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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6 Comments

  1. clementine
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    “I feel that nobody is in my corner,” Ms. Renteria said. “Because he wears a uniform, he is protected by everybody.”

  2. ArmyVetJen
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I am involved in a personal conversation between male and female veterans on a very similar aspect to this topic. This isn’t just about the female’s “married to the military” this type of attitude extends to women IN the military from the male service members as well. There is a strong disconnect between those two groups of women.
    The training that happens in the military is SO under studied. It effects those who go through it in ways that are nearly completely closed off from civilian/academic/sociological evaluations.

  3. Marcus
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    We have to recognize that our soldiers don’t get proper psychological counciling and it’s just as important to help the husbands re-adjust to a world where discompassionate violence is NOT an asset as it is to ensure that women get protection, even if their assailant has a ring and a uniform.
    “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.”
    Obama seems big on promoting public works that have been in disrepair for so long (bridges, roads, etc.), let’s hope the psychology of our soldiers is among them.

  4. knitchic
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Sometimes, as in my case, the military provides a little help- it’s the police that are completely unhelpful. I was ridiculed and accused of being on drugs by the police when my soon to be ex attacked me. And the Navy’s help didn’t extend much beyond an initial public incident- when he attacked me as I was trying to leave, and pregnant, I was dismissed. Either way, both the military and the police have a long way to go before they provide a decent response to this.

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    Posted August 18, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

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    Nevertheless, culture can be wielded to alleviate poverty by recentring communities and by providing a foundation upon which tangible, material economies can be built. Paris’ Val-Fourre sink estate is Europe’s largest council estate, with 28,000 inhabitants, sky-high unemployment and growing school drop rates – inevitably worse for the immigrants, most of whom are from North Africa. Despite the republican French ideal of equality, they do not feel treated and respected as French. The combination – no job, no education, no respect – is a dangerous cocktail as the riots in the banlieues all over France in late 2005 showed. But here, as in so many other places, there are bright sparks such as Radio Droit de Cite, run by 60 local teenagers. The station gives them a platform on which to shape their identity and foster self-belief through producing documentaries, phone-ins, community information, sports and music. More than a dozen teenagers from the station have moved on to jobs in national broadcasting.

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