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How Many Female Cadets Really Want to be an Infantry Platoon Leader? Turns Out, Quite a Few

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in About Face, Guest Writers | 0 comments

By Shelly Burgoyne Roughly four months have passed since the “ban” was lifted; women can now officially serve in combat units. They can, in theory, enter the Holy Grail of equality in the military – the Infantry.  The days that followed Panetta’s announcement were filled with many men and a few women who, barring any facts and little first-hand experience, declared that the inclusion of women in combat arms would be devastating to...

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The Official Ethnic Cheerleader

Posted by on Apr 22, 2013 in About Face, Guest Writers | 1 comment

Submitted Anonymously I have a friend who jokingly named my collateral work duty The Official Ethnic Cheerleader. I have always been an active member of a myriad of ‘diversity awareness’ councils during my commission. I’ve sent out the informational emails on heritage months, arranged 15 minute lectures on entire cultures to fit into All Hands presentations, coordinated base visits from ‘minority’ populated schools, and stood as...

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A Military Victim Advocate Talks about Lauren

Posted by on Mar 6, 2013 in About Face, Guest Writers | 3 comments

(Submitted to SWAN Anonymously) As a woman who has been in some kind of military environment for close to ten years (prep school, active duty, academy), I have become quite the scrutinizer of any sort of military centered media. I am that annoying critic laughing at the Private First Class with red fingernails, and the improbability of boot camp ending with a boy-meets-sexy-girl romance. (Obviously, I am also a huge nerd.) When I saw that WIGS,...

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MST Survivors Still Encounter Significant Barriers to VA Claims Adjudication, VA Compensation and VA Treatment

Posted by on Dec 7, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 4 comments

Submitted Anonymously to Service Women’s Action Network in December 2012 Easier access to treatment is a good first step for the VA to help MST survivors.  The VA has come a long way in getting the word out to veterans who have experienced MST.  However, VA still has barriers in place for healing to take place for MST survivors, particularly in regard to VA claims, compensation and medical treatment.  I am approaching 2 years of being...

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Superior Betrayal

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 2 comments

By Elisha Morrow (Some names are not disclosed for safety reasons.) “These recruits are entrusted to my care. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Coast Guard men and women. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill.” -        United States Coast Guard...

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My Secret Struggle

Posted by on Sep 4, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 5 comments

(Submitted anonymously.) First, I want to preface this by saying I wrote this originally as a part of therapy wrote this original, and decided to share this with other young military women (and men).  I am sharing this because I want young military women to understand what they are about to embark on, and to look out for themselves.  This is hard for me to write, and as I do this, I am struggling to hold back tears.  Even after all this time,...

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The Freedom of Finally Letting Go

Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 0 comments

My name is John Swank. When I was in the USMC in 1978 I was drugged then raped repeatedly by three men. For some reason (actually there are many, anyone who has been raped knows them all), I didn’t tell anyone for thirty years. It took me having to go to prison because of the drugs that I started abusing almost immediately after the rape to finally tell someone about it. It was a life change for the second time when I did. There are still...

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Train to One Standard, One Tab

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers, SWAN Updates | 7 comments

Ranger school was something we joked about my first summer attending cadet basic training. The guys would say, “You’re going to be the first female ranger” – as a joke. Well, of course. We all knew that there was no way women were ever going to Ranger school.  When I saw a ranger tab (a decoration that shows the completion of a military school and is worn on the left sleeve of the Army Combat Uniform), I felt automatic respect for the...

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Time to Heal

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 0 comments

By “Jane Doe,” Former Staff Sergeant Seven years later, I believe that I am starting the healing process. I still have the dreams, I am still triggered, and there are still sleepless nights. Sadly, my assault and subsequent treatment by my superiors after reporting still haunt me – but again, I am healing. My assault happened six years into my nine years of service in the Army. On the last day of my contract I moved to New York...

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I Lost More

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 1 comment

Submitted Anonymously by an Airman First Class I was with friends. People I trusted. Being a normal 21 year old girl, I made a mistake. Drank too much. Lost control. But it was alright, I was with people I trusted. I passed out – my night should have been done. Wake up. I can’t move, something or someone is on top of me. I can’t move. Can’t speak something is in my mouth. I can’t move. Unwanted kisses go down my body. I can’t...

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The Day to Day

Posted by on Jun 11, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 1 comment

by Christine S. I’ll admit that for a while right after it happened I went a little crazy. I haunted the local grocery store in the early morning hours, caressing fruit and squeezing bags of bagels at 2 am. It was the only place nearby that was open 24 hours. I shuffled the aisles in my stained sweatshirts and baggy sweatpants, stopping every once in a while to examine a random food item, read its nutritional value and put it back down. They...

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Question 21: The Urgent Right to Heal

Posted by on May 16, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 9 comments

By Christine S. Christine S. has spent 16 years on Active Duty and is a veteran of OIF and a Bronze Star recipient. She is currently serving in the Washington, DC area. I read with exasperation Secretary Panetta’s announcement a few weeks ago regarding changes in the prosecution and handling of sexual assault cases. Though efforts to end sexual assault in the ranks are laudable, the route they take reflects a fundamental misunderstanding...

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My Silent War with Bulimia

Posted by on Mar 19, 2012 in Guest Writers | 5 comments

“Why would you want to join the U.S. Marine Corps?” It is a question I have been asked many times.  My reply has always been, “Why not?!”  I desired a challenge; I wanted to make a difference, to be among the elite, and to set a higher standard for women in the military. I felt I had the right stuff to be one of the few and the proud, so I pursued my dream to become a Marine Corps Officer with spirit and drive. My career began as a...

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Ms. Trotta – Did You Really Have To Go There?

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in About Face, Guest Writers | 8 comments

By Staff Sgt. Colleen Bushnell, USAF retired Just when her detractors were hoping for an apology, journalist Liz Trotta dished out more of the same rhetoric against women serving in the military. In Trotta’s initial statements, aired on February 12th on Fox’s “America’s News Headquarters,” the reporter said women servicemembers should expect male servicemembers to rape them. Not surprisingly, this provoked outrage from veterans, and...

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A Perspective on the Word “Trou”

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 in About Face, Guest Writers | 0 comments

Editor’s note: Last summer, SWAN hosted an intern from the United States Military Academy (USMA) who graciously educated our staff about the myriad issues women cadets face at the Academy, including the form of sexual harassment she describes in this blog. The cadet’s experience is her own and does not necessarily reflect the views of SWAN. Our own report about the sexual violence at the U.S. military academies can be found here. Many people...

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