The Every-Day Woman Warrior

Pvt Louise Dibble 1970

From the Handy Guide for the Every-Day warrior.

Principle # 1: The Past is Always Present

Lately, I have been browsing the literature scanning for up to date information and research that validates the connection between Complex or Developmental Trauma and Military Sexual and Combat Trauma.

It’s a no brainer, Ladies.

Some of these facts you probably know and maybe wondered why the rest of the powers that be in the VA haven’t quite caught up with.

Then, again, we are dealing with an institution that still believes that Exposure Therapy, which is a dinosaur among treatment modalities, is their best practice in helping Veterans. Then, again, I digress.

Numbers. Here are the numbers, point by point for the sake of focus and brevity.

  • At least 1 in 4 women veterans reported experiencing Sexual Trauma while on active duty.
  • Women who experienced MST also experienced other forms of trauma and were at higher risk to develop Posttraumatic Stress.
  • Strong relationship between PTSD and development of chronic pain and difficulty sleeping.
  • 81–93% report the following:
    • At least 1 lifetime non-military trauma.
    • Pre-military Sexual Assault (half of women who joined military)
      • 1 in 4 had been raped.
    • Childhood sexual, emotional, and physical assault.
      • 1 in 5.
    • Adult sexual, emotional, and physical assault.
  • A strong correlation between MST and co-occurring Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, and Substance Abuse.
  • A prevalence of transgenerational family trauma among women veterans with MST, PTSD, and requisite chronic pain that is a constant companion.
  •  The VA would be wise to employ an alternative to Exposure Therapy which has been shown to be of questionable value as a means to heal.

We Every-Day Women Warriors are aware of how our Past is Present in how we function from day to day: As Partners, Parents, Friends, Workers, and Soldiers.

We seek insight to what in our histories is being triggered, both to positive and negative effect. We insist that those who provide treatment use methods that will enhance our self-knowledge, build on our strengths (resilience), and diffuse the very real physical pain associated with our trauma.

Here is one article, the most recent I could find, published in 2011.

MST and complex trauma

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