Should You Treat a Female Veteran Differently Than a Male?
More women are being deployed than ever before, and they're not being sheltered from the front lines like they used to be. "It used to be that women who were in Vietnam or women who were deployed ... had positions that kept them away from the front lines, but there really are no front lines in Iraq or Afghanistan now," Bill says. "Women are out there driving trucks, flying helicopters, flying jets, being medics, being military police officers, so they're exposed—just as the men are—to the stressors of the job."
Because female soldiers experience war differently than males, it's important that they get the services they need. "Female veterans or service members in particular can face specific issues such as military sexual trauma or harassment on top of the other psychological stressors from being deployed in a hostile environment," Bill says.
Also, soldiers who are mothers and go to war can bring many issues home. "They face the issues of having to leave their children behind to be raised by other family members, friends and even court-assigned foster families," Bill says. "Returning home and reunifying with their children and families can be very difficult. The stress of having to worry about your children while you are in a combat zone is so hard for any service member, but particularly so for a mother."
One program U.S. VETS offers is transitional housing program for women service members and their children. Not only do women like Mickiela receive housing for themselves and their children, there's also a transitional school and a daycare center on site. "A woman can come in, be homeless and have a lot of things that she needs to work on and know that her child is safe at the daycare or at the transitional school while she's out either looking for a job, dealing with her health issues at the VA, going to groups, doing whatever her action plan is," Bill says. "To keep women with their children and to try to nurture the family relationship is a huge part of it."