Intimate Partner Violence: Insights into Military Personnel and Veterans

In connection with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, BWJP is excited to release a unique training resource, Intimate Partner Violence: Insights into Military Personnel and Veterans. This training tool features an in-depth interview with Hector Matascastillo, an Army Ranger and combat veteran who was arrested after abusing his wife. In the aftermath of his arrest, Matascastillo was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and he began a transformative journey of change, which is recounted in this film.

Hector describes the abuse of his wife, and how it was complicated by the PTSD symptoms he experienced:

Every action ... was meant to show power: "look at how powerful I am, look at how strong I am, I can destroy the phone, I can slam the door...I can do all these things that can control." She was afraid of me.

I had started having dissociative episodes that I wasn't aware of ... so there was quite a bit of crawling around, sometimes at night, or she reported a couple times where she would lean over, cause I’m having a nightmare, and I would turn on her and be on top of her. She said there was times I would tell her to get down on the ground...there was one time there was a big huge explosion from a car backfiring or something, and I picked her up, threw her in the air, got on top of her and started crawling and giving her commands. So I would, in my moments of stress, go straight to that instinct. And it was never...I can't imagine living with me during those days...everything had to be scary during that time.

The film includes interviews with April Gerlock Ph.D., an expert on intimate partner violence (IPV) involving military personnel and veterans. Gerlock explains the relationship between PTSD and IPV, and provides insights into the challenges in distinguishing the two. The film is accompanied by a facilitator's guide, authored by Michael Paymar, a recognized authority in working with men who batter and the author of Violent No More. Together, the guide and film provide a deeper understanding into the experiences and thinking of military personnel and veterans who have used violence in intimate relationships and how interveners should respond in these cases.

The resource is designed for presentations and training on military-related intimate partner violence and is intended to further our understanding of IPV, especially among professionals who intervene with victims/survivors and IPV perpetrators. The guide is divided into modules with accompanying learning objectives and background notes to assist trainers and facilitators in preparing their presentations of varying lengths. This tool will be particularly valuable for victim advocates in the military and civilian sectors, military Family Advocacy Program (FAP) personnel, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) personnel, judges, prosecutors, probation officers, military police and civilian law enforcement officers, and others in the criminal justice system and human service fields.

Glenna Tinney Retires

picture of Glenna TinneyIt has been our pleasure and honor to have worked with Glenna Tinney as the Military Advocacy Program Coordinator. Among her many accomplishments at BWJP, Glenna has worked tirelessly to develop a model coordinated community response to co-occurring incidents of combat-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and intimate partner violence. She engaged in national dialogue to influence legal, military, veteran, and public policy developments nationwide that affect civil and criminal justice system responses to intimate partner violence involving military personnel and veterans. Glenna has been a fearless advocate for over three decades working to facilitate change in both the civilian and military systems to eliminate violence against women. Working with Glenna has challenged all of us to be better advocates!