Fort Hood addresses domestic violence and abuse

POSTED: Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 4:53pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

FORT HOOD -- Bell County ranks number five in the state for the number of deaths from family abuse according to Aware Central Texas. With growing domestic violence at Fort Hood Lt. Gen. Don Campbell stopped all operations on the base Thursday.

A special meeting was called to train soldiers in an effort to put an end to domestic violence.

"We're letting them know their responsibility and also re-emphasis the team work. One team, pretty much, so everyone will be looking out for each other," says Cdr. Kwame Agyemang.

Cdr. Agyemang says they're worried about a spike in reports of domestic violence in April and May. Numbers so alarming the Lt. Gen. Campbell had the base cease operations to address the problem.

"With all the reports coming, we decided to be in front of the problem than to wait until it escalates. So, pretty much, this is just a precaution," says Cdr. Agyemang.

For soldiers like Karen Ricardo-Mendez, the lecture hit home.

"Our parents are pretty much, we use a heavy hand. So there isn't talk, there isn't 'This is what you did wrong.' If it was wrong, you either got slapped or you got hit."

Thursday, she was reminded of how to look out for fellow military families.

"You learn to recognize when it's wrong and prevent it if you can. If you can't, take it up further to through the chain," says Ricardo-Mendez.

Further up the chain, Agyemang sits on a board that reviews domestic abuse.

"You can't help to personalize it. After a while, it becomes more like your sister or your brother or your kid that's involved. Because if you see it, it doesn't just come and go like the flu, it just persists," explains Agyemang. 

Fort Hood wouldn't release the number of reported cases, only saying Lt. Gen. Campbell felt it needed to be addressed.

As for numbers we do know: last year in Bell County alone, five children died because of abuse or neglect.

Also, there are 959 confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect. That's according to Texas Department of Family Protective Services.

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