Military sexual trauma
This looks like two problems to me: first of course, is the alarming rate of women veteran suicides. Second, why aren't our
One year ago, a sexual assault survivor in the U.S. military faced a daunting landscape. The president gave military leaders one year to implement the defense bill and show significant progress. And so this week, those military leaders will give their report to the president.
Sadly, some women may need help for the same reason they are disinclined to ask for it. As Helen Benedict, the author of
The United Nations has declared this year's theme, "Equality For Women is Progress For All." When we pause and think about the progress women have made in the military, they oftentimes still fall behind their male counterparts.
Unmistakable progress has been made over the decades to correct social injustice perpetrated on marginalized Americans, including our gay and lesbian citizens. However, the plight of the mentally ill, stigma, and disparity have flourished in the 21st century.
A lot has to happen between now and then -- but when President Obama signs this year's annual defense bill, I'm confident that it will be a watershed moment for justice in America's Armed Forces. We're on the cusp of legislative reforms that are nothing short of historic.
The end of "Military Sexual Trauma" and "MST" can happen virtually overnight, provided that each of us commits to keeping those euphemisms out of our mouths and off our computer screens.
The insufficiency of this catch phrase as justification for opposing policy changes on issues of critical importance to our nation sound eerily familiar to those of us involved in previous efforts to change military policies.
We believe there must be a complete break with the status quo -- not simply changes around the edges -- to strengthen how the military responds to and handles instances of sexual assault.
Rather than give lip service to victims and continued power to victimizers, the leaders must remove commanders from convening rape prosecutions.
To counter sexist attitudes, we must move away from advocacy against sexual assault as a specifically female cause. We must foster male attitudes that recognize and reject violence towards women.
The physical and emotional toll of these deployments is a cost of war we Americans have only begun to pay, yet all too often a war-weary public tends to look the other way. But this Memorial Day we cannot look away.
While women's numbers in the military -- and in elected office -- may be dwarfed by their male counterparts, women in Congress are giving new meaning to the phrase "pulling rank."
This weekend my Battalion tossed the Army-provided training out the window and instead chose to play the documentary The Invisible War. What played out that Sunday morning was the single most amazing experience I have had in my 10+ year military career.
Rowan Scarborough's article published Sunday in the Washington Times is a perfect illustration of a culture of misogyny and victim blaming, which has perpetuated the ongoing epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the United States Military.
As we all remember our mothers this Mother's Day, don't forget about the women that suffer everyday in silence from the trauma of serving in our military, but yet are "Mommy's too." On this Mother's Day, we SALUTE our mothers who are also veterans, as well as our military wives.
Further steps will be taken to prevent one of our missiles from accidentally causing a nuclear holocaust. But I hope the Air Force does a better job remedying this problem than it's done preventing sexual assaults.