Once a month, Coast Guard Compass will feature “Dear Coast Guard Family,” a column for Coast Guard families by Coast Guard spouse Rachel Conley. Rachel is married to her high school sweetheart, Chief Warrant Officer James Conley, and is the mother of three children. Rachel passionately serves as a Coast Guard Ombudsman and advocate of Coast Guard families. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United States Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year Award.
October is National Domestic Violence Prevention Month, an observance designed to help service members, military spouses and intimate partners build safer relationships and prevent domestic abuse by increasing awareness of patterns of behaviors that are unhealthy and where to seek help and support.
This year’s campaign, “Mobilize Help for Safer Relationships”, focuses on raising awareness regarding domestic abuse through technology, the importance of early detection of technology-facilitated abuse, and seeking help to reduce the risk of serious harm or violence.
Technology can be a wonderful tool for empowerment and connection, but it can also be misused in relationships to control another person. Technology-facilitated abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and posting on social media to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a spouse or partner. It also includes monitoring and stalking behaviors where one partner “keeps tabs” on the other’s location, activities, and communications with friends and family outside of the relationship through apps and malware.
Technology-facilitated abuse can also accompany other forms of domestic abuse, including, but not limited to:
- Physical abuse: hitting, kicking, slapping, shoving, pinching, biting, burning, throwing objects
- Sexual abuse: rape, forcible sodomy, and other unwanted indecent contact that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful (to include unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact), or attempts to commit these acts; demanding sex; sexual coercion, including through pressure, guilt, or shame
- Emotional abuse: yelling, name-calling, threats, isolation, blaming, shaming, intimation, or obsessive behavior such as extreme jealousy, dominance and rage
- Neglect, economic control and/or interference with personal liberty: withholding basic needs (i.e., food, clothes, medication, and shelter), withholding money, sabotaging someone’s job
Everyone deserves to be healthy and safe in their relationships. If you are the victim of intimate partner abuse or need help with feeling safe online and in your relationship, contact your servicing Work-Life Field Office at 1-800-872-4957. A Family Advocacy Specialist is available to offer support, counseling, safety planning and resources.
To learn more about eligibly, confidentiality, and reporting options, please visit the Family Advocacy Program website.
Additional Domestic Violence Resources:
- Call 911 if you feel that someone is in immediate danger of hurting themselves or others.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides access to highly-trained advocates 24/7/365 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship: 1-800-799-7233 or chat at www.thehotline.org
Resources to build, maintain, or strengthen relationships:
- CG SUPRT provides assessment and short-term counseling for a wide range of issues such as stress, communication, family problems, relationships, parenting, anxiety, depression, work-related concerns, alcohol, substance abuse, as well as other issues that may be impacting your well-being. Counseling sessions are available in-person as well as via telephone, video and chat. Services can be requested by calling 855-CG SUPRT (247-8778) or by visiting http://www.CGSUPRT.com (select “My CG SUPRT Site” and enter “USCG” as the password).
- Chaplains are available to provide confidential counseling and professional referrals. To contact your Chaplain, please call 1-855-USCG-CHC (872-4242) or visit this website for contact information.