YWCA Alaska is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women while promoting dignity, peace, freedom and justice for all.
The mission of the YWCA, eliminating racism and empowering women, has been the guiding principle for creating programs in health, economic empowerment, youth development, social justice, and women’s leadership. With a community-based Board of Directors, the YWCA Alaska is an autonomous nonprofit organization dedicated to providing mission and participant-driven programming in Alaska.
A NOTE FROM VANESSA MEADE, VETERAN FOUNDER OF A.V.O.W — MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA
In the past two weeks, two major scandals have been in the news regarding those in charge of addressing the epidemic of sexual assaults in the military, actually being charged with sexual assault themselves. These cases are receiving a level of government concern and media attention that veterans and current military personnel have been asking to see for a long time. This is not a new issue. Women who are serving or have served are hoping that this new light shed on this long-held dark secret will be the catalyst for sexual assaults in the military to be reported, investigated, and prosecuted.
I started the Alaska Veterans Organization for Women (A.V.O.W.) after attending a veteran’s event in which military sexual assault and other issues facing women veterans were minimized and overlooked. I never wanted another women veteran to feel like her service or issues weren’t important. As a former paratrooper, U.S. Army Military Police Officer, and Persian Gulf War veteran, I understand the issues women veterans have faced during their military service. A.V.O.W, through YWCA Alaska, provides services and supports to help women be heard and supported.
Alaska has the highest number of women veterans per capita in the United States, 8,500; less that 1,700 use VA services. Young women veterans are two times more likely to commit suicide than young civilian women. The price we have paid, for years of sexual assaults being ignored in the military is very high.
If you are outraged by the recent news and deeply saddened by the implications of this on current and future women veterans, please take the time to support the work A.V.O.W. is doing to connect women veterans to each other and their community with a financial contribution. Thank you for supporting Alaska Veterans Organization for Women (A.V.O.W.) and for helping shine the light on the effects of military sexual assault on women veterans.
To make a donation, please fill out the form on the bottom of the Veterans page on the YWCA Alaska web page under the women’s leadership tab. http://ywcaak.org/womens-leadership/a-v-o-w/
With deep gratitude,
Vanessa Meade, LCSW