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Vandenberg raises awareness of domestic abuse

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Domestic violence can have a devestating effect on children. Children who experience abuse are at risk for adverse adult behaviors, including smoking and alcoholism. (Courtesy photo graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Domestic violence can have a devestating effect on children. Children who experience abuse are at risk for adverse adult behaviors, including smoking and alcoholism. (Courtesy photo graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- During the month of October, Vandenberg organizations and individuals will focus on domestic violence awareness and prevention.

Domestic violence does not just affect the individual; it affects an entire community.

"When someone is abused it affects everyone around them," said Tracy Bramlett, a 30th Medical Support Squadron family advocacy outreach manager.

To spread awareness of the event, there will be an information boot set up at the Base Exchange to increase awareness of the impact of domestic violence. Also, there will be a series of briefings by family advocacy about the importance of understanding the signs that someone is being abused, Mrs. Bramlett said.

"In a lot of situations it is difficult to understand how someone could not go forward and say they are being abused, but it happens," she said. "Because of this it can be vitally important that others are aware of the signs that someone is being abused."

The first step to ending violence within the home is recognizing abusive behaviors. Domestic violence is not always physical -- it can entail verbal aggression or emotional neglect. The American Medical Association defines domestic violence as repeated physical violence, psychological abuse, sexual assault, social isolation and intimidation. Other behaviors that indicate abuse are jealousy, controlling actions, pushing for a fast commitment, unrealistic expectations, and isolation and blaming others for problems, feelings or actions.

Such behaviors can have devastating effects on the entire family, especially children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that children who experience abuse are at risk for adverse adult behaviors to include smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders, severe obesity, depression, suicide, sexual promiscuity and certain chronic diseases. In addition, children who witness domestic violence are more likely to pick abusive partners as adults.

Many people might believe that their community is immune to domestic violence, but that's not the case. Domestic violence happens all throughout the world, and the Air Force is no exception. However, Air Force leadership is working hard to prevent this atrocious behavior.

Within the Air Force, family advocacy goals are to educate members and families to raise awareness of domestic violence so that co-workers, commanders, senior NCOs and neighbors can support each other, and to provide the skills and resiliency training so people have the tools to help them cope with frustrations, according to Ruby DeMesme, deputy assistant Air Force secretary for force management and personnel.

For more information on domestic violence or to seek help, call 606-5338.