JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
July 9, started as any other day. I woke up, went to work, came home, and logged into Facebook. But little did I know what I was going to witness once I was there.
It was something that always happens to other people, not to me or the people I love. But it was there. My best friend posted it, “family of five found dead in murder suicide.” That evening my friend lost her childhood bestie.
I called her as soon as I saw it and she burst into tears as she told me the story.
She’s a paralegal with a law firm and that evening she received a notice of a shooting in her friend’s neighborhood. She was the first on scene, even before the immediate family was notified.
Her friend was going through a divorce. On the surface, everything seemed amicable between the two. Her husband had moved out, but the two shared custody of their three children. They even made it a point to continue having family dinners every so often. It was after one of those dinners that her husband shot her, their children, and then himself.
What do you say to that?
The oddest part, is no one could have predicted it. There were no signs he was capable of doing it. As far as any of us knew, he never even raised his voice in anger. Yet it happened, and it’s going to happen again. The question now becomes, how do we stop it?
How do we stop it when according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the U.S., 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have experienced severe intimate partner physical violence?
It would be naïve to think we could stop domestic violence completely, but we can start by talking about it.
October is National Domestic Violence Prevention Month. According to Military OneSource, the goal of Domestic Violence Prevention Month is to educate communities, individuals, couples and families about family advocacy program services and other community resources that can help prevent and raise awareness of community responsibility and resources for addressing domestic abuse.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age or rank. To report domestic abuse contact the nearest family advocacy office during normal duty hours. After duty hours, call 911 or a local security forces squadron.
Counseling is also available through Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or an appointment can be made to speak with a mental health professional at the 15th Medical Group at 888-683-2778.