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Pensacola Observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month nationwide. Locally, the City of Pensacola and NAS Pensacola joined forces (Tuesday) in issuing a proclamation and recognize first responders.

Pensacola Fire Station Number-1 hosted the second annual observance, with Fire Chief David Allen greeting the visitors.

“We’re so excited to have everyone here,” said Allen. ”It’s evidenced by those people in the crowd in attendance today, just how important this issue is to the citizens and to the government here in Pensacola.”

They also heard from Sue Hand, the Executive Director of Favor House of Northwest Florida – a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

“Webster’s Dictionary defines success as ‘a favorite course of termination of anything,’” said Hand. “Every time a woman finds the courage to leave her abusive partner and enter our shelter is a success story. Every time a battered woman stands outside a shelter door, returning to the shelter for the third or the fourth time, I have a success story.”

Credit Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media
Pensacola Fire Chief David Allen (L), Mayor Ashton Hayward (C) and NAS Pensacola Commander Capt. Chris Martin (R) sign proclamations for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward told the audience that along with first responders, the survivors of domestic violence are also honored each October.

“We salute their strength and their courage; and we applaud the knowledge, awareness, and action that will help prevent future victimization.”

For far too long, said the Mayor, domestic violence was seen as a lesser offense; but along with the families involved, it also impacts entire communities.

“We know that we must be open to new ideas and new approaches,” Hayward said. “We must learn from each other what has worked, and what has not. We must dare to think differently, and we must value innovation.”

“This month, once again, we are reminded that we can change our culture for the better by standing together against the quiet tolerance of domestic violence; and refusing to accept the unacceptable,” said Capt. Christopher Martin, Commanding Officer of NAS Pensacola.

Reading from the proclamation that was issued, Martin praised civilian first responders for their support and assistance to the military, and for their work on domestic violence cases.

“Contrary to popular belief, physical abuse is not a maladjusted person’s occasional expression of frustration or anger,” Martin said. “Nor is it typically an isolated incident. Physical abuse is a tool of control and oppression, as a choice made by one person in relationship to control of another.”

According to the proclamation, nearly one in three women and one in four men are victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes.

October, says Martin, is a time to inform everyone about the damage that domestic violence causes, both to individuals and to long-term health, productivity, and community safety.

“We must create partnerships among leadership,” said Martin. “Social service agencies; schools, faith-based communities, civic organizations and law enforcement agencies to address domestic violence.”

Warning signs that a relationship could turn abusive can be found at a number of websites, including www.webmd.com. More information on getting help is at www.favorhouse.org.