Reach out for help, admit struggles to prevent domestic violence - Camp Lejeune Globe: Raising Healthy Minds

Reach out for help, admit struggles to prevent domestic violence

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2018 12:00 am

October is Domestic Violence Prevention Month. Few things are as detrimental to your mental health as exposure to violence. Whether it be physical or psychological, it is traumatic. I want to dedicate two editions of “Raising Healthy Minds” to shed light on this tragic topic.

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of 2010, 36 percent of women ages 18 to 59 experienced intimate partner violence (IPV). 28.4 percent of active-duty women and 24 percent of military spouses experienced IPV. This significant figure makes it likely you have or will meet a woman who has been in the crosshairs of domestic abuse.

“The military lifestyle can add a lot of stress to couples,” said Jill Campbell, Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Lejeune-New River Family Advocacy Program (FAP) prevention and education specialist. “The long hours and fluctuating schedule can make planning time together difficult and cause couples to drift.”

Additional difficulties include periods of separation, and the readjustment of coming home from deployments. Such circumstances can cut off lines of communication for military couples and strain relations.

“Often we see military spouses who have been isolated,” said David Phillips, MCCS FAP prevention and education specialist. “There are a number of reasons this happens, but it results in the spouses not knowing of available resources that can help the couple strengthen their relationship or help her if IPV is happening.”

The FAP sees a multitude of Marine couples who are struggling with a variety of issues. Their goal is to provide empirically-supported courses that teach healthy ways to manage conflict and communicate.

“We see poor coping skills and violence on both sides,” said Deborah Burns, MCCS FAP prevention and education clinical supervisor. “Both parties have to recognize that what they are doing is not normal or healthy. We then step in to teach them what is.”

According to Burns, additional risk factors for IPV include younger age, lack of emotional regulation and abuse of alcohol. Couples possessing any of these factors should be aware and seek assistance.

“Isolation makes issues worse,” said Burns. There is a variety of places for couples and individuals to go to receive counseling and mental health service.

Burns and the other staff of the FAP encourage couples that conflict can be healthy, just to learn how do it correctly and constructively.

“There are going to be disagreements and bumps in the road,” said Dr. Gayloyce Willis, MCCS prevention and education specialist. “You can’t control everything that is going to happen, but you can control behavior. The objective is to recognize your differences, reach a balanced middle ground, set and reach realistic expectations of each other.”

For more information on local resources for IPV, visit The MCB Camp Lejeune domestic violence hotline is 376-5675 and the Marine Corps Air Station New River domestic violence hotline is 376-2155.

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