Friday, June 18, 2010

Pack Parachute Charity: What You Should Know

My bloggy friend Susan Avila-Smith's Pack Parachute Charity is well worth supporting:
"Pack Parachute Charity is located in stunning and occasionally sunny Seattle, and is a Washington State-based, 501(c)3 tax-exempt charity. We are the only charity that offers direct financial support to former members of the military with Military Sexual Trauma (MST) who reside in Washington State.
MST combines the sexual trauma some United States armed service members experience on active duty, as well either the persecution the victims often suffer when they report, or the fear of persecution which effectively prevents them from reporting.
Because of this, it’s sometimes hard or even impossible for former members of the military with MST to ask for help from the usual areas of veteran support. In many cases, they are too frightened to even walk in the doors of a VA hospital, as this was the institution that already once let them down. As a direct consequence, the PTSD that appears in over 60% of the cases of MST1 becomes overwhelming, and people with MST need a friendly place to ask for financial help when they exhaust their own financial resources. So . . . enter Pack Parachute Charity!
Pack Parachute Charity seeks to give low income MST veterans limited financial assistance and also help them access other benefits and services they need, the goal being the veteran's financial and emotional stability. If making sure a survivor's rent is paid for a month or that his kids have waterproof shoes helps facilitate his recovery, we want to give what we are able. For instance, one woman known to us simply needed a new carburetor for her car so she could get to work.
Our goals obviously must be limited by our resources, and donations primarily come from both individuals like you, and other veterans with MST who “pay it forward” once they are financially stable again. (We’re all kind of wonderful like that.) We also accept donations from corporations, trusts and estates."
My thoughts:
MST is just as much a wound as is being shot by "friendly fire". We civilians have a  responsibility for those who went into harm's way on our orders. That we did not want them to be injured (and indeed may not have agreed with our civilian leadership that gave the orders) does not free us from the responsibility.
Besides, it's not a complicated moral choice; it's just the right thing to do.

Learn more:

1. Source: “DSM-IV Diagnosed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans With and Without Military Sexual Trauma.” Society of General Internal Medicine. Mar. 2006.

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