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Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins

A U.S. Service member assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., remains anonymous while telling her story of being a victim of domestic violence, at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Oct. 20, 2015. The Service member came forward with her story during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in hopes of encouraging others affected by domestic violence to seek help. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Aubrey White/Released)

(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Aubrey White)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Sherry Dickson, a Family Advocacy Program domestic abuse victim advocate here, said domestic violence is real.

“It can impact Eglin’s families and mission,” she said.

Dickson said domestic violence was already an epidemic before COVID-19.  Challenges in a relationship or a family’s life, due the virus, can lead to difficulty in handling certain situations, which can in turn lead to domestic violence. 

Even when virus-related restrictions are lifted on the base, domestic violence will not end, Dickson said.  Awareness, education and intervention when necessary remain important.

Indicators of an abusive relationship include: feeling afraid to break up with a spouse or partner; using children against a spouse or partner; excusing physical harm; stalking; harming of pets and financial control.

Dickson said there is hope for victims of domestic abuse, and encouraged reaching out for help and support if needed.

“Victims become survivors,” she said.  “They create a whole new life of freedom and happiness that they thought they would otherwise never have.”

A United to Stop Domestic Abuse Virtual 5k run is now through Oct. 31 at 6 p.m.  Registration is free.  Interested participants can register at the link and complete a virtual 5k anytime and anywhere during October.

They can walk, bike, ruck or roll and are asked to wear something purple.

Afterwards, they can post pictures on the Virtual 5k Facebook Event page.  For more information, call 883-9680.

Eglin’s Family Advocacy Program provides support, safety planning and resources to victims of domestic violence.  The program’s staff works with local community organizations to promote domestic violence awareness.  For more information, call 883-9448.

Other options include Eglin’s Domestic Abuse Hotline, (850) 290-7389, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  A domestic abuse victim advocate can be reached there.  Also, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-44-ABUSE, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.