It’s not the headline in this brief story from the NY Times, but it should be. Women serving in the military divorce at a rate of about 7.7% per year, while the rate for military men is about 3%.
Everyone has his theory why this is the case. Mine is that the statistical gulf is a product of a combination of factors, ranging from the nontraditional roles both spouses have to play when a woman serves, to the continuing sexual harassment of women in our fighting forces. All these factors get exacerbated, of course, when we demand that the young men and women who sign up serve repeated overseas deployments.
And this is just divorce. There’s nothing in those numbers stated above about the divorce rate among military veterans; it’s just for those on active duty. Nor does the number address the rates of alcoholism, abuse, depression, or suicide among actively serving or military veterans and their families.
Nor does it address the marriages involving soldiers and sailors who don’t end in divorce but are nevertheless troubled. And of course, it also says nothing about the stress these separations are causing for the children of those serving in the military.