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Story ID:9289
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Every city Every state USA
Person:Battered women
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By Fred Wickert

I served for twenty years in the Air Force as a police officer. Military police have to contend with all the same things civilian police have to contend with in addition to many other things that are specific only to the military. After I retired from the Air Force I took a job in a town near my home as the Chief of Police. It was a small town and I was the only full time police officer. In addition to myself were five part time officers. Two of those were female officers.

As Chief on a small force like that, you find yourself often doing the same work as a patrolman and an investigator or detective at the same time, and then you do all the required paper work that larger departments have clerks to do for them.

In the Air Force family quarters we had the same type domestic quarrels to handle as we had in civilian life, but usually to a lesser extent than in civilian life. The main reason for that is the military is far more rigid than civilian courts and it is not allowed to get as far out of control as it sometimes is in civilian lives with civilian laws.

I did observe some things about these domestic dispute cases that were very much the same. One of those things was the frequency of alcohol involvement. In at least 85% of the cases there was alcohol involved. Sometimes both parties were drinking and sometimes just one party or the other was drinking but it was a huge factor.

Another very high percentage involved a particular type of female victim. These women I call born losers. I call them that because they seem to turn out that way. In the military the frequency was less, because in the military if we had to respond to a domestic dispute a report was mandatory. Whether an arrest was made or not, a full report had to be made. The report went to the individualís commanding officer and the person had some explaining to do.

In civilian law, unless an arrest was made, there was only a desk blotter report made. There was no action taken on it. In the event of an arrest, an arrest report had to be filled out, often finger prints and ID photo were taken and filed. A deposition of the investigating officer had to be filed and supporting deposition of the person filing charges and any witness statements had to be taken. Evidence, if any, had to be collected and properly marked. If injuries were involved injured parties had to be marked as evidence. If there were physical injuries they had to be photographed and measured and recorded. Much work had to be done and all of it was recorded. Sometimes small children were involved and occasionally transported to the emergency room and doctor reports had to be collected and child protective services had to be called and disposition of the children had to be documented.

These domestic abuse cases often involved the same people. They were what we called repeat offenders. These cases were very frustrating. You went to the residence in response to a call. It was always late at night, and the guy was always drunk and he always had been using his fists and/or some weapon to beat the woman with. Sometimes the woman was his wife and sometimes just living with the guy. Sometimes it was bad. The woman always had ugly bruises and sometimes there were teeth knocked out, the nose broken, one or both eyes swollen shut and sometimes even a broken finger, wrist or arm.

The responding officer always immediately put the guy in hand cuffs, if he was there, and he usually was. The woman almost always protested. The officer asked her to press charges and she said, ďOh no, I donít want him to get in trouble. Canít you just take him away just for the night? Heíll be okay in the morning.Ē

The officer had to explain, which she has usually heard before, that he cannot make him do anything. If she signs a complaint, then he can be arrested for assault, taken to a judge and the judge will order him to be locked up in jail. The victim will then protest that he didnít mean it. He just had too much to drink. He wonít do it again. She donít want him to go to jail, she loves him.

This happened over and over and over again with the same people. In the state where I was working the law was finally changed. It became automatic that if you got the call and had to respond and if there were any marks at all, the officer then had to make an arrest and the couple had to go to Family Court the next morning. One spent the night in jail and the other got an appearance ticket ordering them to appear before the court. Frequently the court ordered counseling and released them. In two weeks or less there was another call at the same place.

These females were beaten repeatedly. Often many times the woman finally got herself separated from the man beating her only to get involved with another man who beat her worse than the last guy did. They just seemed to be drawn to guys who beat them badly. Why? I never understood why and I never met another officer who understood why.

I remember one woman I thought was an especially tragic case. She was a woman in her mid thirties. She was not unattractive. She had nice hair and her figure wasnít bad. She was not especially pretty but she wasnít really homely either. She had been in three of these abusive relationships. I had talked her in to getting some counseling to try to help her break the cycle.

One day she approached me on the street. She was so happy and just bubbling over. She wanted me to know she was getting married in a week or two. She had found what she believed to be a wonderful man. She said he was such a gentleman. He took her out on dates to the movies and other events. They had gone to some church suppers together. He didnít drink and he always treated her with respect. He had never once asked her for sex. After they got married they were going to live in an upstairs apartment next to a farm machinery dealer. I knew the place she referred to. I congratulated her and I felt so happy for her. I thought finally she was going to live a normal life.

A few weeks later I saw her on the street again one day. I asked her how things were going with her new husband. She replied that it was all wrong and she did not know what to do. I asked her why? We had not received any calls that there was any trouble at her new apartment. She replies there was nothing like that. He was not beating her. She went on to explain that after the wedding was over and they went to the apartment, there was another man sitting there watching TV.

Her new husband introduced her to the man. He told her this was his friend and informed her that he and his friend were going to be sleeping together in the master bed room and she could have the other bed room by herself. Her role was to cook and clean house and do the laundry. In turn she had a place to stay and food for herself and she had the respectability of being a married woman. She had all she needed including spending money. She just was not going to be sleeping with him.

I could not believe what I was hearing. It was an unusual twist, but psychologically I think it had to be as bad as the physically abusive relationships she was in before that. So many women go from one bad relationship to another and cannot break the cycle. Why? Are they just born that way? Are they really born losers? I donít know but it does seem that way.

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