Jon's Story

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In 2018, US Navy Petty Officer Jonathan Stremel and his autistic son were being physically attacked and abused. Stremel went to the Navy’s domestic violence shelter and they turned him away because on the basis of gender. He was told that it would be “inappropriate for a man to be in a shelter” and that male victims do not get the same services as women do. As a result, he and his son were abused again. And again. And again. They turned him and his son away 4 times, never called the police, never called Child Protective Services, and refused to make a report of any kind.

When Stremel tried to appeal their actions within his chain of command, they not only tried to cover up the discrimination, but orchestrated a smear campaign to label Stremel as a child abuser instead of the victim. Although the Navy eventually admitted they lied about Stremel abusing his son, the damage has been done. Stremel lost full custody of his son and spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to hold the Navy accountable. The Department of Justice admitted he was discriminated against, but told him that a “legal loophole” prohibited him from filing a lawsuit, granting the Department of Defense the “privilege” to freely discriminate against US service members. 

A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request CONFIRMED the Inspector General found 'the evidence cited in the report and {} analysis supported ET1 Stremel's claims of discrimination by the FAP office.' What will the military do with this information? Will they finally muster the courage to do the right thing and make the necessary changes?

Jon's Parent of the Year Award April 13,