As I was driving home from work yesterday listening to NPR (as I usually do to trick myself into thinking the time spent in the car is not wasted), I heard a story that really got to me. I encourage you to listen to it (there are 2 parts), but at a minimum, skim the article.
NPR has been doing a series about women in combat roles and yesterday they were discussing how women were more likely to experience forms of post traumatic stress disorder than men. At first, I thought to myself, “Great! They are going to go on air and talk about how women ’emote’ more…and therefore are more affected by the violence and trauma in combat situations.” How wrong was I….
The piece was discussing how the double trauma of the actual combat situation combined with the growing instances of sexual trauma was often more than one could handle. The part that really struck a chord with me was the following quote; “A 2003 survey of women using the Veterans Administration health care system reports that 28 percent experienced at least one sexual assault during military service.” 28 PERCENT?!? Now, granted, I do not know the average number of women that are sexually assaulted in everyday society, but that number just seemed so high. What makes it more sad is when you consider that sexual assault is often underreported for reasons they discuss in the series. I started to cry for these women while driving down I-75. I cried partly because I felt bad for them and the struggles they are going through because of their service….and partly because I was furious. How dare our they treat the women like that…their own fellow soldiers!? One woman said, “I wasn’t myself, and I realized that. But I had to be [numb] to survive from the enemy and my own platoon members.”
They are making sacrifices for our country … & they deserve better.