Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'Week of the Women Warriors': Launch of Groundbreaking Report on Female Troops and Veterans

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest non-partisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released its new issue report, "Women Warriors: Supporting She 'Who Has Borne the Battle,'" on the unique service and homecoming challenges facing female troops and veterans. The report is the cornerstone of IAVA's first annual "Week of the Women Warriors," a multi-faceted effort to honor the courage and sacrifice of female servicemembers.

"Women make up 11% of the force in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, their challenges have largely been overlooked and underreported. IAVA's new report pulls together the most up to date information on a broad range of issues confronting female servicemembers and veterans," said IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. "Countless women have served bravely and honorably for their country. It's time for the Department of Defense, the VA, lawmakers and the public to take bold action on behalf of these women warriors and give them the support they have earned."

IAVA's newly released report explores a wide range of issues, including:

-- Sexual Assault, Harassment and Military Sexual Trauma (MST): Women in
the military have been coping with significant and underreported
sexual assault and harassment for decades. The report examines the
statistics behind this prevalent issue, the measures that are
currently in place and steps that must be taken to aggressively
address this systematic problem.

-- Higher Divorce Rates for Female Servicemembers: Marriages of female
troops are failing at almost three times the rate of male
servicemembers. The report examines the data behind this troubling

-- Barriers to VA Health Care: In recent years the VA has been challenged
to care for female veterans, who now make up 12% of all Iraq and
Afghanistan veterans seeking VA health care. The report examines the
fragmentation of women's VA services, privacy and safety concerns and
problems communicating eligibility and benefits to female veterans.

-- Homelessness among Female Veterans: Of homeless Iraq and Afghanistan
veterans, almost 10% are women, and many of them have families. The
report examines this growing trend and the urgent economic challenges
facing female veterans.

Week of the Women Warriors: During this week, will feature a new Women Warriors Center. Anchored by the new report, the Women Warriors Center will highlight ways veterans and civilians can get involved with supporting female veterans. Visitors will be able to read the report, learn about the history of women in the military, sign on to IAVA's letter introducing the report to Congress and participate in an aggregation of associated Twitter activity. Female veterans are encouraged to join Community of Veterans (COV), an online social network exclusively for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the first of what will be an annual week to honor and advocate for female troops and veterans.

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