Strike out domestic violence – Domestic Violence Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By Cynthia Wyatt
  • Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

As many of us feared during the COVID-19 lockdown, domestic violence appeared to temporarily go underground, while increasing at unprecedented levels globally. In a 2021 report, the United Nations called the phenomenon a “shadow pandemic.”

Violence against women increased 25-33% around the world, right alongside the virus. The U.S. statistics increased by a little over 8%, but those numbers leave room for doubt, since we already recognize that many people do not report their abuse.

While most people agree that the lockdown was necessary to protect public health, there were “collateral and unintended impacts” according to Harvard professor, Marianna Yang. Many of the risk factors for domestic violence were exacerbated: financial stressors due to loss of employment or decreased hours; lack of access to family members, friends, and other resources; too much togetherness without the usual outlets such as going to the gym or going out generally; less “eyes” on victims to observe injuries and ask questions; and difficulty getting before a mental health provider, advocate, or judge for support or protective orders.

Prevention and awareness about domestic violence is needed more than ever – post-COVID.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Family Advocacy Program kicked off the month with a Bowling Tournament with the following motto: “the community that plays together, stays together - united to strike out domestic violence.”

Why bowling? Because we have come to recognize that having a strong community that plays together and reduces isolation can potentially provide a protective factor for families. Domestic and intimate partner violence can occur in families regardless of socioeconomic status, rank, gender, and racial/ethnic makeup.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sevin Balkuvvar Smith, Space Base Delta 1 command chief, shared her own experience of frightening violence that occurred in a close extended family member’s first marriage. She made the point that we all need to look out for each other because it can happen in any family.

You can help us raise awareness this month by speaking up about domestic violence, encouraging your teams to get help early to increase their relationship and coping skills, advising parenting classes and anger management classes, and teaching basic time-out skills to them, such as asking for a break from a challenging conversation which has triggered the fight or flight response. Information and classes can be found online with Family Advocacy, Military One Source, or within the community.

Ask for a commander’s call or other on-site training. Be a good friend to others who are in a challenging relationship and be patient with their process unless they, or children, are in immediate danger. If you are a mandatory reporter, don’t be afraid to report as Family Advocacy wants to help people though the intervention process; you could be saving a family.

If you need help as a victim, phone the Domestic Violence Hotline at (719) 291-6625 or FAP at (719) 556-8943. In many cases, you can make a restricted report. The Chaplain Corps offers 100% confidentiality at (719) 556-4442. If you want help managing your anger or improving your parenting relationship, there are many groups offered at Fort Carson through

Help your family or friends seek the services they may need to prevent or treat family violence. We are here to help.