Fort McCoy News Oct. 9, 2015

Shirt display promotes domestic-violence awareness

STORY & PHOTO BY AIMEE MALONE
Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy community members hung miniature paper T-shirts in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month during October.
The Fort McCoy Family Advocacy Program sponsored The Clothesline Project, a visual display that symbolizes domestic violence in the community. The display will be visible throughout the month of October at McCoy's Community Club, building 1571.

The Clothesline Project's purpose is to bear witness to the survivors and victims of domestic violence, help the healing process of those touched by domestic violence, educate and raise awareness, and provide a network of support and encouragement.
Fort McCoy youth enrolled in Child, Youth & School Services programs decorated the initial batch of paper shirts.

Family Advocacy Program Manager Carrie Olson said she asked older youth, who already have a good idea of what healthy relationships should be like, to demonstrate their ideas on the shirts.

Photo
Carrie Olson, Family Advocacy Program manager, hangs decorated paper
T-shirts for The Clothesline Project at McCoy's Community Club, building
1571. The Clothesline Project is a visual display that bears witness to the
survivors and victims of domestic violence, helps the healing process of
those touched by domestic violence, educates and raises awareness, and provides a network of support and encouragement. The display will remain
at McCoy's throughout October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness
Month.

"The Clothesline Project is our way of (promoting) respect for healthy Families," Olson said.

Additional shirts and decorating materials are available near the display for those who wish to decorate their own. Olson said people are encouraged to decorate shirts in any way that supports domestic-violence awareness, whether with their own ideas of healthy relationships, in remembrance of victims, or support of survivors of domestic violence.

Olson said purple-ribbon yard signs will be placed on Fort McCoy property and in Sparta. "It's very important to us, … since we have so many military Families who live out in town, both in Sparta and Tomah. We need to let people know (about) the resources available for our Families."

The Family Advocacy Program is designed to improve relationship skills, intervene, educate Family members, and help prevent Family violence. Offered services include Family education, new-parent support resources, and victim advocacy. The program can be used by military Families and civilian employees.

Olson said the Fort McCoy Family Advocacy Program partners with Brighter Tomorrows, a Monroe County organization that works to reduce domestic violence and sexual assault. Brighter Tomorrows offers a 24-hour crisis line, crisis intervention, support groups, community education, and more. All services are free and confidential. For more about the program, call 608-269-7853 for the Sparta office or 608-374-6975 for the Tomah office.

"A lot of people don't know that we offer all these services here at ACS," Olson said.

Preventing domestic violence is important, and Olson said the Family Advocacy Program has many methods to aid prevention. ACS offers classes on domestic-violence awareness, parenting, Family resiliency, finances, and strengthening marriages — all of which can help prevent domestic violence.

Olson also stressed the availability of parenting classes at ACS. Classes help parents cope with the added stressors that are common in military Families, including deployments and having children at a young age. She said ACS also offers "welcome baby" tote bags that are filled with supplies and books for expectant or new military parents.

ACS also has a well-stocked Lending Library. Materials are available in a variety of formats, including books and DVDs, for all ages on a wide range of topics, such as domestic violence, relationships, finances, and coping with change.

If Families are looking for a particular program or service, ACS always is open to suggestions, Olson said.

For more information about the Family Advocacy Program, call 608-388-2412. For more information about ACS, call 608-388-3505.