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Show seeks to raise awareness of domestic violence

Performers of “Domestic Violence the Musical?” demonstrate the different forms of domestic violence and what it’s like to be a victim during a show at the post theater Oct. 7. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Performers of “Domestic Violence the Musical?” demonstrate the different forms of domestic violence and what it’s like to be a victim during a show at the post theater Oct. 7. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: October 10, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 10, 2014) -- On average, 24 people fall victim to some form of domestic violence every minute in the United States, which equates to more than 12 million men and women every year.

Fort Rucker is taking the fight against domestic violence head on and making sure that its Soldiers and community members are well informed on the issue.

The installation hosted “Domestic Violence the Musical?” at the post theater Oct. 7-8 as an unconventional way of taking on the often tough-to-talk-about issue of domestic violence.

Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander, was among those in attendance and signed a proclamation that showed the post’s commitment to combating domestic violence.

“We’ve championed a lot of programs here at Fort Rucker, and we’ve broken a lot of new ground to try and make training more interesting – we try new things,” he said after signing the proclamation. “What I want you guys to understand is the gravity of what we’re talking about when it comes to domestic violence.”

One out of every seven females is stalked or has a fear that there is at risk, he said. Additionally, one in five women are subjected to severe physical violence at some point in their life, and one in three women will experience some form of physical violence in their lifetime.

“Look at those numbers – that’s significant,” said McRae. “That’s what we have at stake.”

The Army’s theme for this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month is “Relationships Should be Safe, Respectful and Positive.”

Women aren’t the only ones who fall victim to domestic violence, he emphasized, adding that one in 18 men feel at risk or fear from being stalked, one in seven have been severely beaten by a loved one and one in four have experienced physical abuse at some point.

The point of the musical is to shed light on some of those statistics, and show how domestic violence actually happens and what people need to look out for, said Linda King, who came up with the idea of the musical with her husband, John.

Linda and John lost their 28-year-old daughter, Lisa, to domestic violence after she was beaten to death by her ex-husband.

“We were devastated,” said Linda before the performance. “I didn’t think I knew anyone who was a victim of domestic violence until Lisa got involved with him, and after that my perspective changed and my mission in life changed.

“My husband and I have devoted these last 13 years to helping communities and individuals understand the dangers of staying in unhealthy relationships,” she continued. “As we produced this play, we wanted to make it authentic as to what really happens in relationships, and there’s a lot of mention made about female and male abusers, and we address that in this play.”

The play tells the story of how men and women use domestic violence to abuse both physically and mentally as a way to control their victim, and oftentimes victims find themselves in situations where they believe it’s their own fault or that the abuser can change.

“Maybe you think it will never happen to you, and hopefully it wont, but it may happen to someone you care about,” said Linda. “We want to give you those tools that you need to help you do the research necessary in your community to find out what is there, what you should do and how you can help that loved one.”

“It’s up to all of us. We’ve made a concerted effort with sexual harassment and sexual assault and things like this to make sure that people are not putting up with it,” said McRae. “I know that the vast majority of us do not take part in that type of behavior, but it’s not good enough just to not participate in that sort of behavior. We can’t be bystanders when we know about something – we’ve got to get involved.”

For victims of domestic violence or for anyone who might know someone who is a victim, there is a 24-hour helpline that people can call at 379-7947, and Nicqolle Truitt, victim advocate for Army Community Service. She recommends that people call even if they just have questions.

People should also call the number to report incidents of domestic violence, and when calling to report an issue, there are two options for reporting – restricted and unrestricted.

“If someone is in a situation (where) they feel they are not safe, we would recommend that they first contact the police,” said Truitt. “We promote safety here, so our No. 1 priority is the victim’s safety.

“Also, we are a prevention program, so people should come to us and get any information they can,” she continued. “We have a wonderful resource library, so before a relationship becomes potentially violent, we have a lot of resources in place to help prevent that and we want people to use that.”

For more information, call 255-9636.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/135985/

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