Letters to the Editor

Domestic abuse: Navy needs better policy

This is a response to Greg Fischer’s June 21 “Soundoff” column in the Whidbey News-Times titled “Navy Takes care of its own.”

Reporter Jessie Stensland’s story pointed out there are no set rules. The service member’s command is responsible for taking action. This permits the action to be biased based on the command’s feelings about the member, rather than the facts.

Some abusers go through the Navy’s anger management class and “men ending violence” course. People with a long history of violence are not going to benefit from group therapy. In fact it provides them with more tools. In most cases they suffer from anti-social disorders from deep seated issues that started in childhood. Long-term abusers develop skills of charm and manipulation that make it hard for the victim because people are sucked into the charm of the abuser.

The Navy must change their system of handling domestic violence. They are in a unique position to make a significant difference. What happened to Mrs. Brown should have been stopped a long time ago. The Navy may “take care of its own,” as Mr. Fischer writes, but it sometimes protects and covers for them. In abuse cases it’s inappropriate!

Have you ever been a prisoner of your own home, Mr. Fischer? Afraid to leave your family unattended? Have you ever dropped to your knees the minute you heard a particular vehicle pulling in the driveway to pray that nothing bad would happen this day? Have you ever lived in fear?

I don’t write this to bash the Navy. The Navy is an important part of our economy and an intricate part of our military forces. I write it because I care about people, all people. Things need to change in both the Navy and civilian sector. The military is the largest employment agency in the United States. Do you complain to Seattle papers when they point out something bad about Boeing or Microsoft? The Navy being a large part of this community doesn’t give it the right to be protected and coddled from news. It’s a well-known fact that long term domestic violence often results in a serious and volatile ending.

The article about Mrs. Brown brought forth true facts. It’s not an isolated problem unique to just her case. In the past year I’ve found three other individuals by accident that were treated the same way. How many Mrs. Browns does there have to be before something is done? My goal is that there not be even one more.

It’s a statistical fact that children that grow up in abusive families are more likely to become abusive adults. I don’t think the military should be applauded for protecting the service member in order to “take care of their own,” thereby pushing our youth further down this path to continue the cycle as adults.

W. Turner

Oak Harbor

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