Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Intimate Partner Violence Among Military Women

Official U.S. Navy Page/

"About 60 percent of military women say they have received severe or repeated sexual harassment. 13 percent report sexual assault during their service. At the same time, another health issue involving women in the military has stayed mostly below the radar. That's the issue of intimate partner violence," says host Barbara Lewis.

A recent report from the Journal of Women's Health brought attention to the issue of intimate partner violence among military women.

The problem is underreported, according to Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, the director of the Eskenazi Health'sCenter of Excellence in Women's Health

According to the Journal of Women's Health, 36 percent of women have reported physical, psychological or sexual abuse from their partner during their time in service. "It's probably double or triple that," says Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber of the percentage. 

"For so long, women and men haven't been not bringing it up, not talking about it, perhaps being embarrassed about it or upset that it could happen to them. So that when this came up, especially with some of the recent events that have occurred, we needed to be able to discuss not only military sexual trauma and violence, but intimate partner violence within a military setting," says Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber. 

Intimate partner violence "At first it can be very embarrassing, that this is someone who you trusted. This is somebody who you had a personal relationship with... The anticipation is that you can take care of yourself, so when this happens to you from somebody who you had a personal relationship with, it's very disconcerting."

How abuse is viewed: Department of Defense vs. Civilian Court "If somebody has complained of an episode of physical violence which included strangulation. The person didn't die, wasn't permanently injured... From the department of defense, that isn't treated as severe abuse, because, for the Department of Defense, they require that it results in a major injury...But it would be in the civilian courts."

Being aware of problems from the beginning "One of the highlights of this study is that we do need to look at this from the very beginning. What happens is that the complications are so significant, that it impacts their abilities so much, so far down the line."