The Shadow Sides of being a Woman in the Military

Veterans Day has always been a mixed bag of feelings for me. I am Proud of my Service and my Career. I am Proud of many of those whom I had the privilege to serve alongside. There were a lot of good times. Unfortunately, there are many difficult issues I faced while serving that I am still unraveling and healing from. I have made great progress. I wanted to share a side that many don’t get to see. A side that many of us really want to forget and not address. I address it here, so you can see some of my experiences as I speak up about the not nice parts of being a Woman in the Military. (experiences vary, this is not to say all women will always face the issues I faced}

Female Veterans are a rare group of people. We Served our Country. We Volunteered to Serve, Deploy, and endure all the typical hardships that Military Life has to tough out. Yet we are constantly discounted by not only civilians, but also by our OWN Brothers in Arms. Fellow Veterans who dismiss our own journey’s as “Less Than” theirs. Even when in the Exact Same Job type! Then, we have to deal with the female spouses who act like we are only there to steal their man. No, we are just trying to survive, get the Same Exact Recognition as our Brothers, and not get harassed, sexualized, demeaned, or even assaulted AT WORK or after hours. By our own or by others around us.

Why is it always such a damn fight?
Even organizations who Serve the Military constantly dismiss us. Ask us if we are there to support our husbands when WE are the ones there for US. Looking at You, Veterans Affairs. Because We Served too! We get told to go to the VFW Auxiliary because they are for the women…. Yeah, the female spouses, not the Veterans! Why? After Decades of women serving too, why is this Still a thing?

While I served I saw and was told that:

Women need to get out when they have a child
Women need to toe the line and follow the Men
Women need to keep their mouths shut even when disrespected
Women can’t stand up for themselves or else were bullied into submission or a smear campaign was organized against her to damage her career
Women needed to sleep around to get along with the unit or even to get promoted (those of us who don’t are then often subjected to a hostile work environment and we either suck it up or take it up to others who can help bring legal actions against the real problem. However the damage to us is already done)
Women are told to grow a thicker skin when Men would constantly talk about their sexual conquests while at work and would belittle the Women who were uncomfortable due to it and spoke up
Women were called sluts and whores when turning down co-workers who hit on them, yet the Men were glamorized for sleeping around
Women Servicemembers/Veterans are no better than the dependas (for those who don’t know the term, this is a derogatory term for those spouses who only look to marry a servicemember for the health/college/pay benefits) who prey on the Men who serve
Women Servicemembers/Veterans are ridiculed for wanting to be considered and respected for our service
Women are Constantly being told to suck it up and get over it when we have ACTUAL MEDICAL ISSUES that need addressing, because we are told “It is all in our Heads”. These quotes have been echoed by Servicemembers, Leadership, and Medical Personnel alike.
Many Women couldn’t even form real friendships while serving due to the “Perception” of sleeping around or cheating on their spouses. Because we are told that in the Military, “Perception is Reality.” What??? I knew several Women who were threatened with disciplinary action because they were eating meals in the chow hall while deployed with other Men who were not their spouse or their co-workers. Yet Men are not threatened while doing the same thing.
Many Women are told they can’t hold a leadership position due to demands of being a parent on top of being a leader… WHY? WHY are Women told this crap when the Men should be Having the SAME responsibilities as a Parent Too!!? Why do We get singled out? Why is this archaic mentality still a thing it today’s day and age?
Women are often told “Oh you got promoted cuz they needed to meet quota on diversity.” As a way of telling us we didn’t deserve that promotion with our own work ethic and dedication. YES we Most Certainly DID Deserve It!
All of this on top of doing a freaking difficult job in difficult circumstances, sometimes while on deployment into combat operations.

Why all the double standards?
I am Sick of it.
We bring this stuff up and are told things like, “You’re making it sound worse than it is.” And, “There is no way it is that bad, suck it up.” Oh don’t forget the statements telling us it is all in our heads and not real.

When we LIVE this. We had to deal with this.

All The Freaking Time.

Yes, some units are better than others. Yes, some people are not like this. Yes, some Women did not experience or see all of these things.

However, I did. I experienced each and every one of these. I saw it from my own co-workers. From the people who were supposed to have my back. Many didn’t. They were only out for themselves. Yes, some Men experienced similar in their own unique ways. I am not diminishing their issues. I am discussing Real Issues I am personally STILL learning to let go and Heal from. Real issues that Many Women still face and have to Heal from. I did fight when and where I could. Yet when the leadership is just as toxic, retaliation is still a thing we have/had to fear. Doesn’t matter how many Equal Opportunity/Sexual Harassment and Assault Preventions were put into place if the entire leadership were the problems. Going outside those channels was difficult and often didn’t work. Now things have been appearing to get better. At least I hope so.

I learned a whole lot in my career. I built up a lot of Resilience and loved working on the Aircraft. I Loved helping Soldiers progress in their careers or help them transition to civilian life when they decided to get out. I Loved working with our Wounded Warriors as well. I Loved working with many of the people I served with. This is Not a reflection of the good ones. The ones who tried and cared. I Retired with Honors. I stuck it out and am Proud of my Service. My career started in 1999/2000 These is not experiences from ‘back in the day’.
However, I am disgusted by how we Women get treated and then dismissed, gaslit, and WORSE all the time.

Why am I being open about this?

I wrote this in an effort to break through another barrier in my own healing. Speaking up for those who stay silent. Using My Voice to create change. Just because I am a Healer, Mentor/Coach, etc… doesn’t mean I am Fully Healed of everything. I am still working through a lot of layers as I continue to grow. I am still a person with real experiences and issues. This is a process. There is no “quick fix” for healing years and years of trauma and gaslighting. For me, it took Legal Actions, Counseling, Therapy, Medication, Meditation, Finding My own Power and Magic, and more. Walking this Spiritual Path has been extremely Illuminating and Healing for me. My Guides have been there every step of the way and helped me shed layers of triggers and wounds. There IS HOPE. There IS HEALING. There is Learning Peace. There is a Lessening of triggers. There are more GLIMMERS to be found and felt. Every Single Day. I have worked Hard to cultivate my Peace, my Balance, my Healing. I work just as hard for anyone I help as well. Because we are in this together.

Women Servicemembers and Veterans, I Salute You.

Much Love and Support,

About The Author

    I help people fall in love with, and FULLY Accept themselves. I help people break through self-limiting beliefs and calm their inner storms. I help people get creative and find adventure in their Life Again. I help people realize they are far more Loved, Accepted, and Supported then they give themselves credit for. My passion is to help people transform into the best versions of themselves! I am a Certified Professional Life Coach who uses Traditional and Spiritual techniques. Some of my methods include: CBT, NLP, Mindful Stress Release, Energy healing and channeling; divination and mentoring to help you feel better; learn about your spiritual team; connect with them; and co-create with Fate to create the life you have always dreamed of! I am trained in the Shamanic Arts, a Medium, Esoteric Energy Healer, Psychopomp and more, who uses technology in my craft. I perform my services in person AND via Zoom! There are No Limits to where we can go!

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