Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins in October at Maxwell, Gunter

by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs

9/30/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al  -- Domestic violence can be overcome, as those who attend numerous events throughout October will discover.

Whether it is a tribute walk, the words of a domestic violence survivor, a bingo game or a series of educational classes, there will be something for everyone to learn from this year's theme, "Strength, Hope, Faith: We are Survivors."

Taking part in the events and classes can help increase awareness and prevent domestic violence situations, according to Beverly Lesyea, Maxwell's Family Advocacy Program officer.

"People who attend will increase their own awareness of relationship red flags, which may help the individual or a friend because we all have friends we talk to about our lives and relationships," Lesyea said. "If you hear something concerning, you can talk to that person to make sure they're safe and tell them where they can go to get help."

The month's Pink and Purple walk will start everything off 9-10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Hunt Housing walking trail to honor survivors of domestic violence as well as breast cancer, another theme of October.

April Jones, the FAP's outreach manager, was eager to share her organization's part in this month's events and the two-part walk.

"The first walk is going to be symbolic," Jones said. "We'll walk around to certain mile markers on the walking trail where there'll be obstacles like walking backward, hop on one leg, skip or walk sideways."

The second walk will be a declaration of victory as participants quicken their pace and wave pink or purple flags, chanting,"Pink and purple we survived!" until they reach the finish marker.

Bleachers will be available along with Hula-Hoop competitions and a ball toss for prizes. Pink and purple ribbons will be decorated with celebrations of personal survival or inspirational quotes and displayed in the 42nd Medical Group.

In the event of rain, the walk and activities will be moved to the Maxwell Fitness Center's annex track.

Maxwell will hear firsthand Thursday of how a daughter of a Marine became a defiant survivor of multiple domestic violence attacks. Author Tahiera Brown will speak from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Air University Academic Facility and from 2-3:30 p.m. at Gunter's Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

From 1:30-2:30 p.m. Oct. 21-25, the Maxwell Community Library will host prevention education classes focusing on healthy relationships. Each day will highlight a different book as Jones provides summaries and leads group discussions.

Oct. 21 will focus on healing painful relationships, honing in on the destructive cycle of conflict that may arise between spouses or partners.

On Oct. 22 from 3-5 p.m., 42nd Medical Group nurse Gwen Hill will host a 123 Magic Parenting class, important in preventing domestic violence.

"We feel that if you can alleviate any form of parenting stress through age-appropriate discipline then you will probably have better communication and less conflict," Jones said.

Oct. 23's topic will show how to avoid marrying a "jerk or jerkette" through trust, reliance and commitment. Jones will gear the discussion toward those who are single, dating, divorced or widowed.

Oct. 24's marriage principles will cover seven guidelines for a successful marriage, including nurturing admiration and being able to forgive and evaluate life-long dreams.

"We sometimes hear from our customers it is difficult to let go of painful events that occurred earlier in the relationship, maybe even years earlier. Looking at how to solve those solvable problems and being able to forgive and let go is key and will be the focus of the discussion," Jones said.

Oct. 25 will end the week with relationship bingo, Jones' favorite, which will have indicators of healthy or unhealthy relationships.

Family Advocacy Program classes
123 Magic Parenting Class: 3-5 p.m. Oct. 8, 15 and 22 inside the Maxwell Community Library.

Expectant Dad Class: 3-5 p.m. Oct. 9 inside the 42nd Medical Group's mental health office.

Baby and You Orientation: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. inside the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

To register, call 953-5430.