For Some Veterans The Real War Begins When They Return Home.
A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives follows the lives of two Army veterans - SGT. DIANE TORRES and CAPTAIN JAKE NIXON.
Diane is a medic, who returns home and struggles to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and assimilate back into society after she has been raped by her commanding officer, Nixon, while stationed in Afghanistan.
One evening when Diane is out enjoying herself with a few drinks at a bar that is close to the military base, and she has a little too much to drink, she is offered a ride back to the base by her commanding officer, Nixon and three Army Sergeants. Back at the base Diane is raped by Nixon while the other men cheer him on.
Distraught, Diane begs Nixon for a discharge, but he refuses. Eventually, she takes matters into her own hands when she attempts to go AWOL. That plan is foiled by Nixon when he catches Diane and orders her back to the military base.
Diane finally gets discharged when her mother is killed in a car accident. Once home, Diane finds out she is pregnant with Nixon’s baby. Diane, who relies heavily on her religious faith, is conflicted. She doesn’t know how to deal with the emotional turmoil that comes from carrying the unborn child of a rapist. Should she keep the baby or abort it?
The aftermath of the rape, along with depression and PTSD, leads Diane to her neighborhood bar practically every night where she sits in a corner and drinks. Thinking all men are scum, Diane gets arrested one evening for beating up a guy who flirts with her in the pub.
Emotionally devastated, Diane decides the only way to alleviate her pain is to attempt suicide. She doesn’t die, but she is admitted into a mental health facility for observation.
Eventually, Diane’s life improves as she learns the tools to cope with PTSD when she starts going to counseling with PASTOR HALEY MITCHELL. She also takes riding lessons at the Bill Pickett Riding Academy and finds peace and relaxation grooming her horse at the stables. Overtime, Diane actually looks forward to becoming a mother despite how she got pregnant.
Meanwhile, Nixon continues to be a cocky, arrogant ass which he demonstrates when he is interviewed for a documentary on the military. When the interviewer, RICHARD ANDERSON, asks Nixon about military sexual assault, Nixon gets irritated to the point that he punches Richard in the face and storms out the room.
However, Nixon’s attitude begins to change when he learns he has prostate cancer and he is dying. Upon reflection of his life it is revealed that Nixon also suffers from PTSD not only from the horrors of war but also from being sexually assaulted by his foster father when Nixon was a child.
Not wanting to die alone, Nixon seeks out his ex-wife, JESSICA WINTERS, and tells her about the cancer. Jessica, who knows nothing about Nixon’s past, takes him back. Even though he only has less than a year to live, Nixon proposes to Jessica and she accepts.
As Diane’s life flourishes and she prepares for the birth of her child, Nixon’s health deteriorates. But it is the emotional pain of what happened to him as a child, what he had to do as a solider during war, and what he did to not only Diane, but to other women who served under his command, that he can’t live with anymore. Nixon commits suicide one evening by swallowing a bottle of pills.
Three years later, Jessica stills visits Nixon’s grave and puts flowers on the tombstone weekly. Diane is happy as she teaches her son about horses and he learns how to ride. She has found peace.