A MILspouse's WORST Fear
There are a host of fears that go along with being a military spouse. The first one that always comes to mind is, of course, the fear that your spouse will be killed while serving our country. While no fear has as deep an impact on our lives as that, there are undoubtedly other fears that we could compile into a list a mile long. Some of those fears are:
- Fear of your spouse losing a limb.
- Fear of your spouse having an unseen injury like PTSD or TBI.
- Fear of your spouse emotionally detaching themselves.
- Fear of your spouse deploying or going on extensive TDY's.
- Fear of your family having to pick up and move often.
- Fear of your kids not adjusting to new surroundings.
- Fear of not adjusting to new surroundings ourselves.
There is one not on the list of the average military spouse that is MY greatest fear. It is the fear that my spouse will be sexually assaulted. It may not be something many spouses think of… how many of you fear your spouse being raped or attacked sexually? How many of you would label that as your greatest fear as your loved one serves our nation while in a military uniform?
I am a male military spouse, or a “MANspouse”. And as a MANspouse with a wife serving in our military, the greatest fear I live with when my wife is gone for an extended period of time has nothing to do with death or the loss of a limb. It has everything to do with someone violating her sexually. I do not speak for all MANspouses when I share this, but I can say that I have heard the same thing from over a dozen others.
Currently the US Air Force is facing a nightmare as details emerge regarding the alleged sexual assault of over 30 women by as many as a dozen Training Instructors at Lackland, AFB in Texas. It should be noted that in some of the cases the sexual activity is being reported as consensual, and that although some TI’s have been charged, no one has been convicted of sexual assault at this time. But this scandal has certainly put our military under further scrutiny. Everyone is waiting to see how the reported sexual assault of our service members will be handled.
When my wife enlisted, her recruiter assured me that since she is a female she would be on a large FOB (Forward Operation Base) should she get deployed. He said while not immune from mortar attacks and things of that nature, she would be far from the front lines of war. It didn't take long for me to realize he didn't tell me the whole story. In fact, I would even say he bent the truth like a silly straw.
When my wife deployed she ended up on a VSO (Village Stability Operations) in Northern Afghanistan. A VSO is far from being a large FOB. In fact the VSO she was on had anywhere from 11-35 people on it at any given time. Not exactly the security of having an Army to protect her like I thought. During that deployment I was constantly worrying that someone would sneak in to her room in the middle of the night. I would literally worry myself sick coming up with scenarios in my mind of her being violated. Little did I know that her being at a VSO was probably the best place for her in regards to my biggest fear. Because it was so small, the group was more than a team… they were a family. They looked out for each other. But if she were to deploy again today, whether it was a VSO or a FOB, my biggest fear would still be her being sexually assaulted.
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