Lisa Wright wrote -
I'm aiding in raising money for homeless women Veterans from all walks of life. I was fortunate enough never to face the disparity of homelessness after my deployment, but there are around 55,000 women who aren't as lucky. Please help raise money to give these women a hand up--they served our country, now they deserve something amazing in return.
About me: I'm a 29 year old married mother of two boys. In 2002, I joined the Army National Guard with the hope of attending college for free. Never in my life had I imagined I would deploy to Iraq or ever step foot on any foreign soil. I was a sweet, naive young girl with a heart full of ambition and a head full of dreams.
In 2005 I deployed to Iraq. My deployment was a terrifying and wonderful experience I wouldn't change for the world. I was forced to grow up and I learned a lot. I also developed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and couldn't cope with the "real world" when I returned. I had issues with alcohol, depression, and anxiety so the only answer I could come up with was to volunteer for a second deployment. I felt that I was no longer cut out for the civilian world.
I never made it on my second deployment, but instead was stationed at Ft. Knox for a year and became a victim of MST (military sexual trauma). While stationed there I was drugged and sexually abused by a fellow soldier. What happened to me never should have happened. I was put through the ringer by CID, told that I was too young and pretty to be raped or assaulted, and that I should have been thankful for the things he did to me. I was harrassed by the first sergeant, and he forced me to stand in the same platoon as him during formation and he put us in the same building so that we could get used to each other. He didn't want me to ruin this man's career, because he was a Veteran, nevermind that I, too, was an OIF Veteran. I went through the military court system and went through a trial, only for him to be found Not Guilty by five male military jurors. I felt let down and very alone.
About a year later, I received a phone call from Ft. Knox asking me to testify against him again because several more women spoke up about what he had done to him, which was exactly what he had done to me. He was found guilty that time of rape and forcible sodomy, sentenced to ten years in military prison, and given a dishonorable discharge.
It has taken many years but I'm learning to cope. I no longer drink alcohol, I utilize the VA behavioral healthcare system, and I'm attending college to earn my Psychology degree so that I can help other women (and men!) who are victims of MST. In the meantime, I volunteer with AMVETS and the M-SPAN Buddy-to-Buddy program assisting fellow Veterans when they return home. I'm a huge believer in speaking aloud about PTSD, MST, depression, and anxiety. That's the only way to remove the stigma!! I will not be silent until the stigma is gone or until I die.
I'm running for Ms. Veteran America 2015 because it's the perfect opportunity to speak about the issues that women Veterans face. I've dealt with so much, and I want other women to know that it's not just them, it's all of us. I am proud to be a woman and I am proud to be a warrior!
Please help the women of the military! Understand homelessness happens and it shouldn't. Veteran homelessness is not a choice!