Military men are trained in combat, but the combat doesn't always stay on the battlefield-sometimes it comes home to their wives, according to the Civic Research Institute. Domestic violence homicides from 1995 to 2001 include 131 in the Army, 54 in the Navy and Marine Corp and 32 in the Air Force, according to a National Coalition Against Domestic Violence report. The Civic Research Institute and the National Sexuality Resource Center outline other facts on the issue.
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Domestic violence in the military is at least double the rate of domestic violence in the civilian world, according to the Civic Research Institute website. The site says one in three military spouses has been a victim. The National Sexuality Resource Center notes part of the cause could be the military's emphasis on power and control.
In addition to the military's emphasis on power and control, other underlying causes could be to blame. One theory, which was shot down, tried to blame the violence on a side effect of an army drug that prevents malaria, according to the National Sexuality Resource Center. Another theory noted by the National Sexuality Resource Center blames post traumatic stress disorder. Gender issues and military culture play a role, as men are expected to be strong, self-sufficient and thus are reluctant to ask for help, the Center says. A history of abusive relationships can also play a part, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Coalition notes 54 per cent of men enlisted in the Navy grew up watching their parents abuse each other.
Military men who engage in domestic violence are more likely than civilians to become incredibly aggressive, violent and physically abusive, according to the Civic Research Institute website. The site said military men are four times more likely than civilian men to leave their wives' necks or windpipes bruised or injured or to choke the women until they were unconscious. Even military men who are not specifically trained in combat, like engineers, tend to be more violent in their aggression, the Institute said. The Instituted added 53 per cent of engineers at Presidio army base in Monterey, Calif., battered or assaulted their spouses, with 23 per cent of them using weapons in the process. The National Sexuality Resource Center website adds some military men have used combat and killing skills and tactics in their assaults.
Women who fall prey to the domestic violence of military men are at a bigger disadvantage than their civilian counterparts, according to the Civic Research Institute site. It said many are living on a near a military base, far from their hometown, families and friends. The wife may also be totally dependent on her husband's income and could fear reporting any incidents would harm her husband's career, the Institute added.
Victims of domestic violence in the military can always turn to outside sources. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help; call 800-799-SAFE or visit npvh.org. Sources of help inside the military include the Department of Defence's Family Advocacy Program, which women can reach through the base's medical offices. The military chaplain is the only person covered by confidentiality, all other military employees--including doctors, therapists and victim advocates--are required to report domestic violence to the command.
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- Civic Research Institute: A Considerable Service: An Advocate's Introduction to Domestic Violence and the Military
- National Sexuality Resource Center: Hidden Casualties: An Epidemic of Violence When Troops Return from War
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence in the Military