Veteranclaims’s Blog

July 8, 2009

VA Failing Women Veterans

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 5:51 pm

<a href= “http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2009/07/08/women_veterans_fall_through_cracks_in_system/”>Women veterans fall through cracks in system</a>
July 8, 2009

KUDOS TO The Boston Globe for educating the public about the rising numbers of homeless women veterans (Page A1, July 6).

Women veterans often fall through the cracks of a system that has not been built to recognize servicewomen’s accomplishments, sacrifices, or specific needs. The Department of Veterans Affairs has much progress to make in recognizing women’s physical and psychological wounds and awarding women veterans equal disability compensation for their trauma.

Similarly, the epidemic of military sexual trauma – sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape – has yet to be adequately addressed by the armed forces, the VA, or mainstream veterans’ groups, leading to untreated post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug abuse, homelessness, and suicide among female and male vets.

But another point needs to be made: One of the reasons women veterans fall through the cracks is that they are rarely given the authority to represent their own issues or advocate for themselves. It’s a shame that reporter Bryan Bender relied heavily on the voices of male veterans who can hardly be considered experts on the needs of women in uniform.

Anuradha Bhagwati
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The writer, a former Marine captain, is executive director of Service Women’s Action Network.

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