Sunday, July 26, 2009

Helen Benedict

From a Q & A with Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq:

What made you interested in the subject of female soldiers?

H.B.: It began with the Iraq War. I went to a meeting of Iraq war veterans and met two young women there. One told me nobody believes she was in the war, even though she was shot at every night for a year. And then she said, "There are only three things the guys let you be if you’re a female in the army: a bitch, a ho, or a dyke." We began to talk, and I quickly saw that women are fighting a double war: against the so-called enemy and against discrimination and sexism from their own male comrades.

How did you find the forty or so soldiers you talked to?

H.B.: Through veterans organizations. Women soldiers are very eager to be heard and understood because they are so often ignored and dismissed, so often not taken seriously. Many approached me because they wanted to tell their stories. They wanted to be heard.

What are the main issues facing women soldiers today?

H.B.: Sexual...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue