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The blurred lines between military service and domestic violence

Many California families include combat veterans of the U.S. military. Some of these brave service members have completed one, two or more tours of duty overseas during war time. Adjusting to civilian life post deployment often includes serious challenges. Many military veterans suffer unseen injuries, the sources of which are not always apparent. For instance, many Gulf War veterans continue to suffer various adverse cognitive, physical and mental conditions related to their service, but substantiating the link between the two remains a challenging quest.

The marriages and family lives of military veterans who have served in foreign wars often suffer when service members return home. Those who do not succumb to divorce often face ongoing trials and tribulations that sometimes necessitate a need to seek outside intervention. A major issue in some of these households is domestic violence.

It's never okay

Whether you're a victim of domestic violence or someone has wrongfully accused you of the same, neither circumstance is ever appropriate. There's often a stigma that causes military veterans and their spouses or other family members to hesitate when it comes to sharing their stories or reaching out for support. Many military families report the following situations:

  • Spouses stay in abusive situations because they believe it's their duty to the nation to do so.
  • Many stay silent because of stereotypes categorizing all military war veterans as ticking time bombs, always on edge and ready to blow their tempers.
  • Abused spouses seeking medical attention often lie about the source of their injuries because they worry about exposing their spouses' post-traumatic stress disorders.
  • Emergency hot-line workers say they often receive calls from military spouses who are victims of domestic violence.
  • A top researcher at the Department of Veterans Affairs says military service members with PSTD are three times as likely to become violent as others.

Some who have suffered abuse said they were afraid if they left their spouses, they'd quickly become financially destitute. These and many other personal reasons often lead to people staying in problematic situations rather than proactively seeking assistance to protect themselves and their families. Many families where domestic violence is a troubling issue include children. It's often the children's best interests that prompts abused parents to take legal action.

It's no secret that the U.S. government has been lambasted on many occasions for its alleged failure to help returning military veterans and their spouses as they navigate the often troubled waters of PTSD. Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the topic as it relates to domestic violence may request a confidential meeting with an experienced family law attorney to discuss a particular situation.

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