Started by blackmanx, Jun 02, 2006, 12:43 PM
"It's not socially acceptable in our culture to say 'My wife is beating me up.'
Quote"It's not socially acceptable in our culture to say 'My wife is beating me up.' sad but true.So time to move the goal posts!I see nothing wrong with- "My partner is violently assaulting me. I'm afraid to act in self defense lest I break a bone or rip tendons. I refuse to enable or escalate unacceptably hostile words or deeds in the presence of my children. My partner is aware of these fears of mine, and yet consistantly persists. I need help to establish protective custody."Or something like that!
I agree that the Army's resources are available, even more so now that some service members are coming back from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with psychological trauma. Resources include: unit and family life chaplains, Social Work Services, Military One Source, Personal Readiness Programs, and post psychiatric and psychological counseling. However, there are several factors that diminish the potential value of the Army's resources when it comes to dealing with domestic violence. In some cases, these factors make the penalties for being a service member involved in domestic abuse even worse than being a civilian:• The Army culture continues to dampen individuals' willingness to use those resources or leaders' willingness to intervene (I assume this extends across the Armed Forces to varying degrees). Quite simply, many men in uniform cannot come to terms with being regarded as a victim. In my case (see below), my efforts to get people to consider that I may not be the only abuser in this case are met with disbelief.• Many Army leaders are unwilling to accept that men are victims because they tend to make assumptions about the nature of domestic violence. Straus and other's research clearly shows that men are the sole aggressors in about 25% of the DV cases, yet many Army leaders follow the lead of the Victims Advocates, who work for Army Community Services (ACS). Straight from the Ft. Lewis ACS office's flyer on Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy:"In all cultures, the perpetrators are most commonly male. Women are most commonly the victims of domestic violence."This cultural bias about men's role in aggression has generally perverted many Army leaders thinking and has colored the advice provided by the subject matter experts: the Victims Advocates. This, in turn, influences a number of decision-making processes that exacerbate already emotionally charged situations (see my anecdote, below).• When military sanctions are coupled with civilian sanctions as the result of an off-post assault, the results are more devastating than if the assault took place on-post. Here's my story: I am a 20 year veteran of the Army (17+ Active, 20+ total service). Several weeks ago my wife my wife and I got into an argument. A few minutes into the fight she she assaulted me: she spat on me, bit me, and scratched my face. I pinned her down part way through the confrontation in an effort to calm her down (in retrospect I realized that I had gone too far at this point), and I received several more bites from my wife. After a couple of minutes, my wife got up and called 911, and three male officers arrived; we live off-post south of Seattle, so the officers were from the municipal police department. After taking her statement then mine, the officer 'believed that the wife was the dominant aggressor' (a quote from the Arrest Report). The officer cuffed my wife and read her the Miranda Warnings. At this point, she burst into tears and said that she was a victim of chronic abuse. The officer asked if anyone to corroborate her story, and she told him to call her mother. The officer called her mother, who lives across the country, has spent maybe two weeks with us in the last four years, does not like me, and has never seen an argument between my wife and me. Despite these issues which might complicate admitting my mother-in-law's testimony as evidence, the officer took her statement over the phone. The outcome did not surprise me: the officer came back, announced that he believed that my wife was reacting defensively, and arrested me. If you are familiar with how these cases run then the following should be no surprise to you:• Encouraged by the YWCA lawyer and the Army Victims' Advocate, my wife put a one-year Order of Protection in place; among other things, it dictates that I cannot communicate with my eight-year old stepson. I have known my stepson since he was three.• The courts directed me to participate in a Washington State Domestic Violence Perpetrator's Program for a year (cost $3,000+), even before the arraignment hearing. This was part of the Order of Protection.• The unit chain of command approved the Army Victims' Advocate's request to move my wife across the country at government expense because my wife felt unsafe, even with the Order of Protection in place. • The post Case Review Committee instructed me to participate in 40+ hours of individual and group therapy. They also substantiated that my wife was equally culpable for the assault - a move that reportedly aggravated the Victim's Advocate - but the only sanction against my wife was a recommendation to participate in therapy, something she has plainly stated she will not do.• My commander politely asked me to resign my job because my pending prosecution was embarrassing and because the matter was taking up too much time. No wonder: I have been spending hours in therapy directed by the Army and the State and in lawyers' offices trying to work on my criminal case and the aftermath of my pending separation (a result of my wife's decision to move across the country). Being the good Soldier, I resigned and am now on leave.• Despite demonstrably superior performance over the last year, I received an average evaluation on my most recent evaluation report, a direct result of this incident. The mid-term consequence: little hope for promotion beyond the next rank. Long term result: at least a $500k loss of salary and retirement income (in '06 dollars).• If found guilty on the Domestic Violence IV charge (a misdemeanor) I will be separated from the Army after 17 ˝ years of active service and forfeit my retirement, a result of the Lautenberg amendment. By contrast, my wife will receive Transitional Compensation for several years. Translation: even though I may become jobless, the Department of Defense will pay my wife about $16,000 per year (untaxed), continue to provide her with military health and dental benefits, and allow her to retain her ID card and military shopping privileges (shopping on-post is about 30% cheaper than shopping in Washington grocery stores). This is one of the reasons that my wife told my father that "I don't care what happens to my husband, because I will get a nice big check from the Government".There's much more to the story: a history of low-level, mutual disrespect and abuse over the last several years; my tours in Afghanistan and Iraq; my wife's history of physical and sexual abuse as a child; financial and other stressors. All that written, I take responsibility for my actions - I should not have tried to pin my wife down that night, and I did a poor job of handling our arguments over the last few years. These realizations came largely from the many forms of censure I listed above, and for that I am thankful. What bothers me is that there is nothing compelling my wife to accept responsibility for her role in our family's history of abuse. She has not participated in any of the therapy recommended by the Case Review Committee. Additionally, since I was arrested, my wife has taken up many of the behaviors of the 'family terrorist', which Erin Pizzey described in her article. I can probably struggle through this, but I am fearful of what will happen to my son (will be three on July 9) and my stepson (age eight).
Outstanding work, Tacoma. Truly outstanding. Hat off to you. A library of info right there. Thank you.
Quote from: "blackmanx"Outstanding work, Tacoma. Truly outstanding. Hat off to you. A library of info right there. Thank you.After looking at a number of the stories on this and other sites, I suspect that the injustice and poor decision making evident in my case is not unique.Troubled