Every marriage has its problems, but the challenges can be unique when one or both spouses are in the military. Unfortunately, as you may have experienced, domestic violence can also be an issue in military marriages. Members of the armed forces are under a great deal of stress, with deployments and frequent moves further straining a marriage. This does not mean you or other Tennessee residents should put up with abuse in your marriage, however.
Statistics show that domestic violence among military couples is increasing throughout the United States. How does military life complicate abuse, you may wonder? The following factors can clarify:
- Military spouses often have access to weapons in their homes or bases, including firearms.
- Members of the armed forces know how to handle a weapon, as well as how to utilize their combat training to cause harm to a victim and avoid harm to themselves.
- Combat situations can cause or exacerbate emotional and mental trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, and may contribute to domestic violence in the home.
When the abuser is a member of the military, the armed forces’ family advocacy and military justice systems handle these cases. It is a good idea to document instances of abuse when possible, to lend credibility to your claim and assist your spouse’s superiors in forming a plan of action to address your problem. These actions may include assisting you with an order or protection and initiating disciplinary action, including filing criminal charges against an abusive spouse. You may document your abuse by taking pictures of your injuries, requesting medical records and saving screenshots of text messages, emails or social media posts that show your spouse’s abusive side.
Like many military spouses who are victims of domestic violence, you may be afraid to report your situation, fearing reprisal or the effect a domestic violence accusation may have on your spouse’s career. However, nobody deserves to be threatened or physically harmed in their marriage.