Just like in communities everywhere - sexual assault, harassment, and abuse in the military is commonplace and underreported.
In the military, an emphasis on unit cohesion and the hierarchical structure could deter victims from coming forward. Those who do come forward are more likely to be dishonorably discharged, while at the same time, unlikely to receive justice - perpetrators are rarely held accountable and may continue their careers successfully with promotions while survivors are likely to be ostracized, held back in their career, or even experience retaliation for speaking up.
And whether survivors choose to report or not, the weight they carry manifests itself in many destructive ways long after the experience. According to a new report from the Pentagon’s Inspector General (Top DoD Management Challenges — Fiscal Year 2020), sexual assault is almost twice as likely to result in PTSD than going into combat. Paws and Stripes offers a unique program that incorporates the relationship between human and dog with therapy through dog training, mental health, psych-education, and peer support. Working with trainers and counselors, clients learn how to manage and thrive in previously debilitating environments, reverse a life of isolation, and navigate challenging impacts of PTSD, MST, and brain injuries.
We are deeply grateful for each and every one of you for helping us help our heroes.