The war does not end: domestic violence in the ATO soldiers families

Author : Iryna Vyrtosu

Source : 112 Ukraine

After a war, a person cannot be better or worse; this person just becomes different..
23:30, 31 August 2016

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My husband went to war as a volunteer. He has not been a realized person before the war, our family life was not very comfortable. He thought that the war would fix everything. After coming back, everything became even worse. I have realized that my husband needs some help. He cannot sleep at night. He suffers from the nightmares, exclaiming: “Mines! Look out! Explosions!” He did it uncontrollably. He thought that alcohol would help, but everything got worse. It affects not only me, but our little son as well. Now he is treated in a rehabilitation center. I would not say that the war became the cause of our split up. The war has exacerbated complicated relations..."

This is the story of ATO soldier’s wife. It is about psychological violence. Although experts say that now other kinds of violence have increased: physical, sexual, and economic, which rarely become public.

The problem of domestic violence did not appear "yesterday."

Thus, the international human rights organization "La Strada Ukraine" provides the following data: in 2015, "9135 complainers "called the national hot-line. More than a half concerned the protection from domestic violence (54.4%). The number of appeals from women from military families, or those who have seen war firsthand, increases.

For the first three months of 2016, 7910 calls have been recorded. 94.3% of them are prevention of domestic violence.

However, there is no separate statistics on cases of domestic violence in the ATO families. In January-March this year, 25,929 complaints about domestic violence were recorded.

Is domestic violence in the ATO families "distinctive"? No. Violence is always violence, and there are no excuses for it.

The war means being in extreme points for a long time. The man must quickly think and quickly act showing some extraordinary abilities.

Related: Ukraine and OSCE coordinate placement of police mission amid escalated violence in Donbas

And the body responds to three reactions: stop or run away, defend yourself or attacks. Warriors with the combat experience instinctively respond to any danger very quickly. They have no time to reflect and accommodate everything that happens, as all they are in a state of alert. Of course, all these things change a person.

After a war, a person cannot be better or worse; this person just becomes different.

During the time that the husband was on the war, he has changed; and his wife has changed a lot too. The long absence of the father leaded to the redistribution of responsibilities. Moreover, the whole family lived in constant fear. In reality, the battle can take place once a day or one time for five days, while for the wife it continues for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Related: RFE/RL: At least 31,350 people suffered in Donbas conflict, - UN

And often the couple expects from each that after coming back from the ATO zone, the person to be the same.

The male soldier should be understood, his experience should be taken. His relatives must understand that he has seen the death, he shot the people, he lost his comrades, and suffered a lot.

A real hero is the one who deserves to be him. And the Ukrainian society is often abused by excessive heroization. For example, there are situations, if you are a soldier ATO, no one can criticize you, you must be always listened, and your fines for speeding or disorderly should be forgiven.

Heroism does not mean remain irresponsible after commit crimes or domestic violence.

The reverse side of heroism is a false sense that you cannot be weak, you have no right to cry or make mistakes... Heroism is only one part of the individual. Man is a hero because of his inner qualities, but he should not always be in this role.

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