Report: Health Care Gaps Narrowing But Remain For Women Vets

As an 18-year-old on her first field assignment as a teletype operator to West Germany for Exercise Reforger in 1974, Marilyn McCloud left her tent one night to use the latrine and was raped by another soldier.

Over a 21-year career, McCloud said she was exposed to lesser forms of sexual abuse and harassment, enough so that by the time she retired as sergeant first class, it had damaged her mental health, instilled a deep anger and left her too frightened even to shop near her New Orleans home without her husband.

For a few years before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which would force her to relocate to St. Petersburg, Fla., McCloud said she tried several times to get the health care she needed from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In her words, she always got “the runaround” from a skeptical VA staff, both in New Orleans and in Florida, and finally she gave up.

On returning to New Orleans in 2011, McCloud became friends with two national service officers at a local chapter of Disabled American Veterans. These women suggested she might be suffering from Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

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Report: Health Care Gaps Narrowing But Remain for Women Vets