A military career is incredibly demanding – not only for those enlisted but also for their families. The long hours, secrecy and probable danger can take a toll, and some couples struggle to find healthy ways to cope.
Domestic violence factors into many familial disputes nationwide, regardless of military status. However, what does data suggest about reports of abuse among military couples?
Potential factors in abuse among service members
While domestic violence, by definition, refers to the abuse of a spouse or child living in the same home, reports of intimate partner violence (IPV) could include violent acts against a spouse, significant other, or an ex.
While IPV is not unique to military families, there are often underlying concerns related to escalated disputes. On top of the challenges civilian couples face, additional factors that contribute to a service member’s relationship can include:
- Disconnect during unpredictable assignments, including overseas deployment
- Social isolation due to frequent relocation away from friends and extended family members
- Prior home trauma, from which joining the military may have been an escape
Abusive service members may face more serious consequences for their actions than they would as a civilian. Since commanders have disciplinary discretion for those under their command, a pay reduction, job loss or the discontinuation of benefits could be at stake.
Allegations do not always represent the reality
The Department of Defense (DOD) recognizes the difficulties active duty often imposes on everyone involved. As such, numerous resources are available for families at risk.
Undoubtedly, far too many domestic partners need counseling and protective services because of IPV. Yet, some accusations are unfounded, and an arrest might be based on a misunderstanding.
Since every relationship is unique, a thorough investigation into domestic violence allegations is imperative in determining whether a domestic report fits the DOD definition of abuse.
Help for those suffering from IPV is imperative. Meanwhile, if fabricated charges put one’s career path at risk, so is protecting their reputation.