October focuses on awareness of several issues, illnesses or causes that affect people and require specific attention. Specifically, this month brings targeted awareness to domestic violence in the hope of showing victims a way out, communicating that they are not alone and reiterating the array of helping agencies available to them. One Minot Air Force Base spouse, Eva Denson, is passionate about sharing her story about this very topic to help relate to others who may be going through the same hardships. She wants people to know that “It’s not easy, but you can get out,” and explains how to do so.
Eva is a mil spouse, nurse in training, author, advocate for domestic violence victims and the Minot AFB Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) spouse of the year for 2022. She and her Active Duty husband have been married for four years, and she has three grown children from her previous relationship. She was named the Minot Spouse of the Year for all of her dedicated work and time volunteering with domestic violence survivors and as a serving chaplain to military veterans when she and her spouse were stationed at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas. She explained her dedication saying,
Eva is committed to helping people (men or women) who find themselves in abusive situations. She wants to show that there is a way to get out and that it is possible to make a better life for themselves. She can speak on this topic and support others who are experiencing it because she herself has suffered through a life of abuse and was able, through outside help and her faith in God, to come out better on the other side.
Eva has shared her personal story before and continues to be a trailblazer for this issue. She has plans to speak with the Minot AFB Chiefs addressing this topic later this month. However, Eva wanted to point out and help any members of the base community recognize what exactly is domestic abuse, how to recognize the signs and what to do about it. As every relationship is different, it can sometimes be difficult for a person to tell what is and isn’t “abuse” and what is just an argument or a tough time.
Eva explained, “Abuse is not always physical; an argument is not all design. You know it is abuse if you are scared all the time. If your body tenses up, if the kids are scared that daddy (or mommy) is coming home,” that is probably abuse. She also mentioned that control can be a major red flag in finding out if a relationship is abusive. She said when she was married for the first time, she thought it was cute that her partner always wanted to know where she was every second. She didn’t know then that that can signal a control issue. As for how to spot if someone else is in an abusive situation, she recommends people be aware of not only bruises or physical abuse but how a person acts, which can be a warning sign that they may be suffering from abuse at home.
Eva said some red flags are if a spouse (or any person) is constantly checking their watch to be home at an exact time or is always “jumpy” because they know they must be, look or perform a certain way for their spouse.
While domestic abuse has many forms, there are ways to get help and get out of bad situations. Eva explained that even though it feels hopeless, she encourages people in abusive situations to find someone they can trust, get a plan and get out! She wholeheartedly believes that situations can and should be dealt with before it gets to the point of life and death. If a victim truly has nowhere to go or knows no one, Eva recommends speaking with a base chaplain about the situation. Chaplains have complete confidentiality and cannot share conversations to the chain of command. They also have an after hours emergency phone number if immediate help is needed.
Duty Hours: 701-723-2456
Chaplain On-Call (Emergency): 701-509-4230
Additionally, there is a Domestic Violence Crisis Center in town that assists with these difficult situations, and information about their website can be found at https://courage4change.org/ planning-to-leave/ .
Help is not just available for domestic abuse victims, but also for the abuser as well. If an abuser is an AD member, it can be difficult to come forward and get help. It can be scary. However, getting help, finding the root of the problem (be it anger, drinking, or past trauma) or whatever that leads to abusive outbreaks can also be helped if abusers are willing to realize they need help too. This is a touchy situation, but chaplains are also a great first resource to uncover the right type of help needed. At the end of the day, Eva remarks that it is important to do something now, today and before it gets worse because it most likely will. Find a friend, chaplain or resource, and get safe before it is too late.
Eva has written a book describing her personal experience with domestic abuse and would like to share the story with others. It can be found and purchased on Amazon, Unfinished Business: God Is Not Done With Me Yet.