Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Confronted with the face of abuse, what would you do?

by Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

11/5/2012 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Invisible. Humiliated. Nervous. Those are just a few words volunteers used to describe how they felt spending an entire day sporting black eyes and bruises, created with makeup, to raise awareness of domestic violence.

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, seven volunteers, men and women, were made up Oct. 18 to have black eyes, slap marks, bloody knuckles and other bruises, and then sent out to continue their day at work. They met again at the end of the day to talk about their experiences.

The hope was for bystanders to question the marks or bruises or offer help.

Shirley Crow, Family Advocacy Program domestic assault victim advocate, said, "They all had similar stories. There were a great deal of people who just ignored (them). They maybe looked but then they quickly looked away."

Martina Porter, FAP outreach manager, was one of the seven volunteers. Her day took her from her office to The Exchange and The Club.

"I felt invisible. I know how I looked, I had two bruises. It looked like I got socked really hard and it hurt, but no one said anything," Porter said.

For the few who did ask, the "victims" had educational information listing resources for victims.

Crow and Porter agreed, the results were disappointing but expected.

"Who wants to talk about domestic violence? It usually happens behind closed doors and no one wants to get involved," Porter said. "There were a lot of people who have been through the training, who have the information, and they didn't say anything."

If you do suspect someone is the victim of domestic violence, Crow recommends speaking with the person in private, and if needed, referring them to the Peterson DAVA at 244-9903 or Military OneSource at (800) 342-9647.

Stepping in to help potential domestic violence victims is key to being a good wingman.

"Our bystander intervention training reminded us we must take an active role in identifying and helping others," said Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing commander. "Intervention by third parties is often the key to stopping violence and sexual assaults."

Porter and Crow are preparing more training as a team for the coming year. Rather than being the standard PowerPoint briefing, they are making the training more interactive.

"Our theme this year is 'What Would You Do?' We're hoping to bring a lot of attention to (the issue)," Porter said.

Even though Porter estimated that only one in 100 people said anything to the volunteers, the project was by no means a failure.

"If we made someone stop for just a second and think about it, then we got a response," Crow said.

For more information about domestic violence, contact 556-8943.

To contact the domestic assault victim advocate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call (719) 244-9903.

No comments: