military families

21 petitions

Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to U.S. Senate, Department of Defense

Change domestic abuse culture in the military

I am a proud mother and the estranged wife of an active duty solider in the United States Army. I am also a devout patriot of the United States of America and its armed forces. I suffered years of domestic abuse at the hands of my husband and I barely escaped with my children and my life. I am part of a large military family; since childhood, I have had an abundance of loyalty, love, and appreciation for those in the armed forces. When my husband began to abuse me, my lifelong perceptions of military life – the support I felt from my own military family – prompted me to seek intervention by following established channels. The steps I thought were correct ultimately put my children and I in even greater danger.After much planning and counseling for myself to fight through the fear. I took a leap of faith and went to the United States Air Force (USAF) Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate (DAVA) who reached out to the command. Instead of getting the support I thought I would receive after his command acknowledged the horrendous abuse and isolation the children, pets,& I endured and after they recognized the lack of loyalty and respect he had for his family, the U.S. Army, his team,& people in general, that they would make it clear to him that his behavior was unbecoming as a soldier and deal with him accordingly. Given the unit’s elite status, I expected nothing less. I was further isolated. Command provided my husband continuous support. My complaints were not addressed or resolved; instead, they made me a liability, Command deliberately interfered in my efforts to escape and continue life safely with our children on more than one occasion. Meanwhile, my husband was put through more special training in tactics and weaponry. I will always keep my faith and respect for the military and only look to make it greater through greater change. My children and I will ALWAYS be eternally grateful for the USAF DAVA and the large collection of military family, in particular the military wives who pulled together to make certain they did all they could within their power to persevere our lives and safety. This cannot stand, and I am hoping you will help me in my efforts to initiate meaningful change. FACT: Domestic abuse is now part of the culture. Domestic abuse has become the norm, not the exception. Nobody talks about it or questions it, so by default it becomes permissible, and then comfortable. When something like domestic abuse becomes comfortable in the culture, it is very, very difficult to change without enormous resistance. In the meantime, the number of military families ensnared in this very unhealthy but very comfortable cycle continues to grow.  We expect military families to support those who serve. This is a much greater burden in families where service members go through special training meant to transform soldiers into sophisticated military weapons. Their training diminishes personal attributes like remorse, conscience, and empathy, with a logical net result. The better these soldiers become as weapons, the less able they are to access what makes them human beings. We must recognize the cause and the inevitable effect: domestic abuse. I am writing today to ask for your help to exact CHANGE. I believe domestic abuse in military families is 1) NOT acknowledged and 2) NOT adequately dealt with. My own experience with my husband and his team was a terrifying example of what amounted to acceptance of abuse in the unit, and this was NOT an isolated case. Among my suggestions: • Give Military Advocates, NOT Command, decision-making authority, and hold THEM accountable for success or failure in the management of domestic abuse cases. Currently, a Military Advocate may make treatment “suggestions” when allegations of abuse are leveled against service members, but whether or not those suggestions are implemented is left to Command’s discretion, which often conflicts directly with the interests of victims. This policy needs immediate reevaluation. Command are not social workers. They don’t have the education about abuse psychology, intervention, and treatment that Military Advocates have. They need to remain duty-focused, not fair to other service members, & their families. Their heads should be in the fields and job duties not elsewhere. Military Advocates are often less intimidating and more approachable to victims than Command. It would benefit everyone involved if victims actively sought help before situations spiraled to dangerous levels. Military Advocates and intervention centers are better equipped to implement treatment like stress exercises and other preventative care into the home and to encourage awareness and provide support. If Military Advocates were the final decision makers, they could be more decisive, more proactive, and more effective keeping service members and their families safe. • Reevaluate procedures to protect privacy of medical records. Victims are often dependent upon abusers to transport them to doctor appointments, severely limiting them from reporting abuse privately to those who might protect and/or help them. One possible solution is to require family members to have a private initial visit with the doctor. During this visit, the doctor can establish a safe word or PIN to authorize the release of medical records. If a soldier then requests the release of a family member’s medical records – one way of maintaining control over an abuse victim -- without the safe word or PIN, the doctor could reasonably suspect abuse and contact the appropriate Military Advocate. • Make regular physical well-checks for all members of military families MANDATORY. This is the only way to record and track family members’ well-being and the best way to detect early signs of domestic abuse. • Establish frequent contact between military families and support services, and increase training and awareness so Military Advocates can detect abusive situations earlier. Establish clear procedures for domestic abuse victims to follow to report and/or escape abusive situations and avoid creating more isolation. Communicate these procedures clearly and frequently to military families.• If a service member displays unhealthy or unfavorable behavior on duty, require Military Advocates to check in on families and perform stress management evaluations. • Allow domestic abuse victims to transition OUT of abusive situations without interference by military personnel (Command, unit members). When victims choose to exit abusive situations, proactively prevent abusers from accessing information regarding the victims or their whereabouts. • Implement and require treatment for both victims and abusers in cases where abuse is suspected. Foster independence by facilitating recovery for victims and abusers. Discourage unhealthy codependent abusive relationships.• When service members have an open protective orders against them, require Command to notify victim(s) about post reassignments or other location changes that might put the victim(s) in danger. Make Command accountable if they do not comply.• Allow victims/survivors to have full range to document their entire experience vs given the one page questioners provided during the intervention processes. Give them more voice! • Allow command to support their service member through encouraged treatment plans. The military advocates will share information pertaining to their job functions with primary focus of healthy mental, emotional,& physical healthcare. • Put all actions and treatment(s) made accessible under the "military umbrella" vs the "military branch". Help save ALL lives on both ends of abuse!

Selena Jyoti
52 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Congress, Tom MacArthur, Omnidian, Lease Dimensions, Sungevity, Horizon Solar Power, Solar Specturm, Catania Solar, Lowe's Home Improvement

Stop Predatory Solar Companies from Taking Advantage of American Families!

  We need your help to stop fraudulent companies from taking advantage of hard-working American families.  This petition is on behalf of an American (and Military) family that has been victimized by a fraudulent solar company that knowingly entered into unconsionable contracts with them, promising savings that never materialized and threatening financial harm in response to reasonable requests to terminate their contract.  These companies need to understand that treating American families unfairly, especially those in the military, is not something that will be tolerated.  They need to be held accountable for their predatory practices and those that have invested in these companies need to be investigated to see how many of them knew about these predatory business dealings prior to investing in these companies. The companies that need to be investigated are:  Omnidian, Lease Dimensions, Sungevity, Horizon Solar Power, Solar Spectrum, Catania Solar The investors in these companies are: Northern Pacific Group, Genpact  It was also presented to this family at the time that they signed-up that they were also affiliated with Lowe's Home Improvement corporation so we are also asking the leadership at Lowe's to end all ties, if there are any, with these companies. HERE IS WHAT WE WANT TO ACHIEVE: -Our government, either at the state or federal level, needs to investigate these companies, and their investors, as soon as possible to determine the extent of their unlawful activity.  PLEASE WRITE YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES.  YOU CAN CUT AND PASTE THIS INTO A LETTER! -The companies mentioned above need to respond immediately to the family mentioned below and assist, in a reasonable manner, in the termination of their contract. -The investors and partners of these companies need to be made aware of the unconscionable behavior of the companies in which they are affiliated with. -We ask that every person that signs this position NOT enter into a contract with any of the companies mentioned above until proper remedial action is taken. Here is the story from the family directly, written to their Congressional Representative, Mr. Tom MacArthur: "My family has fallen victim to predatory lending practices that violate not only federal statutes but also New Jersey statutes. Every day I see more solar panels on homes in my neighborhood and I’m worried my neighbors will also be victimized. I’m asking you to take immediate action to initiate investigation into the lending practices of solar panel leasing organizations. Though I am not a lawyer, I have begun to investigate these practices on behalf of myself and other citizens. Based upon my initial investigation, our solar leasing company, Sungevity, violated US Code Title 15, Chapter 41, Statute 1667a - Consumer Lease Disclosure; The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act; and the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 USC 45. To make it personal - my husband, a United States Marine, is being transferred by his employer in December. As part of that transfer, we are required to sell our home. The relocation company will not move forward with our relocation purchase until the solar panels on our home are either removed or we are given a contract that will allow us to own them outright (continuation of the existing lease is not an option). We leased these solar panels in 2011. We were told we were protecting ourselves against 6% rising energy rates, that we would save about $10,000 over the life of the lease, and that if we ever had to move it would be no problem. We were told the lease would be easily assumable by a buyer or we could pay off the contract and have them removed. We were told the company was trustworthy because it was a partner of Lowe’s. With these things in mind, we decided to do what we thought was best for the environment and go solar. Six years into the lease, the savings promised have not materialized. Our solar company, Sungevity, went bankrupt and its successor companies, Omnidian and Lease Dimensions, have failed to live up to their end of the bargain with clients, failing to monitor our systems and being unreachable for weeks at a time. Finding out the payoff amount for our system involved a great deal of research, as all the contact information on my bill is inaccurate. When I was informed of the amount needed to get out of our lease, it was $18,000. When I asked them to explain their numbers because that seemed off (Max over 15 years was $22,000), they DOUBLED the amount in retaliation! Now they say we have to give them $36,000 whether we remove the panels from our house or keep them there. Thats $14,000 more than the maximum amount I was supposed to pay over the life of the entire lease!   This company knows we must resolve this before we move and they are being intentionally inflexible, though they themselves urged me to “make an offer” and made it clear they didn’t have the wherewithal to remove the panels from my roof at this time. I’ve consulted with an attorney who believes it is in my best interests to negotiate with the company since I don’t have time to waste. However, he does believe their violation of 15 USC 41 to be very clear. I’m hoping that our State and Federal Legislators will look further into this situation and put legislation in force to protect all future victims of these practices as well as to look for a way to help past victims, like ourselves, who are already in leases whose terms violate the laws created to protect consumers. Please don’t let these corporations with their promises of environmental impact and monetary savings be the ones who benefit from Americans going solar at the expense of American consumers.      

Jennifer McCart
529 supporters
Started 4 months ago

Petition to Donald Trump, Defense secretary Mattis

Stop the RECP Program on Military Bases

The RECP program sounded like a good idea at the time. RECP = Resident Energy Conservation Program. The gist of it is to make military families living aboard bases more responsible for their electric consumption by installing meters in their homes and charging families for electric use above what is considered 'normal'.  *This was a President Clinton intiative that was enforced by President Obama* Military Homes on Base/Post were not built for independent billing The great majority of homes built on our military bases were not wired for independent electric billing. Many homes have been found to be connected to street lights, common utilities, their neighbor's homes. Furthermore, when families are in excess, they can receive bills of several hundred dollars and are faced with eviction if they can't pay their bills. They ask for help, yet the housing managers cannot prove why their use is so high. If those bills aren't paid, the housing management goes to the service member's command -- many times resulting in a bad counseling report and the service member can lose their job.  Military families are not LIVING normally in their homes Our military families are living in fear. Fear of the high bills they can't afford. They shut off their breakers when they leave their home to ensure they don't get a bill. They do their laundry at laundromats out in town. They take cold showers and anything else to reduce electric consumption in their homes. This affects the net consumption for the neighborhood and essentially punishes families bathing their children, using their dishwasher, etc. THIS ISN'T LIVING! The conditions at Camp Pendleton, California show hot homes where children are sleeping in 85+ degree rooms with no AC, yet still may see a several hundred dollar bill for running fans trying to keep their home cool. See here: Not all homes share the same energy efficient appliances. If a neighbor has a newer, more energy efficient fridge or dishwasher, and your home has old clunky appliances that housing refuses to replace, you're stuck paying higher electric bills. Not all homes have the same family size. Some homes may have two people. Some may have six. Some may have a service member deployed.  There is NO WAY that you can evenly monitor and assess electric bills between homes that were never wired independently, with all of the circumstances above, to make it fair for our families with a 10% buffer.  Furthermore, the civilian housing managers have the ability to change and manipulate the data collected. In one instance, we found a bill that DID NOT match SDGE's electric meter use. They were off by several hundred kWh for 10 months.   We have spent the last year begging leadership to audit the program. It's fallen on deaf ears.  Please stop the program NOW  It's not working and it is hurting the readiness of our military. In fact, there was a recent congressional report that stated the base conservation program wasn't working, now they need to recognize it's not working in the homes as well: Our service members, military spouses, and their children deserve better than this. Our military families are ripped apart for months and sometimes years on end, serving faithfully through 16 years of war. Deployment after deployment. Don't our veterans deserve a hot shower when they come home from the field? Don't our military spouses deserve to bathe their children without worrying how much electricity they're consuming?  #EndRECP

Kristine Schellhaas
52,924 supporters