The book "Warriors Without Weapons" by Donna Dean belongs on the desk of every member of the Congress of the United States. This innovative book is being published by the non-profit Minerva Center, a small educational institution dedicated to the history of women in war - a venture that is in itself highly commendable because Minerva is hardly a big gun in the publishing world. At first glance one may think that this is simply another brief history of military women coupled with some anger and angst from yet another victim of the system.
Believe me it is not!
Donna Dean tells her story with both finesse and feistiness - a rare combination. She is not asking for sympathy or pity - she is calling for long overdue action and she does it with grace and courage. She also pulls no punches in identifying what's wrong with the military when it comes to it's attitude toward the harassment of servicewomen. For example in the chapter called "Betrayal:Sexual Assault and the System" she says:
"Denial rules when the truth is too ugly to face. Whether the denial is deliberately deceitful, malicious, and vicious, or simply an ignorant and willful refusal to accept unpleasant facts, it can be a cruel weapon capable of murdering the spirit. Blaming the victim is merely another form of denial. Many military people, male and female, will deny what happens to some women in the military or will deny the frequency of violence, harassment, and other mistreatment, endemic thought it is in reality. They would be deeply shocked and distressed to be told they are part of the problem."
Donna Dean suffered through eighteen years of indignities, harassment, assault, and illness while serving her country voluntarily in the U.S. Navy. And now after enduring the tumultuous aftermath of her experiences she has had the courage to tell her story. The non-profit Minerva Center has had the courage to publish this story. Your challenge is to have the courage to read Warriors Without Weapons and let others know about it - before it is too late for the young women on active duty today in the U.S. military.
PREPUBLICATION PRAISE FOR WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
"Writing from the depths of her own pain, Donna Dean reveals the sad, shocking experiences of the neglected population of traumatized women veterans. A real eye-opener."
Linda Bird Franke, author of Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military
"Donna Dean charts clearly the decades-old connection between sexism, sexual harassment and lesbian-baiting that have provided the rich soil for the 1990s military scandals. This is a very valuable book."
Cynthia H. Enloe, Ph.D. author of
Does Khaki Become You? The Militarization of Women's Lives
"Dr. Dean, in clear and vivid prose, recounts the negative side of military service experienced by many women. This book will be welcomed by those victimized veterans who have waited so long for affirmation and validation and their therapists will value the insights offered. Both directive and prescriptive, a tale truly told, Warriors Without Weapons holds out possibilities of making things better."
Josette Dermody Wingo author of
Mother Was a Gunners Mate: World War II in the Waves
"A powerful and therapeutic account of the hostility and psychological and sexual abuse American women have experienced in military service and of their efforts to move from victims to survivors."
Francine D'Amico, Ph.D. co-editor
Women in World Politics: An Introduction
"In clear direct language Donna Dean describes how many military men, whether through physical or mental violence, can humiliate and destroy a woman's identity in the armed services, and how the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and even women's groups, have been slow to wake up to the needs of women veterans who have been traumatized by gender assaults and discrimination. Demonstrates enormous courage to face and ultimately win these battles against a misguided enemy within."
Patrick Pexton Managing Editor Times News Service
Army Times - Navy Times - Air Force Times
"Donna Dean's writing provides critical and timely insights into myriad aspects of women's life in the military. Her book will enlighten many."
Jessica Wolfe, Ph.D.
Director, National Center for PTSD
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