Domestic violence is a serious matter, whether you or your spouse are enlisted in the military or you are both civilians. Any situation involving domestic abuse is complicated and volatile, but there are some circumstances that set military domestic violence apart from abuse in ordinary marriages. California residents who are involved with the military should understand the factors that can make living with and escaping abuse even more dangerous and complex.
If your spouse is enlisted in the military, you already know that he or she has been trained in combat and may have access to weapons not usually available to everyday citizens. According to the American Bar Association, these factors alone can exacerbate the danger to a spouse who is being victimized by domestic violence. Other factors that some people might not immediately be aware of, but which present similar complications, include the following:
- Lengthy deployments and frequent moves that can create additional stress in a marriage
- Isolation from family and friends, which can make it more difficult to escape abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in servicepeople who have seen combat, which can escalate abusive tendencies
Additionally, you may worry that reporting abuse to your spouse’s superiors can result in retaliation against you or in your spouse’s military career being curtailed. However, like all domestic violence victims, you do not deserve to be harmed or live in fear. Military authorities have special procedures in addressing domestic violence and protecting spouses and children who are being victimized. Since this topic is sensitive and complex, the information presented in this post is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.