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MCLB-Albany kicks off Domestic Violence Awareness Month

From left, Silke Deeley, executive director of the Liberty House, speaks at a domestic violence awareness program at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany on Tuesday as Col. Don Davis, commanding officer of the base, MCLB-Albany Public Affairs Officer Capt. Justin Jacobs and Brenda Ray, prevention and education coordinator for Marine and Family Services look on. The program was held in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

From left, Silke Deeley, executive director of the Liberty House, speaks at a domestic violence awareness program at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany on Tuesday as Col. Don Davis, commanding officer of the base, MCLB-Albany Public Affairs Officer Capt. Justin Jacobs and Brenda Ray, prevention and education coordinator for Marine and Family Services look on. The program was held in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

MCLB-ALBANY — When trying to fight for the nation’s freedom, often times the first step is to make sure there is not a battleground at home.

Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany hosted its annual domestic violence awareness program and motorcycle ride on the base outside the installation’s Town and Country restaurant on Tuesday.

After the motorcyclists, consisting of Marines and civilians, pulled up in front of the restaurant, the program kicked off with a segment of the “Mission:Impossible” theme playing on the sound system.

“Some would conclude that our mission is a Mission:Impossible,” said Brenda Ray, prevention and education coordinator for Marine and Family Services at MCLB-Albany. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to prevent domestic violence from happening. Domestic violence crushes and destroys confidence and self-esteem, which are key to a person’s chance for success.

“We are all challenged to call (domestic violence) to an end.”

Silke Deeley, executive director of Liberty House, was the guest speaker at the event. She noted that domestic violence is likely to blame for a number of society’s problems, including increased health care costs and lost productivity.

“One incident of domestic violence can create a cycle that is difficult to overcome, not just for the victim, but for the entire family,” she said.

Liberty House, established in 1981, is a non-profit agency in Dougherty County that aims to raise awareness on domestic violence as well as provide comprehensive services for victims, their children, families and friends while also providing referral information to perpetrators of domestic violence.

Since January, there have been 170 women and children who have been sheltered by Liberty House, Deeley said. At the same time, there have been 705 non-residential cases the agency has encountered within its 17-county service area, 21 of which have involved male victims.

Last month alone, there were 164 domestic violence calls that came in to area law enforcement agencies, Deeley said.

Deeley also spoke of the importance of continuing to punish the crime while also increasing awareness of the problem so signals can be more easily recognized.

“As advocates, we face the reality of domestic violence on a daily basis, but we have hope … hope that with education (victims) can overcome their circumstances,” she said.

The program moved forward with a Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation, which was read by Capt. Justin Jacobs, public affairs officer at MCLB, and signed by Col. Don Davis, commanding officer of the base.

Officials at the base say the significance of the Marine Corps recognizing the issue falls squarely within its mission to defend the defenseless.

“Our goal is for Marines to be ready,” said Stephanie Davidson, family advocacy program manager at MCLB. “When there is instability at home, they can’t concentrate on their mission. It is important to decrease violence and increase health.”

Statistics from the Georgia Commission on Family Violence show there were 65,788 crisis calls made to the state’s certified domestic violence agencies last year. The same source also shows that, from 2003-2012, at least 1,200 Georgia citizens lost their lives due to domestic violence.