This past week we celebrated Veteran’s Day, a day to remember and appreciate all of the veterans who have served the United States in any branch of the military. Even though there are over 20 million veterans currently living in the United States, for the most part the veterans are quietly going about living their daily lives. Periodically veterans will become the focus in the media as we remember the anniversary of an historic battle or as concerns are raised about the availability of quality healthcare for veterans.
In recent years there has also been more emphasis on veterans and the effects of PTSD. PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, can occur after experiencing a traumatic event. It is not hard to imagine that veterans would experience PTSD, especially those who had combat experience. As we gain more understanding about PTSD and its effects, hopefully more veterans will be able to receive the help they need and deserve.
One of the things we have learned in the domestic violence field is that survivors of domestic violence may also be diagnosed with PTSD. It is sad to think that women and children may be living in situations bad enough to cause PTSD, but perhaps we should not be surprised because survivors have compared the violence in a relationship to a “battlefield”. The ways in which domestic violence is carried out by one partner against another are horrific, demeaning and frightening, making a battlefield out of a home that could be safe and loving.
Like our veterans, we hope that domestic violence survivors will also have access to the help and support they need to understand and live with PTSD. And in this season of gratitude we give thanks for everyone working to make sure that veterans, domestic violence survivors and others have access to the support and services they need to not only live with PTSD, but to live lives that are rich and full.