Domestic violence: know how to help your wingman

  • Published
  • By Ashley Snipes
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing

Did you know that denying a spouse access to the family’s income is a form of domestic violence? That isolating a spouse or partner from their family and friends is also a form of domestic violence? These are just a few of the items Airmen of the 916th Air Refueling Wing can learn during Domestic Violence Awareness month.  

Most people think of physical abuse when they hear the term domestic violence, explains Kimberly Lawrence, the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate with the Family Advocacy Program on Seymour Johnson..

“There is also emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, economic abuse, and psychological abuse which kind of ties in with the emotional abuse,” said Lawrence.

The lesser known types of abuse might not be understood as abuse because they aren’t as overt as physical abuse.

“In isolation abuse, their partner could be keeping them away from seeing or communicating with family or friends,” explained Lawrence. “Controlling whereabouts or keeping tabs on them as a control factor.”

Another lesser known element of domestic violence is that it’s not limited to just spouse abuse. The Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program recognizes three types of relationships where domestic violence occurs: A current or former spouse, a co-parent, or a current or former live-in intimate partner.

Domestic violence isn’t limited to one gender either. An FY2019 DoD FAP report highlighted how 34 percent of the victims in reported spouse abuse incidents were male, and 25 percent of those involved in intimate partner abuse were male.

What can Reserve Citizen Airmen do to help their wingmen or even themselves if they are possibly in a situation where abuse is or has occurred?

“You can reach out to Family Advocacy, or myself as the victim advocate,” said Lawrence. The Family Advocacy program is located in the new medical building on the second floor, allowing for better communication with healthcare providers if abuse is suspected.         

Lawrence also has a 24-hour hotline available for reporting: 919-230-2980.

When making contact, the person experiencing abuse has two options to decide between, restricted or unrestricted reporting.

“Restricted Reporting allows victims of domestic violence the option to report an incident to specific individuals without initiating the investigative process or notifying chain of command,” said Lawrence.

All Health Care providers and their support staff, all FAP Staff to include the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate, mental health providers, Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC), and Military One Source are able to accept restricted reports, according to Lawrence. Please note, this option does not apply to cases of child abuse.

As the DAVA, Lawrence is there to help with everything.

“I provide crisis intervention and emotional support, “said Lawrence. “I also accompany victims to court proceedings and medical appointments on as needed basis.”

 If an unrestricted report is made, Lawrence is the liaison for military law enforcement if the report is made to FAP first. Persons in immediate danger of assault or physical injury should call 911 to be connected with local law enforcement immediately.

After military law enforcement is notified, the chain of command for the alleged offender is notified. This allows the person making the allegation access to no contact or Military Protective Orders.

In both scenarios, the DAVA and FAP will work with the person experiencing abuse to develop a safety plan and identify the next steps to take. This may include using local, off-base resources for the person experiencing abuse, or even connecting with a DAVA at another base, closer to where the Reserve Citizen Airmen and their family resides.

“We want to give the right tools, the right methods to use to get out as well as further protect the victim,” said Lawrence.

If you suspect a wingmen or their family member is experiencing abuse, reach out to the 916th Airmen & Family Readiness center at 919-722-8761 to be connected with local resources. Bystanders and those experiencing abuse are also encouraged to contact the Family Advocacy Program at 919-722-8059 to discuss options for getting help. Everyone is encouraged to educate themselves about domestic violence through, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at, or by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).