Domestic violence support available at Yokota
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- One in four women will experience some sort of domestic violence in their lifetime according to safehorizon.org, the largest organization helping victims of crime and abuse in the U.S.
Domestic violence is described as the physical, emotional, sexual abuse and/or neglect that happen within a relationship. These relationships can exist between individuals who are married, dating, divorced or those that share a child.
"Domestic violence used to be something that people didn't want to talk about," said SueAnn Denson, Yokota's Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate. "But people are becoming more comfortable talking about it and getting help for it because of their awareness."
Someone may wonder how someone could abuse another person.
"Abusers typically, although not all the time, learn things in their childhood. They may have grown up in a culture where men don't respect women, or one of their parents was abusive to the other," Denson said. "A big one that we also see is substances can also play a role in violent behavior because a person who is intoxicated is less likely to be able to control their impulses."
In fact, alcohol has been involved in nearly 1/3 of all Pacific Air Force's reported domestic violence cases in 2014.
Domestic violence is typically not a one-time incident.
"Typically, abuse does not start at the beginning of relationships and instead develops overtime," Denson said. "The abusers behavior slowly progresses overtime, usually starting with verbal abuse and emotional abuse and eventually leads to physical abuse."
Domestic violence can be broken down into four stages known as the cycle of abuse: Tension building, incident, making up and calm stage. During the tension building stage, abusers show signs of anger and the victim may feel like they need to walk on eggshells to keep the abuser calm. Then the incident of abuse happens. Following the abuse, the abuser may apologize for the incident; blame the victim for causing the abuse or promise it won't happen again in the making up stage. In the calm stage the abuser may give gifts to the victim or live up to their promises, offering hope to the victim.
Denson said as you are in the relationship longer, you may start to skip some of the steps, going from the tension stage to the abuse and skip the period of calm and go straight back to the tension again.
The signs of domestic violence are not always visible. The abuser may withhold excessive amounts of money, food, access to cars or access to jobs. Physical abuse signs also may not show.
"As abusers get more savvy they increasingly find ways to hide the abuse. They may learn to hit in places where you won't necessarily see the bruises," Denson said. "They also tend to isolate their victims from their friends and family."
For those in an abusive relationship, help is available.
"Abusers rarely stop abusing without intervention, so victims will need the help to make it stop," Denson added.
Victims that call family advocacy, depending on the situation, also have the option to give restricted or unrestricted reports so they can get the help they need.
"An adult victim can call and file a restricted report so they can still get the counseling and medical treatment without getting the command involved," Denson said. "However, if the abuse involves a child, elderly person or someone with special needs, those can only be unrestricted reports."
Emergency situations should be reported to security forces by calling 911. Support is also available through Family Advocacy at 225-3649 or DAVA at 226-5797.
Doctors, chaplains and leadership can also be informed of the situation to provide assistance. Any American living overseas can also call 1-866-US-WOMEN.