(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“I expected a sense of honor and a sense of adventure with my first mission. What I got was not what I expected or would wish on any young female soldier. “
Ty Will served in the Army Reserves from 1987-1989 and went into active duty from 1989-1992. She returned to the Reserves until she was honorably discharged in 1995.
Since the second grade, she had a fascination with the military. However, it wasn’t until she saw a recruitment commercial on TV that this single mother decided to enlist. She saw this as her chance to become a “better parent and a better person”. Unfortunately this decision led to traumatic events that almost destroyed her mentally, emotionally and even physically.
The Female Veteran is a diary of mental health notes from the psychiatrists, social workers and other therapists who worked with her during the period of 2001-2010. However, the names have been changed. Most of the sections are followed by her, the patient’s, thoughts and feelings.
The VA doctors treated Military Sexual Trauma (MST) like Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and prescribed heavy drugs instead or actually listening to the patient. Ty was put into therapy groups with men suffering from PTSD, and, of course due to the MST, she hated being around strange men.
“..I feel in my soul that if the army would had just paid attention to my plea for help, I would not have this constant fear of not being heard.” (June 2005).
“I feel that even if I yell and scream, nobody can hear me.”
If you think that this book sounds too clinical or dry, you are definitely wrong. This story grabbed me from the beginning, as the format worked so well. We don’t learn of the specific events initially; the truth slowly unfolds as she is able to remember and acknowledge the abuse and rape.
Ty Wills relays her story passionately, full of angst and anger. However, she maintains her rationality, acknowledging and even criticizing many of her life choices outside of the assault.
This 126 page book is dedicated to “All female veterans too afraid to come out of the shadows.”
MST has just recently been exposed, but Wills writes that over 3000 female veterans file MST reports each year. I recommend this book to all Americans, as no victim should stay in the shadows and no perpetrator should go unpunished.
Ty, you are now being heard.