Domestic violence in the military

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-15-2012
Domestic violence in the military
6
Thu, 11-15-2012 - 10:02pm

Hello,

My name is Courtney and I am currently a Masters of Social Work student. I have a research paper that I am working on about women who have been in an abusive relationship with a man that is divorced and in the military. I have experienced this myself which is why I am interested in doing research on the topic. I am needing to interview someone over either this forum or possibly through email. I understand that this is a sensitive issue and more so to some, more than others. I am just learning to deal with my abuse after burying it for 2 years. Any help would be amazing and I would love to talk to someone who has been through something, at the very least, similar.

Courtney

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2012
Wed, 11-28-2012 - 11:22am
I think is also dangerous FEMALE VIOLENCE... I was reading this http://cheatingpeople.org/2012/11/28/female-violence-against-men-alarming-data/
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-15-2012
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 2:36am

Thank you very much for responding. I sent you a private message.

Courtney

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2004
Sun, 11-18-2012 - 12:47pm
I don't know how to private message on here, but when I was married to the abuser, we were military for 7 1/2 years. There was some physical. Mostly emotional, and I was very secluded. People knew. His superiors laughed (because he is a great guy to everyone else). He called me crazy and I had a hard time making friends. Private message me.

 

Avatar for cajunharmony
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2001
Sun, 11-18-2012 - 8:40am

Well shucky darn!  Courtney, I wrote a big reply to you yesterday and now I see the darned thing has disappeared.  Grrrrrr.  I'll do my best to remember the info I gave you in that post.  In working with this board as long as I have, I have seen a pretty good number of people who have experienced abuse at the hands of a member of our military.  There were three things that seemed to show up more than others, so those are what I'll talk about.  Sadly, the military is in the top 5 professions that statistics show commit abuse the most and that really breaks my heart.

Often abuse by a member of the military goes unreported and is suffered in silence because the military person holds all the cards.  The military, as you said, is pretty much an entity unto itself, with a person never really having to leave post or base if they don't want to.  Everything they need is supposedly right there for them.  Knowing that reporting the partner's abuse may very well result in the abuser being kicked out of the military is a barrier to a victim leaving all by itself.  If an abuser is kicked out for it, while they may receive only a "general" rather than dishonorable discharge, there go the benefits right off the bat:  housing, health care coverage, BX privileges, the list goes on and on.  Also, many times a victim is a long, long way from their normal support system of family and friends.  I used to work in an emergency room in a community that had a large military base.  Quite often we would see victims of abuse in our ER because they would not go to the base hospital because of this very problem.

Another thing that partners of military abusers face is a lack of response from the abuser's CO, which is the first place a victim is supposed to go for help, unless it's an emergency situation and the MP's are called.  Where it goes from there is up to the CO.  A military unit is very similar to a police force in that they face unspeakable dangers at times and are a tightly knit "got your back" group, which they have to be.  Unfortunately, this carries over into ALL things, including protecting a member of the unit who is abusive to his partner.  It's not unheard of for the CO to be an abuser as well.

When an abuser and victim are stationed overseas, it becomes an even more harrowing thing to deal with.  More often than not, the local law enforcement won't touch it with a ten foot pole because the victim is US military connected and most likely lives on post, and the post is, again, a world unto itself.  The most common thing I've heard from victims who are overseas with their abuser is that s/he has taken his "documents", ie, passport, DOD Id, driver's license, etc., and won't give them to their victim, very effectively stopping them from setting foot off post under any circumstances, because they are unable to carry their own "papers" with them, which is a necessity in some countries.  Also makes it impossible to leave.  Oftentimes, these posts are located in places where there is no US Consulate or Embassy to turn to for help in replacing these documents.  And without them, you can't go anywhere.  Also, a flight home to family and friends can cost THOUSANDS of dollars, especially if you are also bringing your children, and the US embassy or consulate will tell you flat out that they aren't Traveler's Aid and that they can't assist you in that respect. They will assist in replacing passports, but that's pretty much all they are able to do and that sometimes requires getting family or friends back in the US to send supporting documentation.  So here the victim is, stuck in a place where they are isolated from their support systems.  They can't turn to community resources because of the inability to communicate in the local language, and oftentimes they are in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime!

The things that I have written about here are based strictly on what I have experienced on this board in various forms since 2001, when I became a member.  I do know that the military recognizes what a huge problem domestic abuse is among its ranks and I do know that they are doing their best to rectify this situation.  I have utmost respect for the women and men who serve our nation and its people, but I have NO respect for an abuser, whether a member of our military or not.  I don't believe any of our members who are currently posters have experienced this, and I have NO idea about our lurkers, which FAR outnumber our posters, so this problem could be getting greater attention in another forum of which I am unaware.  Good luck on your research.  I hope that we've been able to help.  Keep us posted.


Mama Harmony

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-15-2012
Sat, 11-17-2012 - 2:32am

Thank you very much for commenting. I truly appreciate it and I did not know about the private IVillage messaging! That sounds like an awesome way to keep things confidential. I understand that the people who read these boards may not be fully willing to open up because the military is very much its own private entity.

I do not have any truly specific questions. I am more interested in the victim's background and what type of abuse they experienced. I can say that I experienced more psychological abuse than anything. I also really understand being a lurker on these boards and the courage it takes not only to post on these boards, but to talk about the things that have happened to you.

If no one responds, I am okay with that. I hope the lurkers out there realize that there are others out there who have experienced domestic violence within the military and that they are not alone.Thank you for responding to my post and being encouraging.

Avatar for cajunharmony
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2001
Fri, 11-16-2012 - 6:59am

Welcome to the board, Courtney.  Congratulations on working towards your MSW.  As one of the community leaders for this board, and having been so for a very, very long time, I am extremely protective of our members privacy and confidentiality.  Going into the field that you are, I am sure that you can understand my position. In the past, we have discouraged this sort of thing, however, this is not my call to make on behalf of our members who fit the parameters of your research.  As a board that strives to empower our members to make the best decisions in the face of great stress and confusion, it is our members who must make the decision for themselves.  It is a well known fact, at least among the world of DV advocacy, that the military has a HUGE problem with domestic abuse.  How effectively it is handled varies widely from base to base, commanding officers, etc.  While there are programs in place, they are not widely publicized to the general public.  Miliitary spouses face things that the general public does not, and therefore, they sort of have their "own little world" and unless you are a part of it, you won't hear about it.  This is not meant to be disparaging or to put down life in the military, it is just a simple fact.  While this board doesn't show a lot of members/posters, it is widely read by many, many lurkers who have not yet made the decision to post, so I really don't want you to pin your hopes on receiving a big response from our members/lurkers.  Perhaps the best course would be for you to post the questions you would like to ask so that all members can read them and then make an informed decision on whether or not they choose to respond.  Then, perhaps, in order to protect their privacy and yours, correspondence could take place via iVillage's private message system, rather than personal e-mails.  I think this would be a safe and effective way to handle it.  First and foremost in my mind is the safety and privacy of our members and using the iVill private message feature would continue to assure this.  I would gladly answer your questions, but as I said, I don't fit your research parameters.  Good luck with your paper.  I hope our members will choose to step up for you, because DV in the military is a need that MUST be addressed and action taken.  In healing from domestic abuse, it is ALL about personal empowerment, therefore, each member who does fthe parameters must make their own choice.  And remember, you are always welcome to join us here.  While you are no longer in the abusive relationship, it's a wonderful community of kind, caring people who are always here for others when they hit a bump in the road. If you ever find yourself in a bad place and need good, solid support and affirmation, or just a place to vent, feel free.  All are welcome here.  Be blessed.

Mama Harmony