Domestic Violence in Military Families

I was glad to see that the New York Times is continuing their important coverage of veteran issues, especially when it comes to violence stateside. Sunday they ran a story about the Army’s major domestic violence problem.
This piece continued their commitment to reporting on the ways in which veterans’ families have born the brunt of much of their PTSD problems. In February, they gave a deep and broad view of the emotional and physical violence characterizing so many families lives when a loved one returns from war. Prior to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon had committed to revamping the military response to domestic violence (there has been a rash of “wife-killings” that prompted response). But as task force members told reporters, the huge surge in violence both overseas and upon returning home, has complicated their efforts.
Complications are inevitable, but there is simply no excuse for not providing veterans’ and their families the counseling they need. For example, USA Today reported last week that there are currently one drug counselor for every 3,100 soldiers; this at a time when the soldiers seeking help has skyrocketed by 25% in the last five years.
I think the Pentagon could learn a lot from feminists. When will the government commit to an intersectional analysis of what veterans and their families are experiencing, both in war and after? Violence, addiction, rape and sexual assault, suicide, PTSD etc. are all intimately connected afflictions. We have a moral obligation to bring this kind of sophisticated analysis to veterans’ healing.
For more, check out my column from yesterday over at TAP on veteran’s affairs and Michelle Obama.

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