Fe­male sol­diers un­der stress

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Mil­i­tary’s ‘stag­ger­ing’ sui­cide rate,” June 8

Re­search shows that those join­ing the mil­i­tary are “more likely to have en­dured dif­fi­cult child­hoods, in­clud­ing emo­tional and sex­ual abuse.”

Tal­ented chil­dren of wealthy but abu­sive par­ents are un­likely to re­ceive fi­nan­cial sup­port from them. Schol­ar­ships are based on the fi­nan­cial sta­tus of the fam­ily. En­ter the ROTC. But the train­ing in the mil­i­tary may echo the harsh treat­ment of the par­ent, trau­ma­tiz­ing again.

In ad­di­tion, foster youth are on their own at 18. Thus the mil­i­tary seems ap­peal­ing. But are vul­ner­a­ble com­ing-of-age youth who have en­dured abu­sive par­ent­ing psy­cho­log­i­cally pre­pared for the rig­ors and trau­mas of mil­i­tary ser­vice?

It’s heart­en­ing that we’ve be­gun to ad­dress the rights of var­i­ous seg­ments of our pop­u­la­tion. But we need to ad­dress the rights of chil­dren and those from 18 to their early 20s who have al­ready en­dured trauma and lack the fi­nan­cial and emo­tional fam­ily sup­port to suc­cess­fully tran­si­tion to adult­hood.

Mar­i­lyn Rus­sell Los An­ge­les

That fe­male vet­er­ans com­mit sui­cide at a higher rate than male vets or non­vet­eran fe­males does not sur­prise me.

As a vol­un­teer psy­chother­a­pist for the Sol­diers Project, I have been work­ing in­tensely with fe­male vets. While my ex­pe­ri­ence is limited, I have come to un­der­stand that women are not well treated by their male peers or higher-ups.

Mil­i­tary sex­ual as­sault is not the only trauma for many. Their prob­lems are not only the hor­rors of war but the ad­di­tional in­ter­per­sonal stress of be­ing teased, bul­lied and be­lit­tled. Not want­ing to ap­pear weak, they try to “suck it up.”

For some, the stress and trauma must be­come over­whelm­ing.

Eve­lyn Good­man Cul­ver City

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