There are over 21 million veterans today, of which 10% are women. There are about 50,000 homeless and anyone who knows a veteran knows ONE is too many. Women veterans encounter the same dangers as their male counterparts but are often looked at as soft, inferior or unequal in their fields. We are expected to process information the same, but the truth is we don’t. Several words can be used to describe this feeling: inadequate, weak, undeserving or too often we are looked at as just complaining. We have issues with readjusting to family life and work. The roles we had before serving have been rearranged. This leads to feelings of inadequacy and unresolved grief. Mental illness affects us all in different ways and is the main cause of homelessness for women veterans. Just because you cannot see the physical signs of an illness does not mean it cannot affect the body. The VA system is so overwhelmed with cases for PTSD that it cannot keep up and currently is not equipped to handle the specific needs of women veterans. We need an organization that addresses these needs and brings about change such as Women of Hope.
A born leader and a driven soldier, Ashley has brought her many skills to Women of Hope. Ashley sat down and talked with Women of Hope about her experience, her aspirations, and her outlook on civilian life.
There’s many reasons why this dynamic, resilient woman is a strong advocate for women veterans. In this interview she took us back to the beginning of her journey, talked about learning how to swim on the job and finding her stride as a private citizen.