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Fort Riley community comes together to end domestic violence

By Season Osterfeld | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | October 13, 2017

     “Domestic violence is preventable,” said Toiane Taylor, Family Advocacy Program manager during a proclamation signing observing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the Fort Riley Town Hall Oct. 3 at Riley’s Conference Center.

     Recognized each October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is about teaching the community about the signs of and resources for domestic violence.

     “Domestic Violence Awareness Month is recognized October of each year,” reads the proclamation signed by Col. John D. Lawrence, Fort Riley garrison commander, and Maj. Gen. Joseph M. Martin, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commander general. “Our goal is to raise awareness of the warning signs of relationship abuse and help individuals and couples address problems early. No one deserves to be abused and anyone can suffer. Any time an Army Family member suffers from abuse, we fall short of our goals for readiness.”

      This year’s motto is “See the Signs, avoid the hazards, address the problem early.”

     Personnel of the FAP at Army Community Service lead the way in providing services and education about domestic violence at Fort Riley. Taylor said she and other FAP staff want to partner with Soldiers, family members, retirees, Department of Army Civilians and contractors to put an end to domestic violence within the Fort Riley community.

     “Everyone plays a role in upholding the Army values and standards that support safe, healthy relationships in the military community,” she said. “Without every one of us doing our part, we cannot say our Army is fully ready to meet the mission of preventing domestic violence.”

      Despite resources, domestic violence at Fort Riley does exist, Martin said.

      “As the senior commander, I see everything — especially everything that’s not going well, everything that’s bad. And I can tell you, we’ve got a problem at Fort Riley, Kansas, with domestic violence,” he said. “I’m a transparent kind of guy — what you see is what you get — I can’t attribute it to deployments, post deployments, end of deployments, but we have a problem.”

      Martin said he does not believe anyone goes into a relationship intending to abuse or be abused. With that belief in mind, he said everyone should be a part of ensuring help is available in someone’s time of need. He added this is a 12-month program because it should be in practice year-long, every year.

     “This is about communities that care,” Martin said. “It’s about chains of command that are looking for indicators well before it comes to the point that someone is raising their hand to strike somebody else and it goes both ways. In fact, I’d argue we have about just as many cases where the spouse is striking the Soldier. We’ve got some problems, and so, this month is important for us to be aware of the hazards, to better educate ourselves, focus some effort on this, but this is a 12-month program.”

      Domestic Violence Awareness Month is about treating people with the dignity and respect they deserve, he said.

      “It is so much more than signing a proclamation … it takes a community to help with this,” Martin said.

       Anyone in a domestic violence situation can contact the Family Advocacy Program at 785-239-9435 or visit them at 7264 Normandy Drive. Military OneSource at www.militaryonesource.mil also has online resources and counseling services.