Veterans services agency: Women in military rarely take advantages of available services
Women make up about 10% - 15% of the U.S. military, but the veterans services agency in Rockland County says they rarely take advantage of the services available to them.
The agency tells News 12 that in the last decade, only a handful of female veterans have walked through its doors - although female veterans have a higher suicide rate, a higher rate of homelessness and a higher rate of unemployment than male veterans.
"Maybe they were a nurse, or maybe they did admin, so therefore you see people that are male veterans, and they have the hat on and served in certain campaigns and so a lot of times women don't identify with that, and they don't naturally assume they're a veteran," says Susan Branham, director at Rockland County Veterans Services.
Elizabeth Rubbio served in an administrative capacity in the Marines for nine years.
She says that since she was a secretary, she believes that possibly people believe her service isn't seen as comparable to an infantryman.
Branham is a former captain in the Army where she was an Apache helicopter pilot for seven years. She says the Army mentality also gets in the way.
"I hear veterans all the time tell me 'I don't want to take, I don't deserve, let it for the other person,' and that's a common veteran belief," she says.
It's not just in Rockland County, but across the country that female veterans are not taking advantage of the services they are entitled to.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants to change that. It put out a survey for female veterans so they can get some definitive answers. Here is a link to the survey.