10/03/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2023 01:01
CAMP ZAMA, Japan - U.S. Army Garrison Japan hosted a Domestic Violence Awareness Month ceremony Monday to send a clear message to the community: Those experiencing abuse in a relationship do not have to face it alone.
USAG Japan Commander Col. Marcus Hunter, Deputy to the Garrison Commander Jenifer Peterson, and USAG Japan Command Sgt. Maj. David Rio, along with other leaders and community members, gathered in the garrison headquarters building to announce this year's "United Against Domestic Abuse" campaign.
Brittany Franklin, USAG Japan's acting Army Community Service director and Family Advocacy Program manager, opened the event by explaining that people are the military's greatest strength in the battle against domestic violence.
"If we refuse to be silenced, we can break the cycle of domestic violence," she said. "There is still so much work that needs to be done, and it will take all of us to break the silence. I ask that each of us take a stance and rededicate ourselves to creating a military community where domestic violence is not tolerated."
As part of the ceremony, Hunter read the Domestic Violence Month proclamation to those present.
"This awareness campaign engages the Army community in preventing domestic violence by supporting their colleagues, neighbors and friends and utilizing resources, and by creating partnerships among leadership, social service agencies, schools, faith-based communities, civic organizations and law enforcement agencies to address domestic violence," Hunter read.
Before he and Rio signed the proclamation, Hunter called on the entire community to "increase their participation in our efforts to prevent domestic violence, thereby strengthening the Army community."
Sadly, one in three women and one in four men will experience some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. And statistics show that domestic violence is prevalent in every community, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality.
Maiki Mayhew, an ACS employee, read a domestic abuse survivor's story to help illustrate the issue, and to better explain that both men and women can be victims.
Jennifer Luera, a Family Advocacy Program Specialist, helped explain the roots of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
She said the month evolved from the Day of Unity that the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence first observed in 1981. The Day of Unity was meant to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children, she said.
The Day of Unity eventually grew to a weeklong observance, with local, state and national officials focusing on mourning those lost as a result of domestic violence, celebrating the survivors, and connecting those who work to end the issue.
Luera explained that the first monthlong observance took place in 1987, and said it remains crucially important today.
"We all have an important role in preventing [domestic violence], as well as honoring the victims and supporting the survivors," Luera said.
Luera announced multiple events that will occur during the month and encouraged community members to get involved, starting by wearing purple clothing each Friday of the month to help raise awareness.
Other events include a couples' game night Oct. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Youth Center on Camp Zama; a "Strike Out Domestic Violence" bowling event and pin-decorating contest Oct. 13 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Camp Zama Bowling Alley; and a purple pumpkin decorating contest Oct. 20 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Army Community Service, Bldg. 402, on Camp Zama. Additionally, every Wednesday during October the Family Advocacy team will conduct outreach at various Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area businesses.
During his final remarks, Hunter again stressed the need for everyone to understand that there are resources available to help battle domestic violence, to include a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week hotline available at 080-5968-3188.
"There are a lot of things that can be done to assist those in need of help," Hunter said. "And it's OK if you don't know exactly what that action is, but you must know there is somebody who can help and how to connect with them."