CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Women veterans are heroes. But how many of them are appropriately acknowledged as heroes? Studies reveal female service members don’t feel as respected or valued as their male veteran counterparts, despite their own honorable military achievements.
A relatively unseen community faces unique challenges. For example, female veterans are frequently the victims of sexual assault and harassment. According to the VA Medical Center, about 1 in 5 women veterans report sexual assault and 71 to 90 percent report experiencing sexual harassment during the course of their military service. These experiences result in more cases of PTSD than actual combat history.
“These experiences, these feelings, these emotions can lead to a lack of their own identity. They may not feel they can receive the same services at the VA or connect with resources in the community,” explained Shirley May, VA Medical Center’s women veterans program manager.
Furniture Fair, VA Medical Center, BBB Center for Ethics and Local 12 are Standing As One for Women Veterans by asking the community to participate in a personal hygiene product drive January 28 through March 11. Items such as shampoo, soap, deodorant, sanitary products, and other hair products may be dropped off at any Furniture Fair store in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.
“As a Veteran, I have hosted and been a part of numerous military-specific job fairs and health fairs,” explained Chris Klug, director, Strategic Partnerships, BBB Center for Ethics. “This is the first event of its kind focusing on women Veterans. I’m very proud BBB Center for Ethics along with our partners are addressing a unique issue in the Tri-State that will help so many people.”
Volunteers will then assemble the donated items into gift bags that will be distributed during a Veterans Military Appreciation Event, Saturday, March 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Furniture Fair. The store is located at 7200 Dixie Highway in Fairfield.
The free event will have resource tables, a kid’s area, and refreshments.
“These are women that never stop and say, ‘OK, I’m a veteran too.’ We’re here to say to them: ‘There is help and a community that cares,’” said May. “This is a special event just for them.”
In the Tri-State area, there are 12,000 women veterans, with 3,700 currently receiving care at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and community-based outpatient clinics. The median age of a woman veteran is 49 years; the median age of a male veteran is 65 years.
“As a former USAF member, the military - both veterans and active members - have a special place in my heart,” said Ed Hartman, Furniture Fair’s director of marketing. “When I was told that over 13,000 women vets in the Greater Cincinnati area needed help, I set to work finding out how we at Furniture Fair and the community could help.”
For more information about the collection drive and resource fair, visit cincyvets.org
ABOUT BBB CENTER FOR ETHICS: BBB Center for Ethics - the 501(c)(3) affiliate of BBB Cincinnati - provides ethics education, direction and recognition to employers and employees of today and tomorrow. The Center runs several local programs, all committed to fostering a new generation of workers - a generation that understands what it means to be ethical in every aspect of their work. Ethics-based training workshops, ethics-centered scholarship opportunities and ethics-focused business awards combine to create a future in which the good guy finishes first. The Center - where passion meets purpose.