War is an act that affects people on the home front as much as it does on the battlefront. According to a report from the Department of the Army, child abuse in Army families is three times higher in homes from which a parent was deployed. From 2001 through 2011, alcohol use associated with physical domestic violence in Army families increased by 54%, and with child abuse by 40%. This is a volatile arena, and a New York Times journal entry showed how bad it can get.
Jackie McMichael is from Durham, N.C., and was married for 15 years to an officer in the North Carolina National Guard. She recently decided to pen an editorial for the Times because once she got divorced, all her benefits were cut off, including those for the four children she had with the officer.
McMichael wants to make it clear that she held their family together, and even when he got back from his tour of duty, had to try to make their family work during the dark times. That's because her now-ex-husband had traumatic brain injury on top of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being in the military. She feels that by immediately getting cut out of life-altering benefits, the United States military is doing a disservice to her and thousands like her.
"Veterans need to learn how to reintegrate into their families and how to take care of those families again," McMichael writes, "how to trust their spouses again. As a caregiver, you are put in a position of authority over your spouse, doling out daily "what to do's," managing the finances. What toll does that take on a marriage that is supposed to be built on equal partnership?"
After Divorce, Losing Veterans' Support Along With a Spouse (NY Times)
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