Female veterans are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population. Nearly 20% of all OEF/OIF veterans in San Diego County are women. Although technically excluded from serving in direct combat roles in the military, many women who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been attached or assigned to combat units, thus were in the line of direct enemy fire. Female veterans share many of the same reintegration issues as their male counterparts.
However, they face other challenges as well: Many female veterans are suffering from military sexual trauma (MST) in addition to PTSD. The prevalence of MST among female veterans ranges from 20 to 48% based on both VA data and the research literature. A majority of military women–80%–also report being sexually harassed. Most female troops don’t report sexual abuse while in the military; it’s often revealed after they have separated and in a safe environment.