Texas Counsel on Family Violence reported almost half of all Texans report experiencing some form of domestic violence during their lifetime. In 2011, the Department of Defense said there were more than 19,000 cases of domestic violence involving military personnel.
According to the Noah Project, which houses domestic violence victims, only about one third of domestic violence cases in Abilene are reported to the police. Among military personnel the numbers may be even higher.
Leigh Ann Fry is the executive director of the Noah Project. She said there are a few reasons the military struggles with domestic violence.
“Our military are under a great deal of stress. We have a lot of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome diagnoses. It's also very difficult for someone in the military to report that they're either an abuser or in an abusive relationship. You can lose your career over making an outcry like that," said Fry.
Friday, Abilene Christian University graduate psychology students held a "Bash the Violence." event where people paid to hit a car with a sledgehammer. The event raised money for the Noah Project. Even some Dyess airmen helped out with the event.
"Surprisingly, domestic violence does happen quite a bit in the military. Especially airmen, soldiers, marines, seamen, anyone who comes back from deployment," said Dyess airman Joshua Randall Mills.
Fry said the Noah Project helps more than 800 domestic violence victims a year and that's only one sixth of the victims in Abilene. She said the average victim will return to their abuser 7 times before leaving for good.
Fry advises anyone who needs help to call the Noah project at (325) 676-7107.