capt. Jennifer Noblin, Family Advocacy clinical psychologist. “We need to acknowledge what’s happening in our military families. We need to stop pretending that domestic violence does not hit the military community, because it does.”

Domestic violence is prominent on all levels and it does not discriminate. It’s vital that individuals understand that no one is exempt from experiencing domestic violence and that programs, such as the Family Advocacy Clinic, are set in place to protect, prevent, and provide comfort in times of uncertainty.

“Our very mission as a military is to be ready. We have to be ready to fight and we have to be ready to go at a moment’s notice,” Noblin said. “Relationships and family dynamics play an integral role in our mission of readiness and if they’re not right, they can affect the person who is wearing the uniform in a lot of ways. When we take our focus off of our mission and put it on family problems, then that person’s focus is going to be elsewhere. The mission can suffer if we have enough of that.”

Military families are sometimes very vulnerable because they lack social support from families and friends due to a constant change of surroundings, making it even more important to support those families in need to prevent future violent incidents.

Together we stand to fight against domestic violence. #JoinForcesToEndDomesticViolence

What does the Family Advocacy Clinic provide for those suffering with domestic violence?

The Family Advocacy Clinic takes allegations of domestic violence. The maltreatment can be intimate partners, married spouses or parents to children. The program takes incidents that are reported and ensures that those involved are protected because safety is their number one priority. They provide immediate safety planning and at a moment’s notice Security forces, OSI, the victim’s and/or the offender’s commander and other legal departments can be gathered. Family Advocacy also has local affiliations with the domestic violence shelters if someone needs to be removed from the home. Restricted reporting is also an option, to allow the victim to receive services and support in a way that they feel most comfortable.

How can I receive help from the Family Advocacy Clinic?

One of the most common ways to receive immediate help is to contact the Family Advocacy Clinic at 940-676-2271 or the National Domestic Hotline at 800-799-7233. The Family Advocacy Clinic is readily available to help 24/7. You can also contact your first sergeant and they can put you in contact with someone who will get you what you need.

How can I support those suffering with domestic violence?

Know what the signs are of someone who is being abused and don’t be afraid to ask those hard questions. Be an ally, so you can know the right questions to ask. Be armed with information to help them. You might not have all the answers, but always know what those resources are.