Wednesday, September 07, 2005
The military and our personal lives: How little is too little?

This post is going to probably be a little all over the place, because that's where my feelings are at. Please bear with me.

The military, as most know, has a lot of rules and regulations. Down to the smallest detail of your personal life, the military can find a way to control it if they feel the need. In general, there are good leaders with good morals who only step in when needed. There are some leaders that chose not to step in even when they absolutely should.

For the rest of this post, NCO (for those who don't know) refers to a non-commissioned officer. Ex. Sergeant, first sergeant ect. They are not the highest people in charge, but they are the soldiers in charge of making sure everything is running smoothly on a daily basis, and knowing when a problem needs to be handled by someone with more authority than themselves.

As I've probably told the story of my experience with homelessness before, I won't go over it again. That was an example of NCOs not doing enough, and not going to a higher officer for help when they couldn't solve a problem.

We recently had an incident of spousal abuse in which both the husband (who is an NCO) and the wife were arrested for a short time. The husband had not a scratch on him, and the wife had two black eyes, cuts and bruises, and a temporary vision problem. The wife is facing charges for assault, while the husband is not facing any charges. The husband isn't facing any punishment by his superiors for the abuse either, even though since he was arrested he definately should be suffering some kind of consequences.

The wife left, and will be returning soon for court. She intends to have her husband removed from housing on her arrival so no further abuse can occur. In the meantime, her and her two young children are sharing a one bedroom apartment with her mother and sister. They have absolutely no income, and have no access to his accounts, as he took her name off those a few months prior.

I am upset because this is an NCO who is in charge (though not directly) of my husband and many other married soldiers. If there was ever an incident of abuse, I (or any other wife) would have to report it to an abuser. It would then get put 'under the rug' or 'in the closet' where all of the other Bad-things-that-need-to-be-addressed-further go. How safe can anyone feel reporting abuse when they know there is no help coming? How could anyone report abuse knowing that it will be overlooked and the abuser will be coming back home at the end of the day?

At first when I knew their relationship was on its way to trouble, I asked her "Why don't you just leave?"

Now I know there is no JUST in leaving. How is a nineteen year old girl with two babies of her own supposed to just up and leave with no income, no car, no place to go? This abuse came so quickly. Sure, they were having a hard time getting along, but those tell-tale signs of abuse? There were none. I figured they were going to verbally fight their way to lawyers offices to file for divorce, making nasty comments to one another the whole way. She was just as blind to it as I was apparently.

And the NCO in charge....his way of helping? He told her she still has health insurance. YAY! Three adults and two children sharing a one bedroom apartment. Health insurance. Fair trade, no?

Granted, this woman (or girl if you will) is lucky enough to have her mother living in this state. God forbid this happened when they were still stationed in Germany, or across the country as opposed to across the state. With no money and no transportation, there would be NO WAY for her to get out while the NCOs sit and tell her she's fine and to stop making her husband's life harder than it has to be.

There's worse news. This obviously isn't the first time something like this has been covered up. Problems like these don't come along and very strategically disappear. It's clear to me that the NCOs in charge support spousal abuse by the lack of response to such a serious situation.

While there are some very good NCOs here, I wonder why the bad ones seem to out number them. It's sad really.






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