An expert has said that the women that suffer the mental and sexual trauma fear reporting sexual harassment due to possible retribution against them. One such woman is Keri Christensen who is an Iraq war veteran. She is one of many veterans that suffer PTSD. Christensen is the first female combat veteran.
In her case, Christensen fights another battle back home. This time, it’s fighting depression caused by trauma. Christensen is married and lives as a housewife and a mother of two living in Denver, Colorado. Christensen blames her depression on Iraq.
“I start feeling those feelings of ‘I’m not worthy. I can’t raise my family,’” she explains.
It is reported that 11 percent of those deployed in Iraq are female. That would mean out of everybody that is deployed, under 200,000 women are deployed. While women were in noncombatant roles in the past, Iraq is a different story. In Iraq, they get a taste of violence on the frontlines.
Christensen herself is a member of the Army National Guard. She explains that she was shot and almost got blown up by a roadside bomb. However, that was not the only thing that gave her stress. Christensen explains that she was sexually harassed by one of her superiors.
“I just know it took a big toll on me because I was trying to deal with it myself. Just trying to be a soldier,” she explains.
Of the female veterans out of the 60,000 that suffer from PTSD, almost one-fourth of them suffer from “military sexual trauma.” That is defined as sexual harassment and/or assault while in the military let alone serving on the frontlines in combat.
However, many women seldom report it according to Dr. Darrah Westrup of the Women’s Health Clinic in California. She explains that many are afraid of retribution if the report such trauma to their superiors. This does pose a problem as the mental health of such female veterans will continue to deteriorate.
This could possibly be brought up since Iraq inevitably will be one of the major issues in the US presidential races. The mental health of those deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq had become a big issue in the recent weeks.
This story about Christensen and other female veterans comes on the fifth year anniversary of the Iraq war. While US President Bush stands by and continues to support the war, many across the nation have protested it.
In a recent poll by CBS News, most Americans feel that the Iraq War is not worth it.
Recent reports by Amnesty International and the Red Cross say that Iraq has a grave humanitarian crisis.