Fe­male vet­er­ans en­dure sex ha­rass­ment at VA

The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - By Jen­nifer Steinhauer

Corey Fos­ter spent her Army ca­reer car­ing for wounded troops, both as a flight medic in the Iraq War and at Wal­ter Reed hos­pi­tal, so she looked for­ward to one of the most cel­e­brated ben­e­fits of mil­i­tary ser­vice – health care for life from the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs. Then she walked through the door at a VA med­i­cal cen­ter in Tem­ple, Texas.

“You felt like you were a piece of meat,” said Fos­ter, 34, who re­tired as a sergeant. “Stand­ing in line at the reg­is­tra­tion desk, I was get­ting com­ments from the male pa­tients be­hind me, look­ing me up and down. It was a ma­jor source of dis­com­fort.”

The treat­ment was the same at the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs med­i­cal cen­ter in Murfrees­boro, Tenn., where Fos­ter moved af­ter liv­ing in Texas. At that point she gave up, and opted for her hus­band’s in­sur­ance out­side the depart­ment. “They need to make the fa­cil­i­ties not feel like an old sol­dier’s home,” Fos­ter said.

An en­trenched, sex­ist cul­ture at many vet­er­ans hos­pi­tals is driv­ing away fe­male vet­er­ans and lags far be­hind the gains women have made in the mil­i­tary in re­cent years, vet­er­ans and law­mak­ers of both par­ties say.

Al­though the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs has scram­bled to ad­just to the ris­ing pop­u­la­tion of fe­male vet­er­ans and has made progress – in­clud­ing hir­ing more women’s health care providers, fix­ing ba­sic pri­vacy prob­lems in the exam rooms and ex­pand­ing ser­vice to women in ru­ral

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.