The common image that comes to mind when people talk about wounded warriors is that of a courageous man in camos suffering from various combat-related physical injuries. There are two variations to this image that some people inadvertently overlook: one is that the injuries need not be physical, as evidenced by the condition we know as PTSD. The other is that the warrior in camos can be a woman.
According to a feature on the Navy Times, women who are serving in the military are usually mistaken for a spouse or a daughter – not a combat veteran. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Genevieve Chase, the founder of American Women Veterans, told the Navy Times: “It makes us feel invisible. It makes these women feel like their service didn’t matter.”
At this time, women are said to make up an estimated 15 percent of the armed forces. In recent years, views regarding the ability of women to perform in combat have changed, and these changes have allowed them to assume duties that put them in combat situations. However, the VA is said to be slow in reflecting the change in the health care needs of women veterans.
Things are taking a turn for the better, though. The VA Hospital in Washington, where Chase receives medical care, intends to break ground on a 5,000-square foot women’s wing that will cater to the needs of female troops within a year. Gale Bell, the VA Hospital’s veteran program manager and clinical coordinator, said: “Not only will we have more space, we will be able to provide more services within a particular area.”