The 56th Medical Operation Squadron spread domestic violence awareness

Senior Airman John Schwanterlik, 56th Medical Support Squadron out-patient records technician, pins a purple ribbon on a Domestic Violence Awareness Month pot at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 20, 2017. Purple is the dedicated color to honor domestic violence awareness month.

In October 1987, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence observed the first nationwide Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This year, members of the 56th Medical Operation Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., continue to educate the public on domestic violence and the social stigmas associated with it, by placing awareness ribbons on a purple tree symbolizing domestic violence awareness located near the elevator lobby.

“The purpose of the awareness pot is to help Thunderbolts understand the reality of domestic violence in the community and military,” said Jim Yang-Hellewell, 56th Medical Operation Squadron family advocacy outreach manager. “If we keep the issue in front of us and out of the darkness, there is great potential for the problem to be normalized in conversations, making the topic more comfortable to talk about.”

A banner and information tables on where to get assistance with as well as information on what healthy families look like is also on display. A literature handout is planned for Oct. 26, to give more insight to fellow Thunderbolts.

“Historically it’s believed that silence hides domestic violence,” said Kassandra King, 56th MDOS domestic abuse victim advocate. “For every four women, one is subject to domestic violence. More often than not, victims are quiet and hide violence rather than reach out for help. By being proactive and bringing awareness to Thunderbolts and their families, the violence is able to come out of the shadows and into the light.”

The Glendale Police Department joined forces with LAFB to leverage resources on domestic violence issues to provide victims and their families with resources on victim rights, counselling and advocacy.

“Luke’s primary effort is prevention,” Yang-Hellewell said. “We want to prevent it before it happens by educating, training and by bringing awareness so it strengthens families and prevents incidents from happening in the first place.”

For more information on Domestic Violence you can reach Family Advocacy at 623-856-3417.

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