Dear Ms. Vicki,
I have a huge problem that has caused me to live in shame.
I met my wife while serving on an embassy assignment.
She told me she was abused by her family, and her parents would "whip her with a jungle switch." They would also call her ugly, and she was teased and bullied a lot growing up and as an adult. I felt so bad for her, and I guess I saw potential in her. I wanted to make her happy.
I married her three years ago and, since then, my life has been a living hell. She has actually gone outside to do what she calls "picking a jungle switch" and she beat me with it!
Nothing I do is right, and she gets mad about everything. Please keep in mind that I have provided her with the best of everything, more than she has ever had. She has her own car, a home, the best clothes -- she even has her hair, fingernails, toenails and make-up done professionally. Yet she still mistreats me.
I know how it is as a Marine. If I get physical with her, or do anything to defend myself, I could lose my career.
I have even gone to work with whelps on my arm and one across my face where she hit me with the jungle switch. I don't have any friends anymore because she doesn't like them. She has acted so mean toward them that now nobody wants to come around.
I have lost my relationships with my parents and most of my family because no one wanted me to marry her.
I feel like everything in our life is like she wants it, with me isolated away from the world to continue suffering her abuse. I don't know how much I can take anymore, but I don't know what to do.
-- Sick of Mean Abusive Wife
I'm not trying to emasculate you when I say that my heart goes out to you. I know there are many men who are in physically abusive relationships, and the overwhelming majority of them will never report the abuse. Instead, they continue to live in shame and in hiding, keeping the abuse a secret from everyone.
Let me be clear: What your wife is doing is criminal. She is a criminal. It's abuse, and it's against the law.
It's not OK because it's a woman whipping you, a man, with a "jungle switch."
Obviously, your wife is woman who is in a lot of pain. Only someone in a great deal of pain would dare go and choose a switch to physically beat someone else. She was abused, teased and bullied. I get it, but she is still responsible for her own actions now. She has to stop directing this displaced anger at you. To my mind, it's even sicker that she has a name for it, a "jungle switch." Her actions are shameful.
However, that doesn't mean you should hang your head in shame. I have to be on your side, just as I would if a man were physically assaulting his wife. You need to take pictures of the whelps and any bruising. Call the MPs on her if she goes toward that tree or starts to get any object to hit you with, or if she hits or threatens you in any way.
Visit the Marine Family Services office immediately and ask to speak to a Victim's Advocate. They will help you get out of this abusive marriage.
I know you don't want to fight back, but defending yourself against her attacks is something totally different. Get help and don't let her get away with this.
Lastly, talk to your commander about moving into the barracks immediately for protection. Please keep in touch with me. I'm worried about you.
-- Ms. Vicki