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Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Perdue, a chaplain with 10th Marine Regiment, speaks to the Marines and Sailors of the regiment during a child abuse awareness and prevention symposium at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 22, 2016. The purpose of the symposium was to make the Marines aware of the various resources available to them through their units and Marine Corps Community Services. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michelle Reif/Released.)

Photo by Cpl. Michelle Reif

Raising awareness; 10th Marine Regiment recognizes child abuse awareness month with an empowering symposium

25 Apr 2016 | Cpl. Michelle Reif II Marine Expeditionary Force

In his opening remarks to his Marines and Sailors, Col. Joseph T. Allena, the commanding officer of 10th Marine Regiment, told the audience that Marines never fight alone. He was talking about much more than warfare. He was speaking about the commitment among Marines to give each other support and to pull each other back from the metaphorical ledge when they are in need.

10th Marine Regiment held a Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Symposium at the base theater at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 22, 2016. The purpose of the symposium was to make the Marines aware of the various resources available to them through their units and Marine Corps Community Services.

“An event like this raises awareness and lets Marines know that there are resources out there that they can go to,” said Sgt.Maj. Dennis Bradley, the unit Sergeant Major, “It goes towards that holistic approach of mentally, morally, and physically ready for any crises that our nation needs us to resolve.”

Speakers at the event included the unit Family Readiness Officer, a Marine Family Life Councilor, representatives from Onslow County Social Services, Naval Criminal Investigative Services and the New Parent Support Program. The presenters made a point to instil in the Marines that no matter their situation, “There is a resource for that!”

“My hope is that something that they hear during the program will trigger them into reaching out and getting help,” said Joele Montes, the Behavior Health Prevention Specialist for the unit who coordinated the symposium.

While there were many organizations presented to the Marines, the focus of the event was on preventing child abuse and recognizing the warning signs of maltreatment. A panel, made up of the event’s guest speakers, held a discussion during the symposium and gave the Marines an opportunity to ask questions.

“Anytime that we talk about the Family Readiness Program it involves personal readiness, deployment readiness, and family readiness,” said Bradley. “Anytime that we can do something to prevent any kind of abuse or anything that affects the readiness of the Marines and Sailors, it make their lives outside of their duty hours more enjoyable and prepares them to deploy worldwide on a moment’s notice.”

The program concluded with a powerful and emotional presentation from 2nd Expeditionary Operations Training Groups’ curriculum developer Tina Pearce. Pearce performed a play depicting her personal story of overcoming child and domestic abuse. Her story spoke of breaking free from of the cycle of abuse and the importance of reaching out when in need of help.

“One thing that I think the Marine Corps does exceptionally well is becoming a family,” said Bradley. “It goes beyond just being a Marine or just doing a job. It really is a way of life and as brothers and sisters, we owe our fellow Marines to make sure that they are mentally, morally, physically, and spiritually ready for combat or any other crises or challenge that life presents to them.”

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