Battling the Storm Within

Friday, August 28, 2015

Two in five military women endure sexual trauma during service

(Reuters Health) - In the U.S. military, women may be nearly 10 times more likely than men to experience sexual assault or harassment, a study of recent veterans suggests.

Researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) surveyed more than 20,000 men and women who served during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. About 41 percent of women and 4 percent of men reported suffering some form of sexual harassment during their time in the military.

“Research among both civilians and those who have served in the military consistently find that rates of sexual assault and sexual harassment are higher among women than among men,” lead study author Shannon Barth of the VA said by email.


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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Women Soldiers at No Greater Risk for PTSD

A new study has found that women in the military are at no greater risk than men for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) given similar experiences, including combat.
Conducted by Defense and Veterans Affairs researchers, the study involved active-duty troops and veterans who are part of the Millennium Cohort Study, which has more than 200,000 participants.
The new PTSD study included more than 2,300 pairs of men and women who were matched based on an array of variables — including exposure to combat — and followed for about seven years.


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Thursday, August 20, 2015

CA Military Sexual Assault Bill Becomes Law- VIDEO

California has just made a major change in the way sexual assault allegations are investigated in the state military department. On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires sexual assault cases to be investigated by outside civilian law enforcement, not by military commanders.
It provides for no statute of limitations in cases involving sexual assault in California’s military department, which includes 24,000 people. The legislation also requires the department to report sexual assault statistics to the governor and lawmakers each year.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Here's Why Rape Survivors Suffer 'Second Assault'

rape protest sign

(WOMENSENEWS)-- What happens when the public and media re-victimize women or men who are sexually abused or raped? Well, and I know the answer personally, it says to the victim, "Welcome to the second worst nightmare of your life."

As a female combat veteran of Iraq suffering from military sexual trauma, or MST, I have first-hand experience with the culture of "victim blaming" or the "second assault."
When a soldier reports rape he or she is forced to navigate hell in an (often futile) attempt to win justice. This makes it very tempting to trade any search for justice to save your reputation and protect your personal safety. And as we know, bailing on legal justice is not just a temptation for soldiers, but for all sexual assault victims.

I knew and served with an introverted and shy 19-year-old female soldier who was raped by another, more senior, soldier in her unit. The predator was married and would, in front of our entire unit, address all females under his command as "whores" and "sluts."


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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The VA woman problem

On Sept. 11, 2001, Desma Brooks was a single mother of three in her mid-20s who served part-time in the Indiana Army National Guard. Watching the attack, she wondered if she might be assigned to a support role on the home front. Instead, she served two yearlong deployments – one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. During the second, while driving a military vehicle, she hit a roadside bomb. Brooks returned home with a mild case of traumatic brain injury and a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Of the almost 22 million veterans in the United States today, more than 2 million are women, and of those, more than 635,000 are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs system – double the number before 9/11. Women are the fastest growing group of veterans treated by the VA, and projections show that women will make up more than 16 percent of the country’s veterans by midcentury.


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‘I look forward to dying:’ U.S. veteran fights Gulf War syndrome

Glenn Stewart, a U.S. veteran of the first Gulf War a quarter of a century ago, has a deadly dilemma.
Stewart, who served as a communication specialist in the U.S. forces tasked with taking back Kuwait from the clutches of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1991, wants to see his grandchildren grow.
But at the same time, he also waits daily to hear the “good news” of his impending death.


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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

U.S. Pays for Scientology ‘Experiment’ on Sick Gulf War Veterans

Thanks to taxpayer dollars, a research team is testing L. Ron Hubbard’s controversial ‘purification’ theories on veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome.
Inside a tiny sauna located underneath a brick business park in Annapolis, Maryland, a large man has been sitting and sweating for almost four hours.

Participant No. 29 is a veteran of the first Gulf War and a subject in a government-funded study aimed at treating the nebulous cluster of symptoms known as Gulf War Syndrome. Wearing gym shorts and a wide grin, he rakes a hand towel up and down his soaked upper body, then waves and yells through the glass door, “C’mon in!”


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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Mistreatment Of Female Veterans Is Not Just A Women’s Issue

Women face numerous military transition challenges on top of the misconceptions closely tied to being a female veteran.          
In 1966, at 26 years old, decorated nurse and Vietnam veteran Sarah Blum joined the U.S. Army, drawn to serve by the daily news reports on the radio.

The Atlantic City, New Jersey, native joined as an operating room nurse and was eventually assigned to the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Củ Chi, a district outside Ho Chi Minh City — the location of several military campaigns, and most notably, the base of operations for the Viet Cong’s violent Tét Offensive in 1968.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Film explores female veterans’ struggles

A candid documentary being screened at the Little Theatre aims to create awareness about the specific challenges female veterans face — and one of its featured voices is from Greece.

Service: When Women Come Marching Home, showing for free on Monday, depicts the courage of several female veterans as they transition from active duty to civilian life. It brings to light a disturbing disparity: Women who have been in the military are more likely to be single parents, unemployed, homeless, living in poverty and victims of sexual trauma. And though they make up just 14 percent of today’s military forces, that figure is expected to double over the next decade, according to Disabled American Veterans, a national advocacy and assistance group.


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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Seeking Michigan Women Veterans to be a part of the first 2016 Women Vet Empowerment Conference

Michigan Women Veteran Empowerment is seeking Women Veterans in the State of Michigan to be a part of the first 2016 Michigan Women Veteran Empowerment Conference. We need women vets to complete our survey in order to tailor make a conference just for you. This a woman veteran lead initiative in partnership with other organizations check out our website for more info.


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Monday, August 3, 2015

The Military Has Overkilled Alcohol With Big Collateral Damage

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment enjoy a frosty brew Super Bowl Sunday.  All soldiers were allowed to drink two beers during dinner ... in 2005.

Every so often after work, I stop by the officers’ club at my base to see what’s going on. Without fail, unless I go to meet up with specific people or there’s a special event, the place is deader than Elvis. I’ll wave at the bartender and awkwardly look around as if I’m looking for someone, then make a quick about face.

With few exceptions, this is the way most military clubs are. They do a decent lunch business. Some enlisted clubs bring in decent numbers with pool and sports television, but none are eagerly anticipated social venues at the end of a long week. On some bases, there’s so little business that all the clubs have been combined to make what must be the most awkward social scenario possible.

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VA, caregivers, sex trauma: A quiet storm is brewing

For many wounded warriors, it is assumed that if they suffer from post-traumatic stress and/or a traumatic brain injury these injuries were a result of combat training or combat. The concept that a service member or veteran could suffer from post-traumatic stress or a brain injury due to military sexual trauma (also referred to as military sexual assault) is virtually non-existent. When a man or woman is sexually traumatized by an individual or group within the military, the scars and aftermath can be just as devastating as being wounded in battle.


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