Homelessness among women vets on the rise.

More women have fought and died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars than in any other wars in our nation’s history, and more women than ever before are selecting to serve in the armed forces. However, the increase in numbers has not been met with an environment friendlier to women service members or veterans. In fact, the plight of female veterans is worse than ever.

What is little known to the public is that homelessness among women veterans is a growing problem. It is an issue that impacts servicewomen at a higher rate than their male counterparts. Currently, over 13,000 female veterans are now homeless after dedicating so much of themselves to our country.

The causes for homelessness among women veterans are similar to those for male veterans. Approximately 45% of homeless women veterans suffer from mental health issues, 70% from substance abuse. However, there is a factor causing mental health issues among women veterans that does not affect their male counterparts; 40% of servicewomen report sexual assault in the military. [Read more...]

Women Warriors: Issues Confronting Servicewomen and Women Veterans

About a week ago I had the opportunity to attend a panel at the national NOW conference titled “Women Warriors: Issues Confronting Servicewomen and Women Veterans.”

Led by Anu Bhahwati, Executive Director of SWAN, and Greg Jacob of SWAN, the Service Women’s Action Network, the workshop was meant to educate conference participants about an issue that still fails to garner mainstream attention, the treatment of women service workers and veterans. I was so disturbed by the gravity of the situation that I have decided to dedicate my next three Feminists for Choice posts to the issue.

It may not come as a surprise to Feminists for Choice readers that sexual assault is an appalling problem facing female troops. Among the more startling statistics:

  • From 2008 to 2009 there was an increase of 11% in reported military sexual assaults. The Department of Defense reported 3,230 assaults in 2009 (the department’s last report).
  • In 2008 there were 163 sexual assaults reported in Iraq and Afghanistan alone.
  • Under-reporting of sexual assault is an even larger problem in the military than outside. The Department of Defense reports estimates that 80% of assaults go unreported. (The Department of Justice estimates that 60% of civilian sexual assaults go unreported.) [Read more...]