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Domestic abuse prevention up to everyone

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- No one should have their freedom taken away by an intimate partner. Unfortunately, domestic abuse happens, even among Air Force families, and Shirley Crow, Family Advocacy Program domestic abuse victim advocate, is here to help.

Often times, Crow said, people think of domestic abuse as physical abuse, but it goes far beyond hitting and shoving. "It could be emotional, not telling somebody where you're going, or withholding affection and isolating somebody. It could be verbal. It could be financial, withholding money or controlling money. It can be sexual," she said.

To support victims of abuse, the DAVA has a crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 244-9903. The DAVA's main priority is to support victims, ensure they and any children are in a safe place, and inform them of the choices they have.

Every nine seconds in America a woman is beaten, Crow said. And three die each day from domestic abuse.

The first goal of the DAVA is prevention. The FAP offers many programs to help Airmen and their families manage the stress of different life chapters, including "How to Not Marry a Jerk or Jerkette," and a boot camp for new dads.

Part of prevention, Crow said, is using the bystander intervention training from sexual assault prevention and applying it to domestic abuse. "Sometimes we get so busy with our lives, and we try to mind our own business," she said. But there are certain things everyone should report if they notice in a co-worker, friend or family member.

The obvious things are bruises or marks that don't seem right, but there are other signs to watch for, also. "Whenever you're aware that somebody is afraid, if they're afraid to be late, they're afraid of not doing something right, they're walking on eggshells, if there are things that don't look to be loving and supportive, it's better to turn that in and find out it's alright," Crow said.

Crow is available to meet individuals who would like help privately, off base, to discuss even hypothetical situations. "Once I get involved with a victim, I try to help them understand that they have been a victim, they have been abused, and even that they have a right to defend themselves," she said.

In cases where there are children at home, everything, no matter how small, should be reported, Crow said. "It is emotionally abusing for children to see and hear what's going on with their parents."

Boys who witness domestic abuse are more likely to become an abuser as an adult, and girls are more likely to accept that kind of behavior from future partners.

Outreach and prevention education is available through the DAVA. Everyone is encouraged to be active in preventing domestic abuse by contacting the DAVA at any time.

The DAVA can be reached during duty hours at 556-8571 or outside normal business hours at 244-9903.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui