Women Veterans Committee Update January/February 2018

Kate O'Hare-Palmer, Women Veterans Committee Chair


Last year, in the aftermath of hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, we saw many chapter members stand up to help VVA members and their communities. The recovery will be long.

Last Veterans Day, the thirty-fifth anniversary of The Wall, I was honored to speak at the ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (See www.c-span.org). Other speakers included former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Maya Lin, the memorial’s designer. It was a memorable occasion.

The 2017 National Women Veterans Summit, hosted by the Center for Women Veterans, has finally completed webcasts of seminars that didn’t happen in Houston due to the hurricane. Go to www.va.gov, then search for “2017 National Women Veterans Summit.” Topics include entrepreneurship, health issues, medical-legal partnerships, resources, and military sexual trauma.

The committee is deciding upon short- and long-term goals, as well as the budget and seminar topics for the Leadership Conference in Palm Springs this July. VVA has been in the forefront of the fight for survivors of military sexual assault. With the advent of the Me Too Movement, the committee will be formulating a VVA awareness campaign for survivors of military sexual assault and harassment. It will highlight our work to get justice and treatment for those active-duty and former military.

VVA President John Rowan’s press release of December 6, “VVA to Military Sexual Trauma Survivors: Stand up and Speak Out, Be Heard,” was a follow-up to the press conference on the Military Justice Improvement Act and DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office report.

Zero tolerance for sexual assault and harassment is not working. This is a sensitive issue that has been flooding the news. We are concerned about triggers that may affect some VVA members. We hope to make available more information on the effects of military sexual abuse and harassment—as well as available help—via resources, website questionnaire results, and more current information.

Your input is always welcome. Please contact me at koharepalmer@vva.org

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