October is "Domestic Violence Awareness" month. Becoming aware of a problem is the first step in resolving it. Our goal at the Family Advocacy office is to enhance base awareness of the often hidden condition of family violence, and to provide services to individuals and families who may be at risk.Gen. John P. Jumper in a memorandum stated, "The men and women of America's Air Force are renowned for exemplifying the highest of values and principles. The vast majority of our personnel live by these standards each and every day. Unfortunately, there are a few among us who, by their unacceptable actions, fail to live up to those standards. Domestic violence is one such example, which has no place in our Air Force and will not be tolerated."What is domestic violence? Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person to exert power over, or to control, the other in a marital, dating or live-in relationship. It occurs in every country, culture and age group. It affects everyone from all socioeconomic, religious and educational backgrounds. So what can be done to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of domestic violence? Prevention is the best medicine! Marital therapy can be a big help in assisting couples to communicate more effectively, and to address issues that may be factors leading to anger and violence. Using a "time-out" when anger starts to escalate is a proven technique in "short-circuiting" an explosive episode. The steps of a time-out are: 1) Give a pre-determined signal when anger starts to escalate, and say, "I'm really getting angry and I need a time-out"; 2) Separate from each other for an hour. Do something physical, but not dangerous, during that hour in order to burn off built up energy; and 3) Meet again after one hour and this time try to focus on the problem or issue and avoid attacking each other. If there are issues in your relationship that frequently lead to anger and aggression, professional help may be required.Preventive education classes are also available to help reduce stress and tension in the home which can eventually lead to aggressive and violent behavior. Some of these programs available at Hill Air Force Base include: New Parent Support Program, parenting classes, marital therapy, couples communication programs, anger management and stress management.Again, quoting Gen. Jumper, "We must be watchful for the signs of domestic violence and act to end this blight on our community. Leaders at all levels are responsible for protecting victims, initiating investigations, assessing criminality and holding offenders accountable. The Family Advocacy Program is the commanders' primary resource to prevent, intervene and treat abusive behavior within Air Force families. I expect commanders to take appropriate action on offenders who commit domestic violence."How can you tell if you are in an abusive relationship? Ending domestic violence begins with recognizing it. Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts, or continually puts down the other person, it's abuse.Does your partner ...____ Embarrass you in front of friends or family, or drive your friends and family away?____ Curse or scream at you, call you names or put you down?____ Use intimidation or threats to get you to do what he/she wants?____ Tell you that you are nothing without them?____ Grab, push, pinch, shove, slap, choke, punch, kick, bite, spank, scratch, burn or restrain you?____ Throw objects or break your possessions?____ Threaten the safety of children or pets?____ Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?____ Behave jealously, accusing you of flirting or cheating?____ Withhold approval, appreciation or affection as punishment?____ Control your access to money and transportation?____ Use alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?____ Blame you for how they feel or act?____ Pressure you sexually for things you don't want to do?Do you...____ Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?____ Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner's behavior?____ Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?____ Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?____ Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?____ Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you left?If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship. Domestic violence doesn't just stop on its own. Call for help today. The Family Advocacy Program is available to help military families prevent and end abuse. If you're experiencing abuse or feel you're at risk, or to report suspected abuse, please call (801)777-3497.For additional information on domestic violence please call the statewide toll free "Hotline" at 1-800-897-LINK, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.