Struggle Worth Recognizing

by Alyssa T on November 15, 2012 - 8:35pm

Alyssa Torlish

    The program I will discuss is called “Service Women’s Action Network” (SWAN), which is an advocate for all women serving in the military and veterans.  The action the group aims to accomplish is increasing women visibility and pursuing equal protection, opportunities, and benefits.  Around 250,000 women have served as of now in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Women fight on the battlefields with virtue, earning high awards such as the silver star.  The role of women in the military is drastically changing, however, it is still a struggle to receive the same awards and veteran’s benefits as their male counterparts.  For women to be acknowledged for their roles and accomplishments on the battlefield, congressional policy must take the ban off women in direct combat.
    This action can be built upon in my community by educating and reaching out to the public about the program, in hopes of gaining support.  The positive aspects to SWAN include the attention directed towards women visibility in the military, support  and counseling for veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST), and providing support for the homeless women veterans as well as the LGBT community.  The negative aspects of SWAN involve rejection from the Veterans Benefits Administration which may lead to further trauma and illness among veterans with MST.  The most widely debated aspects are women’s physical strength and stamina to complete tasks and the financial and logistical hindrance of pregnancy.  It is negative aspects like these, that keep a program like SWAN and support from the country in constant question.  To pursue this supportive action in the community, there would need to be widespread education about the fact that women are already in combat zones, driving on bomb-laden roads and patrolling in dangerous areas of Afghanistan and Iraq alongside men.