Naples candlelight vigil honors victims of domestic violence
October 26, 2006
NAPLES, Italy — It was easy for Ciana Eison to draw a happy family and home. She’s one of the lucky ones, said the 7-year-old.
Ciana and roughly 80 others attended a candlelight vigil Tuesday at the U.S. Navy base near Naples in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Cases of domestic violence are “the most awful thing I have to deal with” as commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Naples, Capt. Floyd Hehe told the group.
“Tonight is a time of remembrance, for those who suffered at the hands of domestic violence, and for those who died at the hands of domestic violence,” he said.
Statistics show one in four Americans are affected by domestic violence, and every 15 seconds, a woman is battered. Last week alone, Hehe said, two cases of domestic violence were reported at the military base in Naples.
“But the people involved [in perpetrating violence] aren’t the people sitting in this room tonight,” Hehe acknowledged to the group — faces he sees volunteering for fundraisers, attending PTA meetings.
Awareness helps break the cycle of domestic violence, leading to healthier and happier homes, said Diane Furlough, a licensed clinical social worker and the Counseling Advocacy Prevention division chairwoman for the Naples-based Fleet and Family Support Center.
A new Pentagon policy this year gives domestic violence victims an added option when seeking help.
In the past, reports made by abused spouses automatically had to be reported up the chain-of-command and to military law enforcement. The aim of the new policy gives spouses a chance to seek the help needed without fear of consequences, officials said.
The new “restricted reporting” gives victims the power — except in the most severe cases — to decide whether abuse reported to medical personnel or family support counselors should remain confidential.
The modification mirrors changes made in 2005 for victims of sexual assault. It does not apply to children caught in abusive situations.