Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Abused Military Wife Speaks Out

Fortunately, this military wife survived violent and brutal assaults by her husband. The military said they washed their hands of him and she was just left to deal with what he had become, what he was trained to do.

Heres a few kickers, not only are we seeing increases in homicides and near fatals perpetrated by military personnel...this fact is not always immediately disclosed. 

As well, we do not currently have a Lethality Assessment to better inform police, criminal justice and practitioners and one must be developed. Although no one can determine that a homicide will occur among intimates, an appropriate and specific Assessment for this group, will alert us to the factors or characteristics that indicate a homicide is probable or imminent. That information gives us the ability to take heightened actions necessary to better keep victims safe. It is dangerous for victims to inform us "later" that "Oh, by the way, he was deployed to Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Afghanistan"

As we inquire and interview victims and military personnel, we are learning a number of things (flaws) that are harmful to victims and the community. One for example is that if an individual (Military) is "Dishonorably Discharged" he is not eligible for certain benefits, such as adequate mental health care!! WTH!!

Those "Honorably Discharged" are asked a few questions and they are deemed ok and sent home.

How can the military be allowed to create a killing machine and wash their hands and pockets ($$) of him/her and set them loose back in the community!

OK! OK! If the discharge is dishonorable, don't pay for college, or a loan towards home ownership, but take responsibility for your role in creating these such individuals and treat them before you loose them back into families and communities that are ill equipped to deal with them. Some of these individuals are killing their wives and others around them,  annihilating their families and commiting suicide. The DoD cannot just wash their hands and negate the fact that these individuals were trained and they did serve!

Be informed. Below are some items I found in my search where we can educate ourselves:

Family violence in the military : a review of the literature.Rentz, E. Danielle. Martin, Sandra L. Gibbs, Deborah A. Clinton-Sherrod, Monique. Hardison, Jennifer. Marshall, Stephen W.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Journal Article
Published: April 2006
Trauma, violence and abuse
Vol. 7, p. 93-108
Available from: Sage Publications

Domestic Violence & Military Personnel Returning Home: Deaths and Near Fatal Death Occurrances are taking surmounting toll on victims, families, communities and resources. Family violence, including both child maltreatment and spouse abuse, is a public health concern in both military and civilian populations. However, there is limited knowledge concerning violence in military families relative to civilian families. This literature review critically reviews studies that examine child maltreatment and spouse abuse among military families and compares family violence in military versus nonmilitary populations. Physical abuse and neglect compose the majority of the reported and substantiated cases of child maltreatment in military families, followed by sexual abuse and emotional abuse. On the other hand, physical abuse represents more than 90% of all substantiated cases of spouse abuse in military families, followed by emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse.
 X X X X X X X X X
This is a snipet of a document my advocates will surely use!

Battered Women's Justice Project


What is the relationship between the effects of war and IPV? Does having been in combat cause IPV? (Intimate Partner Violence)

There is no one answer to this question. While most returning military personnel have readjustment and stress issues, most do not become abusive to their partners and/or families. However:

• There are reports of increased violence upon return in some relationships with a history of controlling behavior and/or physical violence prior to deployment.


• There are reports of psychological and/or physical violence upon return from the war in some relationships with
no history of violence prior to deployment,

Military members, including active duty military, Reserve, and National Guard personnel, learn combat skills and function in a battle mindset to survive in the combat zone, but this mindset and the accompanying combat skills may create problems when transitioning home. It can be difficult to change back to a "civilian" mindset upon returning home.

• Most people coming from war zones will have stress reactions and will need to readjust to being home. This can be especially intense during the first months. These common stress reactions are a normal part of readjustment. Anger, anxiety, fear, aggression, and/or withdrawal are common war-zone stress reactions. Even minor incidents can lead to over-reactions.

• Stress reactions and problems that last for months can affect relationships, work, and overall well-being, if not addressed. A person may be coping with stress by drinking, taking drugs, withdrawing, isolating, and/or he/she may be having sudden emotional outbursts.

• Many combat veterans who experience combat-related mental health problems (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)) do not seek treatment either when they are active duty or when they become veterans.

What health/mental health issues are related to military experience in a combat zone?
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Many of the common reactions to experience in the war are also symptoms of more serious problems such as PTSD. PTSD is a serious but treatable condition that can occur after experiencing a traumatic event(s) that involved death or injury to self or others.

Symptoms include:
* Experiencing intrusive, bad memories of a traumatic event.
* Avoiding things that might trigger memories of the traumatic event, such as crowded places, loud noises, etc. * Shutting down emotionally to prevent feeling pain, fear, or anger.
* Operating on "high-alert" at all times, having very short fuses, and/or startling easily.
* Experiencing sleep problems, irritability, anger, or fear.

• In PTSD, symptoms are much more intense and troubling and don’t go away. If these symptoms don’t decrease over a few months, they can cause problems in daily life and relationships. It can be difficult to be with someone with PTSD.

Another BWJP document that stands out is done by
Jane Sadusky, 2010

Collaborating for Safety: Coordinating the Military and Civilian Response to Domestic Violence – Elements and Tools
These documents are viewable at: www.bwjp.org
More is surely to come...


Veteran Recounts Killing His Wife

Murder and Mayhem hitched a ride with some Military personnel and Contractors returning home to the US from Afghanistan and Iraq only to land right smack into families, homes, and communities on domestic soil.

Not only is Domestic Violence (DV) itself a major problem in families and communities, it is in fact, a major public health issue that is at epidemic proportions and is costing Billions of dollars and numerous lives. Currently, so is the intersection of DV with returning military personnel and contracting affiliates. 

A critical factor in both areas (DV and DV in Military families) is the issue of Mental Health that seems to be wedded to both areas... We have to talk about this! 

I recently conducted a brief search on DV and the Military to see what was out there. I found multiple documents on Task Forces established, Joint Meetings conducted and groups who gathered and publications prepared that outline policies, recommendations, practice and collaborations between civilian domestic abuse victim groups and military personnel. Obviously people know this is a problem. What is confusing (to me anyway) is why this information was not widely shared or a push for dissemination of this information has not yet filtered down to front-line advocates, police and criminal justice personnel in cities who are daily faced with the carnage and aftermath of domestic violence homicides or near fatal homicides involving military or affiliate personnel.

From my view, too few of us in the "field" of domestic violence are knowledgeable or equipped to deal with this intersection of DV and Military and Affiliate Personnel which is different from how we handle DV incidents and situations advocates have worked on over the past 30 plus years. This "thing" is a new "Beast" with many facets to it.

As an advocate, I know some of what I know about this issue from Debby Tucker, the Executive Director at the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence in Austin, TX. Debby served as co-chair of the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence (DTFDV). The Task Force examined responses to both offenders and victims and made recommendations for improvement of systems and collaboration with civilian groups, and reported annually to Congress. One Congressional achievement is the passage of the Armed Forces Domestic Security Act, by Representative Robin Hayes, (R-NC), who in just three months ensured full faith and credit enforcement of protection orders issued by civilian courts on military land. Where is this at now??

Bringing this issue home as I am certain other cities can do the same...a recent succession of domestic violence homicides and near fatal homicides with the majority involving military personnel brings to mind a stern warning to the "field", made by Dr. Gail Wyatt, UCLA in her keynote address at an IDVAAC Conference www.idvaac.org, a few years ago. To summarize, she said we (the field) must get prepared to respond to the greatest spike we will see in domestic violence incidents and death due to military personnel returning home. Since that time Dr. Wyatt said that, I have not able to table it to a back burner because she was adamant and deliberate in what and how she stated the concern.

Practitioners are seeing such cases now and the numbers are mounting. How can we begin to get a handle on this? There is some good information out there to educated ourselves on this issue and can use that as a base, however, each community must begin to come up with strategies collectively in work groups, CCRs, Task Forces, etc., on how to coordinate practices to deal with this issue that is destroying so many lives... Then too, there is the issue of the number of suicides by returning military, which is another issue and affirms that something is really not working.

More to come!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

UW-Milwaukee One Billion Rising

Asha Family Services participated in the UWM Women's Resource Center One Billion Rising flash mob to RISE against violence against women and girls.

STRIKE, DANCE, RISE!  End domestic violence, sexual violence, sex and human trafficking, child abuse, female mutilations, slave labor.

Together we can end violence and abuse against women and girls.

Rape in the Military, Domestic violence, sexual violence, murder, sex trafficking