News Release

“Epidemic” of Uniform Violence at Home


Harvard Health reports: “When lockdown is not actually safer: Intimate partner violence during COVID-19.”

STACY BANNERMAN, stacy at, @StacyBannerman
Bannerman is author of HOMEFRONT 911: How Families of Veterans Are Wounded by Our Wars. She is able to speak to issues of domestic violence by both police and military personnel. [See recent piece by retired colonel Ann Wright “Fort Hood a Dangerous Place for Women in the Military.”]

Bannerman said today: “Police violence does not stop on the streets. There is a black-and-blue line of domestic violence in the households of policemen. Research suggests that family violence is two to four times higher in the law-enforcement community than in the general population. and some 40 percent of police have reported having participated in domestic violence in the previous year.

“The uniform has protected police abuse at the expense of the spouse and family. It is the same Code of Silence that ensures the women and children who are victims of veteran domestic violence are invisible collateral damage that America refuses to acknowledge or discuss.

“According to the National Center for Women and Policing, The reality is that even officers who are found guilty of domestic violence are unlikely to be fired, arrested, or referred for prosecution, raising concern that those who are tasked with enforcing the law cannot effectively police themselves.”

The socially sanctioned horror of domestic violence by uniformed personnel is also suffered by the wives of combat veterans with PTSD, said Bannerman, who has written about it extensively and experienced it first-hand. Once married to a two-time Iraq War combat vet with severe PTSD, Bannerman said, “Domestic violence and sexual assault by military, particularly combat veterans with PTSD, is a serious problem, but these are problems among police, too. It is a hidden issue that, were it extrapolated to the general population, the epidemic of potentially lethal domestic violence in the homes of those who’ve worn the uniform would be a public health crisis.

“Research has found that veterans diagnosed with PTSD were significantly more likely to perpetrate violence toward their partners, with over 80 percent committing at least one act of violence in the previous year, and almost half at least one severe act, including strangulation, stabbing and shooting.

“Taxpayer dollars provide funds for training of police and military in use of force. It is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to constrain the use of force after the fact. Our collective failure to identify and address human-made and intergenerational trauma is especially egregious with far reaching negative ramifications.

“The issues involved are toxic masculinity, a culture centered on domination by brute force, and a process of dehumanizing and defining difference as deviance; rendering certain people ‘the other’ — typically people of color and/or women.”

Bannerman’s past articles include “High risk of military domestic violence on the home front.”