Campaign stresses education, command commitment

| October 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Miss Diamond Head Hawaii USA Letty Fierro shares her experiences with domestic violence during the 2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation signing ceremony at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Sept. 29, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Story and photos by
Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Two years ago, Letty Fierro spent her 25th birthday in an emergency room recovering from injuries received by a man she thought she could change.

Fierro was the guest speaker at the 2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation signing ceremony at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, here, Sept. 29.

While dating an abusive man with a cocaine addiction, Fierro’s work and overall health suffered. When she decided to leave, he soon asked to reconcile, assuring her things “would be different.”

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A display featuring Tyran Vesperas-Saniatan, a domestic violence victim sits open for guests to view at the 2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation signing ceremony at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Sept. 29, 2017. Col. Trevor J. Walker, the division deputy commander of interoperability for the 25th Infantry Division, signed the proclamation on behalf of Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, 25th ID commanding general. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Rekindling the relationship only led Fierro to the emergency room yet again, this time for a 10-hour emergency facial reconstructive surgery. She had 14 screws and three metal plates put into her jaw, and she had her jaw wired shut for three months.

“I can remember asking myself if this was the man I fell in love with,” she said. “I lived in constant fear during the times he was high on drugs.”

Each year, domestic violence cases like Fierro’s emerge, and each October, officials educate the community about the issue. The theme of DVAM this year is “See the signs; avoid the hazards. Address problems early.”

Instruction
Dr. Hank Cashen, the director of Army Community Service, said the idea is to teach leaders and community members the signs of domestic violence. Signs can include a person checking their significant other’s phone or email, or acting negatively toward them in a public setting.

Signs of a person in an abusive relationship can include not coming to social events, missing work or giving implausible answers when questioned about visible injuries.

Leadership
The first event of DVAM was early Sept. 29 at Weyand Field. Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division sponsored the 5th Annual DVAM 5K Run/Walk. Information tables, classes and an activity are also set up during the month of October. New this year is a self-defense class, which both men and women are welcome to attend.

Maj. Mark Wesseler, the chief of the Family Advocacy Program at Tripler Army Medical Center, shared statistics about domestic violence with the crowd. He mentioned that Hawaii domestic violence programs served 575 victims in one day. Last year, there were 3,315 domestic violence incidents involving Army spouses.

Wesseler asked for the crowd to give a moment of silence as a chime went off every nine seconds, representing the average frequency of female abuse. Males are abused every 37 seconds.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Guests at the 2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation signing ceremony pose for a photo at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Sept. 29, 2017. Miss Diamond Head Hawaii USA Letty Fierro (left of proclamation) is a survivor of domestic violence. Col. Trevor J. Walker, the division deputy commander of interoperability for the 25th Infantry Division, signed the proclamation on behalf of Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, 25th ID commanding general. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Col. Trevor J. Walker, the division deputy commander of interoperability for the 25th ID, signed several copies of the 2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation on behalf of Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, 25th ID commanding general.

Walker, a native of New Zealand, said his country also addresses the issue of domestic violence annually by observing White Ribbon Day on Nov. 25. He thanked Fierro for sharing her story, and encouraged everyone to respect and support each other.

“I ask that you don’t misplace pride or fear of embarrassment to stop you from demonstrating loyalty to your brothers, to your sisters and community,” Walker said. “Speak out as required.”

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Col. Trevor J. Walker, the division deputy commander of interoperability for the 25th Infantry Division, speaks during the 2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation signing ceremony at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Sept. 29, 2017. Walker signed the proclamation on behalf of Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, 25th ID commanding general. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

ACS victim advocacy
Shelly Cabrera, the victim advocate coordinator at ACS, said victim advocates are available as well as a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Safe Line. Soldiers or family members can get help whether they are currently experiencing an emergency or are trying to get more information.
Since her recovery, Fierro has gone on to become a model and Miss Diamond Head Hawaii USA, and she will be competing in the 2018 Miss Hawaii USA pageant on Nov. 19. Though she has forgiven her abuser, Fierro still has hefty medical bills, a paralyzed lower lip and is attempting to mend broken friendships.

“Today, I’m a survivor; I’m no longer a victim,” Fierro said. “If you can help somebody, please do. Don’t give up on them and do not give up on yourself. Lastly, I ask you to love yourself and to value your life. You are important and remember that you are not alone.”

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Resource tables will be available during the month of October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The 2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation signing ceremony was held at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Sept. 29, 2017. Col. Trevor J. Walker, the division deputy commander of interoperability for the 25th Infantry Division, signed the proclamation on behalf of Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, 25th ID commanding general. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Activities and Events
•A Self Defense Class, sponsored by 25th Infantry Division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 20, at Martinez Physical Fitness Center. First session is at 9 a.m., and the second session is at 1 p.m.
•The 14-Day Facebook Couples Challenge is scheduled from Oct. 10 to 23. To participate, “like” and “share” the ACS Hawaii Facebook page and search for the event under the Events tab. Register by today, Oct. 6 and pick up packets at ACS. Call 655-0533.
•Couples Communication class is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Army Community Service. To register, call (808) 655-4ACS (4227).

Outreach Tables
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 25th Sustainment Bistro DFAC, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 12, National Night Out, Aliamanu Military Reservation Community Center, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 13, Schofield Barracks Commissary, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 16, Helemano Military Reservation Physical Fitness Center, from 6 to 8 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 18, Sgt. Yano Library, Schofield Barracks, 10 to 11 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 20, Martinez Physical Fitness Center at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 24, Fort Shafter PX, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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Category: Community, Health

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