Conflict that becomes Domestic Violence - A Domestic Violence Awareness Month Series

  • Published
  • By Cynthia M. Wyatt
  • Family Advocacy Program

Everyone thinks that domestic violence will not happen in MY family. And, we say boldly, “I will leave anyone who ever hits me…or calls me that name…or stalks my cell phone…or forces sex…or won’t let me touch the bank account!”

But what happens can be quite different. People DO stay in abusive relationships for a variety of reasons:

  • We hope it isn’t going to happen again (it does).
  • We are financially dependent and have nowhere to go.
  • We have children together and believe parents should stay together come what may.
  • We made a promise, and our religious beliefs encourage us to stay.
  • We might lose access to our children (the #1 reason men stay in abusive relationships).
  • We are afraid no one will believe us and that it could get worse.
  • We don’t want to ruin our partner’s career even though we just want it to stop.
  • We don’t even recognize domestic violence when it is happening to us because we don’t define it as such.

So, let’s define domestic violence/maltreatment.

Physical Abuse: hitting, pushing, pulling limbs/hair, scratching, restraining, biting, kicking, applying force to the throat, holding under water, brandishing, or using a weapon.

Emotional Abuse: Interrogating, berating, isolating, restricting access to economic resources or military services/benefits or obstructing access to care, threatening to harm partner or those they care about, damaging or destroying property, or stalking partner (that can mean looking through a partner’s cell phone without their permission—which we see often leads to violence).

Sexual Abuse: Sexual acts/touching without the partner’s consent, using force, or coercion.

Neglect: Withholding necessary care or assistance to a spouse who is incapable of self-care.

If any of these or similar scenarios are happening to you or someone you know, refer them to the Family Advocacy Program. Our goal is to prevent family violence, intervene when it is present, and help families learn skills which will lower their risk for maltreatment.

We recognize that it may be hard to report cases to us because people fear it will ruin the active-duty member’s career. Our experience is that Commanders just want their member to get the help they need. They know the mission will run smoothly if families are healthy.

Call us to consult at 719-556-8943..