Off The Base
7:34 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Women Veterans: Military Sexual Trauma, Combat Service and Resources

Air Force veteran Larri Gerson, a member of the federal advisory committee on women veterans, talks about recent developments on women in the military from combat recognition to military sexual trauma.

Florida has an estimated 142,000 women veterans and many likely had their eyes on the Pentagon this week.

Credit Department of Defense

First, there was the deadline for the services to submit plans on how to integrate women into combat units or explain why women should remain banned. Many women already are serving in units exposed to combat but aren’t officially acknowledged.

And there is more news related to the growing problem of military sexual trauma.

We talked with an Air Force woman veteran, Larri Gerson, who now serves as a claims examiner with the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs and is a member of the federal, VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.

“I’m glad to talk about how important right now the topic of military sexual trauma (is) because if we had this year 29,000 cases, they estimated suffer from military sexual trauma, that’s going to be too much to wait for next year to talk about it,” Gerson said.

Recently allegations of sexual misconduct have been brought against two military members who are part of the military sexual trauma prevention programs.

Gerson said congress is taking testimony and considering legislation

She said the issue of women in combat also is important but is being addressed over a longer period of time.

Gerson provided several resources for women veterans and contacts.

For state women veterans issues, contact Florida’s State Women Veterans’ Coordinator Cynthia T. Brown at brownc@fdva.state.fl.us.

For national women veterans issues, contact Gerson at gersonl@fdva.state.fl.us.