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Domestic violence: breaking the silence

A white fence set up at the Losano Fitness Center at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas commemorates Texas’ victims of domestic violence on October 29, 2018. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hambor)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

By the time someone brushes their teeth for two minutes, about 40 men and women would fall victim to domestic violence in the United States.

According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, ten million women and men are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. every year.

While domestic violence is a year-round issue, one month out of the year is specifically dedicated to bringing awareness to the problem at hand.

“October is domestic violence awareness month but, we want to make sure the word gets out throughout the year,” said Casey Molleson, 47th Medical Operations Squadron family advocacy intervention specialist.

Molleson stresses the importance of becoming aware of tendencies and patterns of domestic violence, and to take advantage of the resources available on Laughlin or online before issues become more serious.

“What we want to do is resolve issues before they cross that threshold of abuse—we want to try and prevent that,” she said. “Every couple argues, and that’s normal. It’s just how far they take it – and once they start getting into a pattern of arguing, we want to stop that and give them the communication tools to help learn their love language.”

Resources are not only found at Laughlin, but with the help of the local community, military members have access to services in town to help victims cope with struggles related to domestic violence.

“Del Rio has a women and children’s shelter called ‘New Horizons’ and we as military have access to that,” she said. “One of the groups we work very close with is called Baptist Children family services. They also hold group therapy sessions, where a handful of victims get together and talk about their experience, which can help others process the events.”

For Molleson, domestic violence isn’t just an observance in the month of October, it’s a serious issue that happens relentlessly year-round. Her position as the base’s family advocacy representative allows her to be the voice for the deceased victims of domestic violence.

“They can no longer say what signs they saw,” she said. “They can no longer paint that picture for their daughter, their sister [and] brothers or nieces and nephews. They can no longer say ‘I should have left when she first started calling me names’ or ‘I should have left the first time she hit me’ or ‘I should have taken it serious when they said they were going to kill me.’”

Preventing issues from turning to domestic violence, according to Molleson, takes awareness and the courage of not just one, but many in a community. If someone you know is involved in domestic violence, help them to a safe location and contact the family advocacy program urgently at (830) 298-6422, or New Horizons in Del Rio at (830) 775-9705.