The diocese, in coordination with the Veterans Administration in Pennsylvania, created the nation's only group for female veterans living with moral injury. Although many symptoms overlap with PTSD, moral injury differs in the key characteristics are shame and guilt. A veteran can have the effects of witnessing or being a part of a traumatic event leaving them with difficulty sleeping, psychological problems, mood changes, images of the event, and more.
The diocese’s moral injury program is a 12-week program specifically for female veterans. Often veterans walk around with symptoms that leave them feeling isolated, uncertain about their identity and even suicidal.
For female veterans the issue of military sexual trauma (furthermore the lack of justice after a sexual assault), leaves them feeling isolated in a male-dominated system. This program offers them a safe space to gain awareness that what they are experiencing is not a disease and that there is nothing wrong with them. In the end, the veterans are encouraged to share their story – their truth - with the community in a healing ceremony. During this ceremony the community learns of the obligation and of the importance to help carry the burdens veterans have when they return home.
For more information on this program, please contact the Rev. Canon Toneh Smyth, tsmyth@ diopa.org.