Soldier On: Life After Deployment has its greatest impact when it is screened, then followed by a panel discussion or workshop focused on connecting women veterans with each other, making them aware of the resources available to them and helping them gain access to resources, if needed.
If you are interested in arranging a screening of Soldier On: Life After Deployment coupled with a panel discussion or workshop, please fill out the contact form below.
/ Key Facts:
- After WWII, more than 12 percent of Americans had served in the military. Today, it’s less than one percent.
- The total U.S. veteran population is close to 22 million. There are 2 million women veterans. (VA)
- Today, women veterans make up about 9 percent of the U.S. veteran population. There are 280,000 post-9/11 women veterans. (VA)
- Women are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. veteran population. By 2035, women are projected to be about 15 percent of the total veteran population. (National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics)
- Nearly three-quarters of female service members feel the public fails to recognize or value their service. (SWAN survey)
/ Thinking More Deeply: Joining Up
- Post 9-11 female veterans joined the military for the same reasons as men: serve country, receive education benefits, see more of the world, learn skills for civilian jobs, because jobs were hard to find. (Pew Research Center)
- Where women and men differ: 42 percent of women veterans joined the military because jobs were hard to find compared to 25 percent of men. (Pew)
- Women vets are less likely than male vets to be married, more likely to be married to a fellow service member, more likely to be a single parent, more likely to be divorced, and more likely to be unemployed after their service. Women vets tend to be younger than male and less likely to use the VA. (DAV)
- 81 to 93 percent of female veterans were exposed to some type of trauma prior to enlistment compared with much lower rates of 51 to 69 percent for the civilian population. (Zinzow et al, 2007) Traumatic experiences include childhood abuse and neglect and domestic violence, which have a significant impact on mental and physical health, family relationships, housing and job stability.
/ Discussion Questions
- Have you or anyone close to you ever been enlisted in the U.S. military?
- Who volunteers for the military when the United States has an all-volunteer force?
- What risk factors does this population bring to their military service?
- Do you think there should be a draft?
- Should women be included in the draft?
- What are the possible societal effects of a draft?
/ Thinking More Deeply: Service
- More men have served in combat (57 percent) compared to women (30 percent) (Pew)
- One in 5 female veterans are victims of Military Sexual Trauma, compared to 1 out of 100 male veterans (VA).
- Both sexes say they have experienced the positive benefit of military experience and feel proud of it. (Pew)
- Women veterans are more critical of than male veterans wars in Iraq (63 to 47 percent) and Afghanistan (54 to 39 percent) (Pew)
/ Discussion Questions
- Based on the various statements made by women in the film, do women and men have different experiences participating in combat?
- Do you know anyone who has been a victim of military sexual assault? If so, did that person receive proper care and concern from the relevant authorities? Was the perpetrator brought to justice?
- Should there be civilian intervention in handling cases of military sexual assault?
/ Thinking More Deeply: Coming Home
- Women and men equally likely to have had rough transition back into civilian life. Of women, 43 percent. Men, 45 percent. (Pew)
- Both sexes feel they suffer from post-traumatic stress and felt they don’t care about anything since they left the service. Both sexes experience familial strain. (Pew)
- Women are more likely than men to be unemployed after their service. (BLS).
- Women veterans tend to be younger than male veterans and less likely to use the VA (VA)
- High rates of homelessness among women veterans, at least twice as high as women non-veterans. (DAV)
- The rate of suicide among female vets is 18.9 per 100,000 compared to 7.2 per 100,000 among female civilians. The risk for suicide is 2.4 times higher for female veterans than female civilians. (VA).
- More than 38 percent of women report depressive symptoms after deployment, compared with 32 percent of men. (Journal of Internal Medicine)
/ Discussion Questions
- How prepared are soldiers to readjust to civilian life?
- What impact does military service have on relationships for women veterans?
- How can government policies ease the personal costs of deployment?
/ Additional Discussion Questions
- Why do you think the women veterans participated in Soldier On: Life After Deployment? What do they want viewers to know?
- Two of the main characters in the film state that their lives don’t feel as important once their military service ends. Why? Can that feeling be overcome?
- Should women veterans identify as women veterans or just as veterans?
- Finding adequate employment is a serious concern for veterans transitioning out of the military. What can be done to help veterans make the transition successfully?
- And what can be done to help veterans stay employed, especially if they are coping with physical or psychological challenges?
- If you are a veteran, what do you wish you had known when your military service ended? What would have helped you make the transition back to civilian life more smoothly?
- How can veteran advocates best reach veterans who are unwilling or unable to ask for help?