HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – October is Domestic Violence Prevention Month. The observance serves to educate individuals, families and communities about the programs and resources available to prevent and report domestic violence and abuse.
The 2019 theme of “Mobilize Help for Healthier Relationships” highlights the role social media and technology play in interpersonal abuse.
“We’re working to bring awareness to an issue that happens mainly behind closed doors,” said Sonju Bucci, installation violence prevention integrator.
Domestic violence takes other forms than just physical. Keeping tabs on a partner with GPS, constant connection through phone calls and messaging can also be abuse, said Bucci.
“When a threat or a comment comes through as a text it can be easy to dismiss it,” she said. “People are using social media in ways that are abusive or right on that line, and we want to help couples be proactive in keeping it from escalating.”
Members of the military community also have certain stressors than can increase the risk of domestic abuse, said Bucci.
“Our members can suffer from anxiousness, aggression, post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries more than the average person,” she said. “With all of that on top of long deployments, our people can be at a higher risk to lose that interpersonal communication and intimacy.”
By partnering with installation agencies such as the Chapel and Family Advocacy, Bucci hopes to decrease the risk of domestic abuse across the community by helping couples and families improve their communication and problem-solving skills.
The Hanscom Chapel will host a “Five Love Languages” course, Oct. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and open to couples and individuals with base access. Attendees are asked to bring their own lunch. To register for “The Five Love Languages,” contact the Chapel at 781-225-5501.
Additionally, a candlelight vigil will take place at Lexington High School, Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. to commemorate victims of domestic violence.
“It may feel like you’re the only one going through domestic abuse, but there are resources to connect and find help for both parties,” said Bucci. “Help is available for everyone, no matter what your situation is.”
For more information on resources related to domestic abuse, contact the Family Advocacy Program at 781-225-6385.