Real Talk with a Woman Veteran!

Podcast Notes
Sharmell: I want to introduce this exceptional person today; her name is ‘
Charcia….Hey Hey, she is from Columbus, Ohio. OH-IO and she’s 31. She attended Columbus East High School. Go Tigers! She graduated from Ohio Dominican College and then……………. let’s bring Charcia in for the truth.
Vanessa: this special episode talking mainly about her as a Veteran. As you know, that is a very important position.
Charcia, can you tell us a little bit about your experience as a vet in the army? is that correct?
Charcia: Yes, OK. I joined the army…I should say I enlisted into the army February of 2011 at 22.
Vanessa: What made you decide to go into the army?
Charcia: I was looking more for stability, financial stability than anything. I had already lost one of my parents, my mom, sooner than I had expected. I didn’t have brothers and sisters here that I was kind of like leaning on the family just wasn’t uh in my for dogs at that time I just felt like I needed to establish myself somewhere and so I joined the military.
Vanessa: OK, well, what year did you say that was around 2011. I see is from 2016, and tell me if this is accurate for you when you were serving but so non-Hispanic whites say 77% of them served whereas 7% of them are Hispanic 12% being black and then 2% is Asian. I know it may be hard to get a percentage off when you serve but how many or how many do you think were serving around that time?

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Charcia: I will say this probably accurate. I don’t feel like we were the majority at all. We were one of the minorities there. We had some Asians, a lot of Caucasians, there were some blacks, but the the blacks that were there were the older veterans, the ones that joined back in the 80s and 90s. These people are moving out for retirement, so as far as young kids and enlisted when I was in…. it wasn’t many blacks.
Vanessa: So are you familiar with any history dealing with veterans?
Charcia: I am just starting to talk to my dad about how Vietnam was and when he came back, and that has been interesting. He was mentioning how when he did come back, he wasn’t welcome by the Americans. There’s a lot of history, and that war was a televised war. Now, for instance, you wouldn’t know what’s going over there. Now everything is kind of under the radar but because there’s such a significant difference from Vietnam. I mean they were just spat on, they were ridiculed for that and so hearing about that, the fact that that’s something that he had to deal with and knowing he was drafted as well. It wasn’t a choice that he made himself just not being able to come back and be welcome as he should’ve been along with his fellow comrades in history. I’m learning about that and
Vanessa: Did you know all this before?
Charcia: You know my dad, and I are very close, and even now he’s not that open about it. When it comes to what he experienced, many veterans want to talk to other veterans about it. They don’t like it to be broadcast it and so for him to even tell me what he’s told me is a stretch pretty vast for him.
Vanessa: So can you tell us any stories that you can remember you saw or you experience related racism or sexism?Anything like that.
Charcia: Oh definitely sexism, but not racism. I won’t say that i have actually seen it. I haven’t actually experienced that or even seen it for that matter but definitely sexism because women are the minority in the military anyway and so I’ve had instances where in a dorm fitness tests being counted for my push ups and setups and i have to do a two mile run under a certain amount of time. Well sometimes men in the army don’t like for women to progress or sometimes they feel like they don’t want you to be ahead. I’ve had instances where a male soldier was counting my push ups and end up stopping. he didn’t count my push ups anymore.
Vanessa: Why is that?
Charcia: Because he wanted to document that I didn’t pass my boot test. Vanessa : Was that because of the color of your skin? Like did they treat those that are black, Hispanic, Asian differently as females or is just literally female versus male?
Charcia: I don’t know that for sure, but I know as a female. It could have been because of the color of my skin, but I’m not sure exactly what his intent was as far as if he didn’t like me because I was black or because i was female, but I really think it was because it’s a man’s army. It’s a man’s military, and so anytime they feel like a female is going to get ahead they’re going to try to stop you from doing that so. ‘
Sharmell: I am eager to know what is something you think that we should know in your time that has happened or events that occur during the time you were serving?
Charcia: I think it’s important, I mean if I had to give you a question to ask me I would ask what is it that was some of the challenges that have affected you? For a long time, for instance, the military was a great value to my life, but there were some challenges a lot of challenges that as soldiers we had to overcome. The suicide rate is high. In the military because the environment is so confined and people feel like, well once I sign up I can’t get out. I want to go home. You’re not only dealing with the world of the military because it’s a different world from civilians you’re dealing with your personal issues too. I don’t think that people understand the processes of what it really, truly means to be a soldier.
Sharmell: OK well maybe they do deserve some type of i don’t know maybe they do deserve a voice, maybe you should be complaining about what you’re going through. ‘
Charcia: I still go through things that I’ve dealt with in the army., my friends as well. We deal with traumatic experiences that we still have challenges with today, like anxiety that came from the military. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s just I think if I had to give you a question to ask me, I would say, what are some of the challenges that you dealt with in the military and how are you dealing with them today?
Sharmell: I’m also eager to know during your time in the military, while you were serving, did you have support? I know you mentioned that there are some people that you know and that a big suicidal right. Do they have support and staff there to help?
Charcia: I will say we do have people there to help me.
Sharmell: But do you feel that they’re on your side? I’m also eager to know.

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