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October 26, 2012

News

Military works to prevent domestic violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. (American Forces Press Service) — The Defense Department and each of the services are drawing attention to the plight of domestic violence because of people like Amanda Tenorio, a victim advocate for Army Community Services at Joint Base Henderson Hall, Va., and a domestic violence survivor.

Tenorio was a 28-year-old divorced mother of two when she started dating a man who quickly turned violent with her. In their year-and-a-half relationship, she said, she sustained regular beatings that caused 35 broken bones in her face, a broken hip, ankles and ribs, dislocated knees and brain injuries that put her into a coma.

Tenorio and other domestic violence survivors are speaking out at installations as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a national designation in October to bring violence among couples out of the shadows of their homes and into the help of military Family advocacy programs.

“Educating the community is really important,” Tenorio said in a recent American Forces Press Service (AFPS) interview. “A lot of people know someone in that situation, but they don’t know how to handle it.”

Kathy Robertson, the department’s Family Advocacy Program manager, said the programs, which are on all military installations and include more than 800 clinical social workers, are designed to help couples through problems before they turn violent, but also respond to emergencies that require health care, police and shelter interventions.

“Our whole focus is on treatment and intervention and trying to help both the victim and the abuser,” she told AFPS.
The services are focused on training all leaders, from platoon sergeants to installation commanders, Robertson said, to recognize problems and encourage help before violence occurs.

Military leaders and domestic violence workers worry about increases in domestic violence during what is a volatile time for Americans, Robertson said.

People in stressful situations, whether related to the economic recession, military downsizing, or dealing with the aftermath of combat are at greater risk for violence, she said.

Displays about Domestic Abuse Violence Prevention in the Fort McCoy community are available at McCoy’s, building 1571; the Exchange, building 1538; and the Community Activity Center, building 2000 throughout October.

For more information, call Army Community Service at 608-388-3505.

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