Local News

More Military Marriages Fly the Red, Black and Blue

Posted June 16, 1998

— The Department of Defense released statistics showing that marriages in the military are down, but domestic violence is on the rise.

Although the military said that one case of spousal abuse is too many, officials warned that the numbers could be deceiving.

Domestic violence experts say true spouse abuse is about control. While a job cannot be blamed for domestic violence, a soldier's deployment away from home can add strain to a relationship where previous violence has occurred.

"When the spouse returns, sometimes there is a transition period where there is a lot of stress when they try to get back to the arrangement they had before on who is responsible for what," Adult Services program administrator William Duke said.

The latest statistics from the Department of Defense show from 1990 to 1997, the spouse population has decreased 26.5 percent, but substantiated reports of spousal maltreatment have increased 5 percent.

While the numbers do seem alarming, Fort Braggs Family Advocacy Manager said that they are not. Henry Berry said that more people are reporting family violence, and the military has toughened its policy.

"The individual reaches out and pushes the spouse, at that point of time, we say spouse abuse," Berry said.

Berry said that military statistics include the entire spectrum, even emotional maltreatment. Most civilian studies only report severe cases of domestic violence. Fort Bragg says in the last couple of years, it has not seen an increase of domestic abuse on post.

Berry credits awareness and prevention programs.

Within the next 30 days, the family advocacy program at Fort Bragg will add a Victims Advocate to its staff, which is a position most police departments have as well.


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