Yup! I said it. I made a distinction that we are veterans just like the guys, except for our reproductive and sexual organs. :sigh: Its a conundrum. On the one hand, we want services specific to us, on the other we don’t want to be treated differently than men veterans. Maybe one day I’ll find the article which shows exactly what the psychological factors are that make it so important to differentiate the fact that there are veterans and then there are women veterans. From this point on, in this article, I am using the words women veterans because its specific to the article linked below.
Below is a fantastic article by the Research Director at IAVA, Dr. Jackie Maffucci, spotlighting the needs of women veterans and how they are treated after they leave the military. This article is in conjunction with Samantha Bee’s premiere episode of Full Frontal where she explores how the VA will be prepared for the women veterans’ needs now that combat jobs have been opened for all women. Not being a fan of Samantha Bee, this is a happy surprise to know she’s spotlighting the VA and women veterans on premiere night. I think it might be interesting and I’ll be watching.
Also, take a gander at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s (IAVA)
effort to recognize and improve services for women veterans..
Dr. Jackie Maffucci is Research Director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She currently serves on the National Center for PTSD Education Advisory Board and the Department of Veterans Affairs Women’s Health CREATE Veterans Council.
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” premieres Monday, Feb. 8 at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.
Last year, IAVA set out to ask why they were struggling. We surveyed 1,500 women veterans and traveled to eight cities, speaking with more than 60 women vets. As we talked to them, an overarching theme emerged: women veterans do not necessarily see their challenges as unique. They feel they have the same challenges as male veterans. The difference is the lack of services specific to women and a lack of support overall. Women don’t receive the same level of support as their male peers and in fact it is often difficult for women to find peers in the veteran community. But overall these women don’t want to be looked at as different or damaged and, honestly, they don’t want to be looked at as “women veterans.” They simply want to be recognized as veterans and receive the care and support that they have earned through their service.
In talking with these women, it became clear that the first challenge is a very basic one: recognition. These women left one battle only to find another, where their service is constantly questioned and they repeatedly have to defend it. This happens everywhere: in the parking lot when they park in a veteran reserved space and are criticized for it; at the local vets, when they attend a gathering of their peers and are received like outsiders; at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) when they walk in for an appointment and the staff greets them as a spouse; or when they seek assistance to file a VA benefits claim from a veteran service officer and are met with disbelief. This must change. This nation must stop assuming that a woman couldn’t possibly have served, couldn’t possibly be the veteran, couldn’t possibly have been in combat, nor could couldn’t possibly have injuries from their service. We must recognize the growing diversity of our forces. We must embrace that not every GI is a Joe.