Advocacy is not the action of doing things for other people, it is the act of partnering with people who have tried to make changes in their lives and became disempowered as they encountered barriers. The act of advocacy is teaching others how to connect with resources, being their voice until they can learn to speak on their own, asking questions on their behalf, and supporting them as they find the strength to communicate on their own.
1. We do this individually as we partner with survivors who are seeking healthcare and access to services through the VA. Our expert team members and board have all gone through the benefits and claims process, and we know that not everyone is able to be assertive or navigate the system effectively. We have partnered with the Veteran's Administration and have been vetted to work with administrators at the local, regional, and national levels to help veterans resolve their issues proactively.
2. We do this locally as we reach out to employers, community organizations, and law enforcement agencies on the issues of trauma informed care, social injustice, and intolerance for those who have hidden disabilities. Many times our veteran brothers and sisters have difficulties communicating their needs and accommodations to employers or other community members. This leads to misunderstandings, conflicts, diminished self esteem, discrimination, and unemployability. Our goal is to help veterans remain safe and stay active in their communities.
3. We do this nationally, as our expert team works with legislators and communities about the unique issues and needs that MST survivors have. Our culture is becoming more understanding about sexual assault and resources are growing every day, but there are still misperceptions about survivors, a latent culture of misogyny, and broad assumptions about what our country's responsibilities are to those that have been assaulted in the military.