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Domestic violence victims face unique challenges in the military

If your spouse is in the military and is abusing you, you might feel confused and isolated from getting help. However, you are not alone, since domestic violence is not an uncommon problem for civilians and military families alike. This is a double-edged sword – spousal abuse is a tragic issue, yet its widespread prevalence has ensured that you and other victims in Kentucky and across the U.S. have resources to help.

There are many factors of living with an abuser in the military that may differ from a civilian family’s situation, including the following:

  • Your spouse has had combat training and knows how to inflict harm with the most impact.
  • He or she may have access to firearms and other weapons.
  • Your spouse may have post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety or other conditions related to experiencing combat, which might exacerbate violence in the home.

The Huffington Post states that many victims with spouses in the military fear reporting the abuse because of the potential impact it may have on their spouse’s career in the armed forces. However, you should not feel as if you must continue subjecting yourself to emotional or physical abuse to help your spouse further his or her career. The military has its own system to investigate and deal with allegations of abuse, which includes protecting abused spouses and children.

If you are ready to get out of an abusive situation, it can help your case to document evidence of the abuse, such as taking pictures of bruises or obtaining medical records of treatment you received after being injured by your spouse. If the abuse is mainly psychological, you might be able to record your spouse shouting, belittling you or making threats, or write down the behavior in a journal.

It is also a good idea to gather money, documents, clothing and other items you will need and keep them in a safe place your spouse does not know about. You will then need to report the abuse to your spouse’s superiors in the military and seek counsel from an attorney with experience in military divorce and domestic violence.

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