Female military veterans, after rape, homelessness


This video from the USA says about itself:

Lackland Air Force Base Rape Victim Talks of Ordeal.

Feb 27, 2013

Virginia Messick was raped by her training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in 2011. She is the first Lackland victim to speak publicly, in this exclusive interview with the reporter James Risen.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Owning the Past: Female Veterans Share Experiences of Sexual Trauma

Feb 28, 2013

Women who have just completed an intensive therapy program for veterans in Long Beach, Calif., shared their experiences of sexual trauma in the military, which led to homelessness for some.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Honor Betrayed

Trauma Sets Female Veterans Adrift Back Home

By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN

Published: February 27, 2013

This is the second in a two-part series.

Part I [is]: Attacked at 19 by an Air Force Trainer, and Speaking Out

LOS ANGELES — In the caverns of her memory, Tiffany Jackson recalls the job she held, fleetingly, after leaving the military, when she still wore stylish flats and blouses with butterfly collars and worked in a high-rise with a million-dollar view.

Two years later, she had descended into anger and alcohol and left her job. She started hanging out with people who were using cocaine and became an addict herself, huddling against the wind on Skid Row here.

“You feel helpless to stop it,” she said of the cascade of events in which she went from having her own apartment to sleeping in seedy hotels and then, for a year, in the streets, where she joined the growing ranks of homeless female veterans.

Even as the Pentagon lifts the ban on women in combat roles, returning servicewomen are facing a battlefield of a different kind: they are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, an often-invisible group bouncing between sofa and air mattress, overnighting in public storage lockers, living in cars and learning to park inconspicuously on the outskirts of shopping centers to avoid the violence of the streets.

While male returnees become homeless largely because of substance abuse and mental illness, experts say that female veterans face those problems and more, including the search for family housing and an even harder time finding well-paying jobs. But a common pathway to homelessness for women, researchers and psychologists said, is military sexual trauma, or M.S.T., from assaults or harassment during their service, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sexual trauma set Ms. Jackson on her path. At first she thought she could put “the incident” behind her: that cool August evening outside Suwon Air Base in South Korea when, she said, a serviceman grabbed her by the throat in the ladies’ room of a bar and savagely raped her on the urine-soaked floor. But during the seven years she drifted in and out of homelessness, she found she could not forget.

Of 141,000 veterans nationwide who spent at least one night in a shelter in 2011, nearly 10 percent were women, according to the latest figures available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, up from 7.5 percent in 2009. In part it is a reflection of the changing nature of the American military, where women now constitute 14 percent of active-duty forces and 18 percent of the Army National Guard and the Reserves.

But female veterans also face a complex “web of vulnerability,” said Dr. Donna L. Washington, a professor of medicine at U.C.L.A. and a physician at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs medical center, who has studied the ways the women become homeless, including poverty and military sexual trauma.

Female veterans are far more likely to be single parents than men. Yet more than 60 percent of transitional housing programs receiving grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs did not accept children, or restricted their age and number, according to a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office.

The lack of jobs for female veterans also contributes to homelessness. Jennifer Cortez, 26, who excelled as an Army sergeant, training and mentoring other soldiers, has had difficulty finding work since leaving active duty in 2011. She wakes up on an air mattress on her mother’s living room floor, beneath the 12 medals she garnered in eight years, including two tours in Iraq. Job listings at minimum wage leave her feeling bewildered. “You think, wow, really?” she said. “I served my country. So sweeping the floor is kind of hard.”

Not wanting to burden her family, she has lived briefly in her car, the only personal space she has.

Some homeless veterans marshal boot-camp survival skills, like Nancy Mitchell, of Missouri, 53, an Army veteran who spent years, off and on, living in a tent.

“That’s how we done it in basic,” she said.

Double Betrayal of Assault

Of more than two dozen female veterans interviewed by The New York Times, 16 said that they had been sexually assaulted in the service, and another said that she had been stalked. A study by Dr. Washington and colleagues found that 53 percent of homeless female veterans had experienced military sexual trauma, and that many women entered the military to escape family conflict and abuse.

For those hoping to better their lives, being sexually assaulted while serving their country is “a double betrayal of trust,” said Lori S. Katz, director of the Women’s Health Clinic at the V.A. Long Beach Healthcare System and co-founder of Renew, an innovative treatment program for female veterans with M.S.T. Reverberations from such experiences often set off a downward spiral for women into alcohol and substance abuse, depression and domestic violence, she added.

“It just pulls the skin off you,” said Patricia Goodman-Allen, a therapist in North Carolina and former Army Reserve officer who said she once retreated to a mobile home deep in the woods after such an assault.

Ms. Jackson won full disability compensation for post-traumatic stress as a disabling aftermath of her sexual trauma, although she was at first denied military benefits.

Choking back tears and in voices edged with rage, two women and a man who served in the American military told a Senate panel on Wednesday how they were raped by superiors and then ridiculed or ignored by military officials from whom they sought help: here.

Epidemic rape in the US Military! Ask Congress to take action: here.

After decade of war, troops still struggling to find work: here.

Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, will automatically drop come Friday thanks to the loss of additional funds from the 2009 stimulus bill. That cut will hit about 900,000 of the country’s veterans, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: here.

The Forgotten 14% — Our Female Vets: here.

“They’re heroes to many in the US, but after the jubilant homecoming parades for those returning from war, what happens next? Well, an estimated 55,000 veterans are now homeless; and that’s just the women”: here.

As I followed the sad trail of damaged veterans to write my new book, I came to see how much they and their families have suffered, like Afghans, from the delusions of this nation’s leaders, more powerful and less accountable than themselves: here.

Police kill Iraq veteran who held up bank to demand VA disability payment: here.

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42 thoughts on “Female military veterans, after rape, homelessness

  1. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    This is shameful for any woman anywhere, but especially in The United States Of America. This nation is far from a great nation, a nation shall be judged by how it treats it’s women, children and elderly.

    Like

  2. Lack of economic opportunities (by design) and fetishizing of soldiers (also by design) are the only two reasons I can think of that someone would willingly want to serve.

    Like

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  4. Military justice under fire over assault case

    US: Locals protest outside Davis-Monthan airforce Base in Tucson, Arizona on Thursday.

    The protesters rallied to denounce the decision to transfer Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson after his sexual assault conviction was overturned by a commander, adding to the growing criticism of the military justice system.

    Family members of the woman who alleged the assault were shocked when the transfer order placed Mr Wilkerson on the same base as them.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/132194

    Like

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    • Thanks for your reblog, Barbara!

      Probably, this war on women, apparent, eg, in ultra-religious Republican party politicians, worsened also because of wars abroad in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. started by the Bush administration. At least some of the male soldiers who have sexually assaulted female colleagues in Iraq etc. would not have done so in civilian life; or in barracks in the USA etc., while never having been deployed to a war zone.

      Like

  8. I can’t stand it anymore. We never seem to move forward…seriously, years and years of constant work and nothing ever changes. There is something wrong with our species, really wrong. Women are hated everywhere on the planet and I’m just sick and tired of all of us being prey! We need an army of females to protect girls and women who can’t fight. We need to be well armed and trained. We need to be everywhere and we need to not take prisoners.

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