SUBIC BAY, Philippines (NNS) -- Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, USA Women's Soccer goalie Hope Solo, singer Chris Brown, and actor's Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson are all stars in their respective industries, but also have something else in common, they've all committed domestic abuse.
More and more light is being shed on the issue of domestic violence in the media with high profile cases such as these. The Navy, and military in general, is also taking their own stance on stomping out the issue.
"Talking about domestic violence, increasing awareness of signs, and letting people know where they can go for help are all ways to start a change to the culture that says domestic violence is not acceptable; abuse is not acceptable," said Elizabeth Moss, Deployed Resiliency Counselor on board USS Peleliu (LHA 5).
Each year since 1996, October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year's theme is "Relationships Should Be Safe, Respectful and Positive." This theme emphasizes that partners in a healthy relationship demonstrate respect, feel physically and emotionally safe and take care to prevent any troubles when they occur. Relationships take effort but should add enjoyment to life.
"The first step of prevention is acknowledging domestic violence happens," Moss said. "Abuse is never acceptable in a relationship. We don't like to think of our colleague or friend being a victim or offender of domestic violence, but it is happening both in the Navy and in society in general."
Domestic abuse includes acts of violence, domestic violence, or a pattern of behavior resulting in emotional or psychological abuse. It can also include economic control, used to gain or maintain power and control over a current or former spouse, a person whom the abuser shares a child or a current or former intimate partner who has shared a home.
"Domestic violence is not in line with the Navy [core] values but it continues to occur in Navy families," said Moss. "
The stressors that Navy families face do not cause domestic violence but can contribute to it. It also impacts mission readiness.
Child abuse is also considered as domestic violence.
"Domestic violence impacts not only the adults involved but also any children in the home," said Moss. "They are often the silent victims."
The Navy's Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is one of many avenues people have to report domestic abuse, or for someone to talk to prior to abuse occurring.
"Having services to prevent and address this violence is very important," said Moss. "The goal is to make the Sailor and his or her family mission ready and to be able to face the challenges of long separations, frequent moves and being away from their support system.Our willingness to listen and care is often a step towards someone getting help to change the dynamics of the relationship."
Bystander intervention is important in reporting domestic abuse cases. Many cases go unreported each year due to fear of their partner losing their military career, or fear of being found out by their abuser.
"If you see disrespectful or abusive behavior, have the courage to speak up," said Moss. "These situations almost never improve without some outside intervention."
Peleliu is the lead ship in the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, and is conducting joint forces exercises in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.