Today, in the state of Texas, on this 12th day of June in 2018 marks the first Women Veterans Day. To all the women who made this happen, Thank you.
In this post my intention isn’t to minimize or demonize military men and their sacrifice and service, however my wish is to simply focus on women. I can also acknowledge that every has their own personal experience.
I didn’t serve in the military, however I have the honor and privilege to serve those and their families who have served and currently serving the United States of America. I have witnessed my own family members, friends, and colleagues who have returned from serving at time of war and at times we thought we were at peace. Remember, maintaining peace is a fight.
We have a national day that we honor all Veterans, so why do we need to set aside a day to honor the women? We have Father’s and Mother’s Day, because their service and roles are different and special in their own way to a family system. I feel the same with Women Veterans. Their service is different, they have different nuances to their fight. Women fight to be women, they fight to serve along side their fellow male Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardmen, and Airmen.
Although the military has been around for many years the women integration into military began 70 years ago to this date. Meaning women were serving before they realized and were being recognized for serving. With gender and racial integration comes changes that some may resist, encourage, attempt to sabotage, or embrace. Changes initiates physical, mental, and emotional scars to those who are the recipients of change. Change is not sudden, it is a process. During this process military women experience the unimaginable trauma. They experience sexual trauma at the hand of their male counterparts, which is known as Military Sexual Trauma (MST), accompanied with the trauma of service, and the trauma of fighting to be in the military and be treated as an equal and not a sexual object that has no place in the military. Then sometimes feeling or being treated that a male dominated profession takes no responsibility for or understands the trauma that they endure. The emotional trauma that is sometimes aggravated by the trauma that Women Veterans sometimes enter the military to escape. All while unconsciously learning that silence is the answer to the trauma. Women sometimes leave their families at home while they serve this country. This means leaving young children at home, missing first steps and words. This means their families having to learn an “a typical” way of functioning. The reason I call it “a typical” is because as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) trained in family systems; I dont recall extensive training on the dynamic of a military family. From my experience their “norm” goes against everything I was taught as a mental health professional.
All the things women veterans endure and continue to serve despite adversity takes an immeasurable amount of courage and strength. So, for this reason they need their own day. For the children that they birth and leave home while they deploy they deserve their own day, for the women who suffer in silence, they deserve their own day, for the women who advocate and are silenced they deserve their own day. For all the women who defy the odds, overcome and stand in for their military sisters they deserve their own day. For the women who complete and attempt suicide, they deserve their own day.
For all your sacrifices and wounds seen and unseen…I thank you for your service and beyond generous sacrifices.