Black Military Women Among Growing Homeless Veteran Population

Posted By Urban News Hour | March 11, 2013

The case of what happens to women military soldiers once they return home from war is not widely discussed within the African-American community. However, recent studies by the Defense Department are revealing how black female veterans are disproportionately being left to fend for themselves. According to follow-up studies, black women that are sexually traumatized in the military are now among the fasting growing segment of the homeless population.

Sexual assault is among the military’s most vicious secrets for women, a recent New York Times profile demonstrates. One in three military women have been sexually assaulted, the Defense Department revealed – a rate twice as high the one for civilians. A report conducted by the United State Government Accountability Office showed that 45% of homeless veterans were black women, while 41% were white, 7.6% were Latinas, and 1.3% were Asian. Most homeless female veterans were those who served during the Persian Gulf and Iraq War periods.

The cause of the growing trend? Post traumatic stress disorder from sexual assaults that often go unreported due to fear of reprisal. The profile states:

“While male returnees become homeless largely because of substance abuse and mental illness, experts say that female veterans face those problems and more, including the search for family housing and an even harder time finding well-paying jobs. But a common pathway to homelessness for women, researchers and psychologists said, is military sexual trauma, or M.S.T., from assaults or harassment during their service, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.”

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