WASHINGTON — Alicia Thompson is proud of her Army service and the work she did in Afghanistan. But she doesn’t think many Americans really know about it, or the struggles she still faces in her post-military life.
“I don’t know if they’re naïve to the challenges that women veterans face, or they just choose to look past them,” she said. “The story isn’t getting out there.”
That’s one of the reasons she agreed to take part in the new documentary “Service: When Women Come Marching Home.” The film tracks the post-military lives of eight female servicemembers, chronicling their struggles with homelessness, marriage troubles, post-traumatic stress disorder and a Veterans Affairs health care system still unfamiliar women as patients.
Film producers said they hope the stories will spur change in the military and VA systems. Women in the films note that military sexual trauma remains a serious problem, with response and resources still incomplete. Women-specific health facilities are rare in the military and VA, which only discourages traumatized female veterans from seeking help.
Thompson served with the 554th Military Police Company in Afghanistan in 2006. She saw several close friends – both male and female – killed and injured in fighting, and she still suffers from PTSD. She’s currently studying psychology in hopes of providing better services to female veterans.
“Hopefully, this film will give people the slap in the face they need to see these issues,” she said. “We need to tell the story [of women troops], because no one else is there to do it for us.”
More information on the documentary is available at www.servicethefilm.com.