- Posted October 24, 2013 by
Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey
Picatinny Arsenal hosts Self-Defense Seminar in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The course was and will continue to be instructed by Salvatore Caruso, a firefighter on the Arsenal who transferred to Picatinny just three years ago after serving 25 years at Fort Monmouth before it closed due to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act.
Caruso, a lifelong martial artist holds a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has also trained in arts such as Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling.
“I worked many years doing wants and warrants and would see many female victims of violent crimes, many of them abused by someone they were close to,” Caruso said.
With the help of a female sensei and an instructor Caruso set out to create his own path of instruction approximately 15 years ago.
“I’m not teaching these women how to fight a man. It’s what to do in case of an attack. Teaching so women are alert and aware to avoid certain situations. Alert, awareness, defense are the keywords,” Caruso said.
Justine Ionta, the Family Advocacy Program manager with the ACS Directorate helped set up the course and volunteered to serve as Caruso’s assistant instructor.
During this initial period of instruction the students absorbed the advice and knowledge that Caruso offered after many years of interviewing victims of abuse.
“68 percent of all victims never call the police because the attacker is a relative, someone they know or are normally comfortable with,” he said.
“It can be painful but you have to write everything down because your mind wants to forget; you have about a one-hour window after the assault happens where you will start to forget details.”
Caruso told the women to take a mental picture. Remember markings, tattoos, smells, words the attacker said, and then call the police.
But first, you must get away.
“You do not want to stay and fight unless you have no escape. The point of these classes is to learn how to break a hold and get away. If you stay and fight, you can and will get hurt,” Caruso explained as the women were taught simple techniques and reversals to counter an attack. “Joints break. Remember, if it bends it breaks.”
Another point that Caruso shared is that if the intent of the perpetrator is to just mug the woman and steal a valuable item, most times they will not try to hurt you. They will take what they want and run.
“If the attacker is trying to rape and or cause you harm, you are going to have to break their concentration and begin to bargain with them. Unless you can physically stop them in their tracks, all you are going to do by attacking your attacker is make them more angry,” Caruso said. “Sometimes you may have to rely on bargaining to get out of the situation.”
One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, according to statistics provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Thus, Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the NCADV.
The intent was to connect advocated of battered women across the nation who were working to end violence against women and children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state, and national levels.
These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun. In 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.
In October 1994 NCADV, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” Project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence deaths. Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented in that year.
A Purple Picatinny
The Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday in October and the color purple was dedicated as the color of the month to be worn by supporters of the cause. At Picatinny, Fridays were designated as days to show your support by wearing purple.
The campaign slogan is: Recognize It, Report It, Prevent It.
Below are a list of events/programs that Picatinny offered throughout the month.
- Awareness Table at the post cafeteria, Choices, Oct. 10
- Teen Safe Dating Program at the Teen Center – Oct. 18
- Healthy Communications Lunch and Learn at the Army Community Services (ACS) Classroom – Oct. 23
- Self Defense Class at Forge Fitness, the post gym – Oct. 24
- Anger Management Lunch & Learn at the ACS Classroom – Oct. 30
Silent Witness Displays
The Silent Witness display was started in 1990, in Minnesota, by a domestic violence coalition that believed telling the true stories of victims would bring attention to the problem of domestic violence and decrease the number of domestic homicides. These Silent Witnesses are life-sized silhouettes, painted red, with a shield on the front telling the story of a person who lost their life as a result of domestic violence. For the entire month of October, Silent Witnesses were displayed at various locations around Picatinny. Employees were asked that when they saw the Silent Witnesses, they take the time to read the stories and speak their names.
In a proclamation dated Sep. 30, 2013, President Barack Obama said, “We have seen a significant drop in domestic violence homicides and improved training for police, prosecutors, and advocates. Yet we must do more to provide protection and justice for survivors and to prevent violence from occurring. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we stand with domestic abuse survivors, celebrate our Nation's progress in combating these despicable crimes, and resolve to carry on until domestic violence is no more.”
Women who have been abused and friends and family of those who have been abused can seek help or advice by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or by visiting www.TheHotline.org.