Military sexual trauma
The general public doesn't have an experiential frame of reference for this. News stories and articles, even when they're
The stories of female vets don't always get traction. For example, awareness of concerns like Military Sexual Trauma have recently received recognition. Yet, the experiences that women go through in the military frequently remain under the radar.
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.
Men constitute 86 percent of active duty forces, and make up 90 percent of the homeless veteran population. For women, the numbers are 14 percent and 10 percent respectively. But the reasons are different.
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.