To the Editor:

I’m a woman Iraq War veteran (2003-4) with the Iowa Army National Guard. Since my military service I’ve written "All I Could Be: My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq." I have travelled Iowa and spoken at many venues about my experiences, so your readers may have heard of my book.

But today I want to talk about a different, more excruciating side of America’s recent wars: Military Sexual Trauma, or MST. Medically, it is like PTSD, with many of the same symptoms and social problems. Twenty-three percent of woman military veterans claim to have been sexually assaulted in the military. The vast majority of these women did not report the crime, many because of fear of retaliation.

I have personal experience with MST, and my experiences of speaking to other MST injured women during my tours have convinced me that something must be done. So, I have teamed with the Veterans National Recovery Center to host a Strategic Planning Workshop to develop a contact service for these women veterans. If you are a concerned or affected woman, please come to the MST Strategic Action Plan Workshop on Friday, Jan. 3 from 6-9 p.m. & Saturday, Jan. 4 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (at the) Holistic Wellness Center Shopping Center, SE Corner of 86th St & Hickman Rd, Des Moines.

Miyoko Hikiji

c/o Veterans National Recovery Center

Des Moines