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MCLB rides for awareness

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

MCLB-ALBANY, Ga. -- Those that are charged with fighting battles overseas recently took a step toward helping the community overcome the battles taking place at home.

Officials at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness Month at a ceremony on base Friday morning.

"With all that has been done, there is still a lot to be done," said Brenda Ray, prevention and education coordinator at Marine and Family Services. "The facts of domestic violence speak for themselves."

In the United States, one in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic abuse.

"We have a responsibility to help one another," Ray said.

The guest speaker at the event was Dougherty Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall.

"Any opportunity we get to talk about domestic violence, we should seize it," her address began.

During her remarks, Marshall told the story of a client she had while working as a lawyer in private practice that was eventually killed in a murder-suicide.

"I have invested almost three decades to the fight against domestic violence," the judge said. "It's hard work, but the face of my client from almost three decades ago still resonates with me."

Marshall, who is a new member of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, noted the state is ranked 15th in the nation as it relates to men killing women. Three years ago, the state was ranked 7th.

"I see that as progress, and events such as this (the MCLB-Albany proclamation) make it happen," she said. "I am convinced that the more we know about the epidemic the better we will be. It's through knowledge that we are empowered. We now know if nobody asks about domestic violence, we don't talk about domestic violence. If we (take the numbers seriously) there are victims everywhere. We will always be confronted with deniability; dialogue and awareness changes that.

"Do it for our children, our future, our brothers and sisters and everyone that we care about."

The event included a procession from the MCLB-Albany Rider's Club, which started near the base's main gate and concluded at the site of the event.

"Anytime you can get a group of motorcycles going it gets peoples attention," said Maj. Craig Harvey, president of the Albany Motorcycle Mentorship Program. "(Domestic violence) is clearly a problem, and it's not something talked about too often. This brings it to the forefront."

There were 32 riders participating in Friday's event coming from within the base and throughout the community.

"The only way we are going to be able to solve this problem is to break the silence," said Stephanie Davidson, family advocacy program manager for Marine and Family Services."

The proclamation was read by Public Affairs Officer 1st Lt. Kyle Thomas and signed by Col. Terry Williams, commanding officer of the base.

"Where As, the family is the basic unit of society, a haven of love and respect. Tragically, for many, the peace and safety of family has been replaced with violence, fear, and manipulation," the proclamation read. "... Now Therefore, I do hereby proclaim the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and urge the citizens of Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, to observe this month by becoming aware of the signs of domestic violence, supporting efforts to end it, and actively participating in community outreach programs."

"This is when we try to raise awareness of domestic violence. This is extremely important," Williams said. "It's about doing the right thing. It's an important area we must focus on. Keep it in the forefront not just today, but everyday."

"One case of domestic violence is too many."