Nearly 22 million men and women in the United States have risked their lives for their country. Among that number, roughly 10 percent are females. While any soldier is subject to the crises and provocations caused by active combat, that stark difference in population raises additional challenges specific to female veterans who serve overseas. That’s why a number of female veterans are speaking out about what can be done to help.
On this episode of Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato, a panel of veterans discussed some of the unique challenges facing female veterans and the ways in which organizations throughout New Jersey are working to address these issues. Guests include Alba Pagan, veteran and director of Military Affairs at Cornerstone Family Programs; Marcy Felsenfeld, senior program officer at the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey; Janine Decker, women’s veterans program manager at the Veterans Administration New Jersey Health Care System; and Torie Fisher, veteran and owner of Backward Flag Brewing Company.
Felsenfeld and the panel explained that women veterans who have completed their military service face a variety of issues when they return to civilian life.
“Female veterans in the military are part of a minority,” said Felsenfeld. “So as a result, many of the services that are available to veterans target a different population. Some female veterans have faced trauma, both in the military and even before; some have faced sexual trauma, which becomes significant.”
While the panel agreed that numerous male veterans also face a wide range of issues following their military service — from anxiety and depression to physical trauma — many women face additional dilemmas. Women receive the same mental health and medical treatment as men; however, Fisher and Pagan acknowledged that one of the main issues faced is that female veterans often are not viewed to the same stoic standard as the men they are fighting alongside.
To learn more about the plethora of challenges female veterans face on a daily basis, and how NJ organizations are working to address them, don’t miss this episode of Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato.
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