USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (NNS) -- As the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is underway to maintain mission readiness, it is important to remember that mission readiness begins at home.
October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month throughout the Navy.
Domestic Violence not only affects Sailors home life, it can also have a direct impact on a command's mission readiness.
"The emotional and physical wellbeing of families will be severely affected," said Lt. Julia Hardy-Carr, medical administrative officer for USS Theodore Roosevelt's Medical department. "Statistics show that if male children witness domestic violence from their father they are more likely to be the cause of domestic violence later on in life, and the same is to be said about young girls and their mothers. They associate with their parents; it's an 'I see, I do' mentality."
According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, men and women strike the first blow at approximately equal rates and nearly three out of four Americans know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Additionally, $5.8 billion is spent every year on mental health, physical health and lost productivity as a result of domestic violence.
"I wouldn't say it's a problem specifically with the Navy or even the military as a whole, but instead a problem in general," said Hardy-Carr. "Jobs create stress. The military is no different in that aspect, but the programs we have in place to help prevent and resolve domestic violence is leading to people feeling more comfortable speaking out."
Domestic violence has no prejudice against who it affects so it's important that every person in the Navy understands the ramifications domestic violence has on their personal and professional lives, said Culinary Specialist Seaman Greg White, a Sailor aboard Theodore Roosevelt.
"Deployments, finances and job security especially with this government shutdown and sequestration going on, are a huge stress factor for me," said White. "I know that all that stress takes its toll on me unless I find some way to unwind and I think that's where domestic violence starts, not being able to find a way to deal with day to day stress."
There are many avenues victims can take to get help. Theodore Roosevelt's Family Advocacy Program (FAP) representative acts as a liaison between the Fleet and Family Service Center (FFCS), which provides counseling and medical assistance to victims. A chaplain is always available for counseling and Military One Source offers domestic violence hotlines.
"The first step is to know yourself, your limits and your boundaries," said Hardy-Carr. "Second thing is to seek help, know where to go whether it's your chain of command, a chaplain, command psychologist or fleet and family to attend the multitude of great classes they offer."
Victims are not the only ones who can report domestic violence. Early intervention can be achieved by encouraging offenders and potential offenders to seek assistance. Through the use of Navy provided resources such as FAP, Fleet and Family Service Centers or your chain of command Sailors and civilians alike have all necessary tools to help eliminate domestic violence from our Navy and our lives.
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