My name is Joyce Wagner. I am a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, and I am a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. This Labor Day, IVAW women will hold our first ever retreat in support of women veterans.
Your donation today will help us make this important gathering happen. (Write in Women’s Retreat in the Designation Code area.)
You have heard about the realities for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan – the physical injuries sustained, the psychological trauma endured, the pressure of being separated from your family, the nagging weight on your conscience that you are part of a large and grave injustice.
Now imagine that you are a woman soldier.
In addition to these realities, if you are a woman service member, you are very likely to have been raped or faced continued sexual harassment by men in your unit. You likely have been passed over for promotion. As you risk your life in the line of duty, you may be ridiculed, insulted, or continually made to deny your woman-ness. You must constantly prove that you are not weak, that you deserve to have your back watched (by those same peers who may be sexually harassing you). And you may grow to distrust other women, just to fit into the hyper-masculine culture of the military.
The women in IVAW have faced these realities, and we are coming together to share our stories, heal from our experiences, and become powerful leaders to help women veterans end the wars. Together, we will explore the sexism and misogyny at the root of war and militarism, and we will begin to explore practical solidarity with the women of Iraq and Afghanistan, with whom we share a common humanity.
Your donation to support this retreat will help pay for food, lodging, and travel expenses for a woman veteran to attend. To donate now, click here, and write Women’s Retreat in the field marked “Designation code.”
I deployed to Iraq twice and took part in the April 2004 assault on Fallujah in which we used white phosphorus on civilians. I joined IVAW because I believe I have a responsibility to help create solutions for the damages I have caused others. It has been a long road toward regaining my humanity, and the women in IVAW have been my greatest support in my personal healing and my development as a grassroots leader. Today I am a mother, graduate student, and chapter president of Pittsburgh IVAW who is hosting this retreat.
Since IVAW’s founding, women have been organizing in the trenches and playing critical leadership roles within IVAW, but we are often the only woman in our chapter. It is time for us to come together to support each other’s leadership as IVAW prepares this fall to launch our first strategic campaign. We know that strengthening women’s leadership within IVAW will strengthen our GI and veteran’s resistance movement.
So far, we have raised one-third of the $10,500 needed to get all of our women to the retreat. Will you help us by donating today? $350 will provide full sponsorship for a woman member to attend. But any amount helps, so please give whatever you can afford.
Please give today.
Marine Corps Veteran, Mom, President of IVAW Pittsburgh
P.S. Don’t forget to write in “Women’s Retreat” as the Designation code when you make your gift.