Helping veterans has been front line in the news for decades now. However the face of the military, and therefore veterans, is changing. Women are now the fastest growing veteran population. There are currently 2.2 million women veterans according to the Department of Veteran Affairs, and that number is expected to double over the next ten years.
Last July, I spoke with a JROTC instructor at a local high school and asked what the female percentage of his class was. He responded that it is now 45%..
The response to specific issues and needs of these women is slow to catch up to the demographic changes. There is a dearth of services at VA facilities for women veterans. Many female veterans who we have spoken with report that the system seems not to acknowledge that they even exist.
Despite serving oversees with honor and courage, women veterans face new battles when they return home such as health care, unemployment, lack of financial stability, housing, homelessness, partner violence, custody battles, and sexual trauma.
The VA statistics show one in five women veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. One-third of women Veterans experience intimate partner violence, an increase from the already astounding number of one in four among civilian women. The rate of suicide is 2.5 times higher among female veterans when compared to civilian adult females.
The Dept. of Ohio, Auxiliary to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, at it’s Dept. Encampment on June 10, 2017, voted to adopt “Sisters Supporting Women Veterans” as it’s primary initiative. As a female organization, we feel uniquely placed to understand and empathize with the plight of women veterans. . Visit our website at www.ASUVCWOhio.org and learn more about how you can help