Team XL gathers to raise awareness for domestic violence

Cards with the names of those in Texas who died from domestic violence were passed out with purple flowers at the domestic violence awareness event on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 2, 2017. According to Casey Molleson, 47th Medical Operations Squadron family advocacy outreach manager, in 2015, the state of Texas saw 157 fatalities due to domestic violence.

Senior Airman June Bell, 47th Medical Operations Squadron family health operations manager, holds a purple flower used to recognize domestic violence awareness month on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 3, 2017. As a domestic violence survivor, Bell shared her story at the domestic violence awareness event on Laughlin, Oct. 2.

Second Lt. Hieu Pham, 47th Student Squadron student pilot, and his wife Maria Rivera-Pham volunteer by passing out purple flowers to those attending the domestic violence awareness event on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 2, 2017. The 47th Medical Group, the Family Advocacy Center, Health Promotions and the Youth Center also contributed to the event.

Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, signs Laughlin’s Domestic Violence Awareness Proclamation on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 2, 2017. The proclamation recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Prevention Month on Laughlin.

Staff Sgt. Kimberly Moore, 47th Operations Support Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of administration, and Edward Slaughter, 47th Medical Group and Wing Staff Agencies first sergeant, show off their painted-on black eyes as a statement against domestic violence on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 2, 2017. Members on base donned fake bruises during the duty day to test whether those they came into contact with would ask questions of concern. Every person wearing a bruise was confronted by peers, supervisors or commanders.

Members of Team XL and their families gathered to support a domestic violence awareness event in Heritage Park on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 2, 2017. October is now Domestic Violence Awareness Month on base, and Laughlin is reminding people of the support available to any who find themselves a victim of domestic violence.

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Team XL gathered to support domestic violence awareness on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 2, 2017.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Laughlin Family Advocacy is reminding people of the support available to any who find themselves a victim of domestic violence.

Because the number of domestic violence cases on base are so few, the Laughlin Family Advocacy Center is able to proactively stop domestic violence before it escalates into a concern, according to Casey Molleson, 47th Medical Operations Squadron family advocacy outreach manager.

Even though there are few cases of domestic violence, base members should remain alert and know who can be affected by domestic violence and how to help.

"Domestic violence does not discriminate,” Molleson said. “It affects every race, socioeconomic class, gender and age. The military and Laughlin are not immune to domestic violence.”

For some, domestic violence may be a far away and abstract topic – something that could never happen to them. For others, it is all too familiar.

“It started with emotional manipulation,” said Senior Airman June Bell, 47th MDOS family health office manager. “I started apologizing for things that weren’t even my fault. After emotional manipulation came verbal and more. It made me question everything good I thought about myself. I was isolated. He would apologize, I would forgive, and the cycle would start all over again. I found myself in the vicious cycle of abuse with no particular way out.”

The Department of Defense takes domestic violence and family violence seriously, and to respond to these incidents they have made it a priority to put programs such as the Family Advocacy Program in place to help those in need, Molleson stated.

The Family Advocacy Program offers prevention tools to help families before an incident, along with treatment after an incident. Another resource Family Advocacy offers is called Restricted Reporting. This is a report adult victims of domestic violence can file through Family Advocacy as long as there is no imminent danger, affect to the mission and zero child involvement. A restricted report gives the victim a chance to receive treatment without an investigation being opened. 

Like Bell said, domestic violence can be a vicious cycle of abuse with no particular way out. The person abused may never speak up for themselves, and others may not intervene to personal barriers. 

“Everyone plays a role in detecting and eliminating domestic violence,” said Molleson. “Learning about the warning signs and resources is a great place to start. You never know when one of these victims will be your sister, brother, cousin, troop or wingman.”

Note:

If you or someone you know is in imminent danger, call the security forces or 9-1-1. Domestic violence situations are one of the most dangerous circumstances. Let victims know there are resources available such as Family Advocacy, Mental Health, Chapel of the Wings Chaplain Corp, BCFS Health and Human Services—Del Rio, New Horizons Women and Children's Center Del Rio and the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).