Domestic violence awareness focus of October

  • Published
  • By Lee Sasse
  • 28th Medical Operations Squadron
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Throughout October, communities across the country will mourn for those whose lives were taken by domestic violence, celebrate the tremendous progress victim advocates have made over the years, and connect with one another to achieve a true sense of unity to help put an end to domestic violence.

Domestic violence comes in many different forms, one of which is intimate partner violence.

In intimate partner violence, abusers use control, rape, power, manipulation, intimidation, verbal and emotional abuse, along with other coercive and violent actions against their partners. Intimate partner violence does not necessarily leave a visible wound or bruise.

One in four women and one in nine men will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. On average, three women are killed every day at the hands of a current or former intimate partner. Each year, intimate partner violence results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men.

While a bad economy does not cause domestic violence, it can make it worse. The economic downturn has had a devastating effect on local programs working to serve survivors of abuse. At the same time, there are fewer options for survivors to escape. According to the 2012 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse survey, more than 80 percent of domestic violence shelters nationwide reported an increase in women seeking help, while the vast majority experienced decreases in funding.

Two organizations in our area provide critical support for domestic violence victims.

One option for abuse victims in Rapid City, S.D., is Working Against Violence, Inc. WAVI is a domestic violence shelter and can be reached at (605) 341-3292 and the crisis line is (605) 341-4808. Another agency is the Crisis Intervention Shelter Service, Inc. CiSS, a shelter located in Sturgis, S.D., can be reached by calling (605) 347-0050.

The Ellsworth Family Advocacy Program provides prevention and intervention to military families who have experienced domestic violence. Domestic abuse victim advocates provide help and support Airmen and their families. The DAVA provides safety planning and risk assessment, information on identified needs (shelter, child care, legal services, medical services, etc.), and can also accompany victims to appointments or court proceedings.

The DAVA is here to empower and support victims of domestic violence. All services are non-clinical, voluntary and free. Confidentiality is maintained unless there is a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of the victim or another person.

Airmen and their families can call the DAVA at (605) 385-3656 during regular duty hours or by calling the 24-hour contact line at (605) 877-3055.

As a way of increasing awareness of services and support available for domestic violence victims, the 28th Medical Operations Squadron will set up information tables and displays at the Exchange from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 15 through 19, and at the base library during the entire month of October.

For more information or to sign up for the next healthy relationship class, call Lee Sasse, 28th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Clinic Family Advocacy Outreach manager, at (605) 385-3486 or visit