I came across an article in The Washington Post the other day about the first sisters to become generals in the U.S. Army. The article made me feel proud to be a woman in this day and age and happy to see women putting themselves out there and going for these high-level military positions.
Anyone who is familiar with the military and the news knows that being a woman in the military is not an easy thing. Sexual assault reports for women in the military rose 38 percent last year.
Just 16 percent of the military’s 1.3 million active-duty personnel are women, according to the article. Faced with steep competition from their male counterparts, it is no wonder that many of these women fill low ranking positions.
Becoming a general is something that required a whole lot of hard work, according to these sisters. And, for that I commend them. They didn’t give up. They worked hard and earned these positions.
There is no question that as a nation we still have quite a bit of work to do in terms of gender equality. But, the best way to break down barriers and to shrink the gap is to keep trying. The more we stand up for ourselves, do what we believe in, fight for those positions we want (and deserve), then, the more we can continue to make headway in this constant struggle.
These women show us that any woman can accomplish her dreams if she puts her mind to it. We are strong. Whether it be becoming a football player or an Army general, women can fill the same roles as men. Women really can do anything. So, I thank these women for setting this example for others and for following their hearts.
It is called trauma for a reason. It is shocking, full of pain, and often difficult to accept and move forward from. But, growth from trauma is possible.
There are two different philosophies on trauma. The western philosophy is that trauma is an enemy that should be challenged or confronted. The eastern philosophy is that trauma is a “companion,” not an enemy. Victims are encouraged to feel the pathos of nature, the pain. Rather than sticking closely to one philosophy or another, it is best to incorporate both into healing and growth.
Victim, Survivor, Thriver
Post-traumatic growth involves the passage of being the victim, then the survivor, and ultimately the thriver. Trauma is not fair and being the victim comes with a lot of pain and challenges. Being the victim is not something that needs to result in guilt or shame but rather it is something that happened. It is something that needs to be accepted and grown through — hence the “companion” not the enemy. When you accept that you were a victim, that trauma becomes part of you. You learn how to live with the fact that this happened to you and you learn how to thrive.
A person is still in the victim stage when they feel like they are still in the trauma event, no matter what or how long the actual traumatic event happened. The victim might feel overwhelmed, helpless, angry, etc. A victim moves to the survivor stage when they start to see the resources around to help them, the people in their life that care for them, the good things around them. A survivor is no longer completely encompassed by the traumatic event and is on the road to healing. They are beginning to feel strong and confident in themselves.
A person reaches the thriving stage when they have taken their healing to the point of feeling general satisfaction with their life. They have crystallized the survivor stage and are enjoying their life. In the thriver stage, a trauma victim sees long-term possibilities. They begin to focus on taking care of their health and loved ones. They also recognize and know how to cope with post-traumatic stress and any other issues that remain related to their trauma.
A licensed mental health professional has the tools to help trauma victims go from victims to thrivers. Those in the mental health profession know that just because you were a victim of trauma, it does not need to define you. You can grow, move forward, and ultimately thrive in your new reality.