FORT BENNING, Ga. (WRBL) – The Family Advocacy Program on post at Fort Benning is spreading awareness about domestic violence ahead of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
According to Patricia Cunningham, a Victim Advocate Coordinator with the Family Advocacy Program, domestic violence goes farther that just physical abuse, it also includes emotional abuse, medical neglect, psychological abuse and sexual abuse.
“There’s help, there’s always help out there, we want them to know all about the services that we have and that we offer on the installation. We have a phone number that they can call if they have questions or concerns about domestic violence. A lot of people don’t understand what domestic violence really is and they are victims but they don’t understand that they are victims of domestic violence,” said Cunningham.
The Family Advocacy Program on post provides several services for victims of abuse like referrals to agencies on and off post and the ability to make restricted and unrestricted reports.
Restricted reports allow victims to seek medical treatment, advocacy and counseling without alerting officials or their chain of command. Unrestricted reports allow victims to seek the same treatments but it would also launch an investigation with officials. Victims are allowed to seek either report unless there is child abuse or neglect involved and then they must seek an unrestricted report and officials will be notified. If the abuse also poses life threatening injuries to the victim, an unrestricted report must be filed.
Victims may also seek any home resources they may need at the program. There is food available upon request and other items.
Cunningham said men are often less likely to seek help for domestic violence but she wants them to know there are resources available so they don’t have to suffer in silence.
The program will also have guest speaker, Clint Malarchuck, to discuss his experience with addiction and domestic violence and his family’s experience on Wednesday. Malarchuck is a former professional hockey player who was injured while playing and developed an opioid addiction. His speech will be centered around resiliency, recovery, moving on.
Oskar Schlomer, a Specialist at the Family Advocacy Program, said he hopes attendees take away resiliency and the power of seeking resources from Malarchuck’s speech.
“Reaching out, getting help, don’t be reclusive, don’t close down on yourself, don’t try to self-medicate; all these are things that can lead to negative things,” said Schlomer.
Schlomer said the Malarchuck’s presentation is open to the public and will take place at Mcginnis Wickam Hall on post at 10 a.m. and then again at 1:30 p.m.
The Family Advocacy Program can be reached at 706-544-SAFE (7233) and via their website.