On Instagram @my_seester, I stated this blog would be done differently. It will be a poem that was inspired by a homeless person I assume I saw on a bench while driving home this week. I dedicate it to the many homeless female veterans that tend to be forgotten. For the homeless female veterans that does not quite feel welcome in shelters like Volunteers of America and others. You cannot put the name on why you just don’t feel right. That is what I was told by one female veteran.
THE NUMBERS (source https://www.air.org/resource/fact-sheet-women-veterans-homelessness-and-trauma)
Women veterans are two to four times more likely to be homeless than non-veteran women. This fact sheet from the National Center on Family Homelessness contains information on the prevalence and impact of trauma in the lives of women veterans, particularly those experiencing homelessness.
Some key facts:
- Exposure to trauma is a significant risk factor for homelessness. Women veterans experience trauma at higher rates than the general population.
- Approximately 1 in 4 women veterans screen positive for experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening acts of sexual harassment.
- For women veterans who are
- 32% struggle with substance abuse issues.
- 45% screen positively for anxiety.
- 57% present with health related issues.
- 72% report being diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives.
- 74% screen positively for PTSD.
Title: As I Lay
As I lay my head on this bench
I am assaulted by the stench
Ignoring the holes in my tee and my pockets that are inside out
From searching, hoping for money, but past realities make me doubt
My eyes are closed but I remain aware
Because, I feel the stare
The unasked question I also hear
The question that wonders how I got here
If asked I would respond by saying the choices I made
Living the fast life quickly leaves you not paid
Or, perhaps me craving above all else another hit
Or, it could be the mental institution I was staying was overcrowded so they deemed me well, though, I am unfit
I know without looking their looks of disdain and their nose up high
As they look, don’t stop, as they go bye
Here I lay on this bench
All is perfect except for my stench