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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Okinawa begins Friday with the signing of a proclamation by Brig. Gen. James Flock, commander of Marine Corps bases on Okinawa, followed by a 5K Run/Walk event Saturday on Kadena Air Base sponsored by the Joint Services Family Shelter.

Sponsors of the 5K Run/Walk say they hope it will become an annual event. To be held at O’Connor Gym, it will start with a 7 a.m. opening ceremony. The 5K Run/Walk will begin at 8 a.m. and continue until 11 a.m.

The event is free. People wanting to take part can call 634-7221 to register in advance. They also can register on site the day of the event, beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Also planned for the awareness month is the naming of a Volunteer Victim Advocate of the Year. The advocate, to be chosen by the Marine Corps Community Services Counseling and Advocacy Program, will be recognized at an appreciation reception. The reception will be held at the MCCS Personnel Services Center, although the date hasn’t been set.

Counselors in the military family advocacy programs say domestic violence is a community problem and “finding solutions depends on community involvement,” according to an MCCS release.

“Effective domestic violence prevention programs in the military succeed because of partnerships created among the family advocacy programs, social service agencies, schools, religious organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community,” the release stated.

The services sponsor a family shelter on Okinawa for victims of abuse. It is one of only two such shelters in the military, said Capt. Samantha Blanchard, director of Kadena’s Family Support Center. The other is in Hawaii.

Last year, the shelter was occupied for 140 days by someone from a military family needing refuge from an abusive home environment.

For additional information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, or for personal or family counseling services, contact your local counseling and advocacy program at:

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