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March 25th, 2008
12:32 PM ET

Women Vets: Your comments, her response

360 Tonight

Watch Randi Kaye's interview with Veteran Keri Christensen.

We received an enormous number of comments on Randi Kaye’s Blog: Women vets suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many of you shared stories, provided insight, and offered your support... but one of those comments came from the very person Randi reported on, Keri Christensen.

Keri was nearly the victim of a roadside bombing in Iraq when the convoy in front of hers was hit. She suffers nightmares from the incident and has brought that anxiety of war home... Keri also suffers from MTS (Military Sexual Trauma); a situation so prevalent in the military that it has its own acronym...Keri shared her situation, the unease she still endures, and you responded...

We wanted to post a follow-up response, from Keri herself:

"Thank you to everyone for the kind words. I told my story because I am a strong woman and feel that it’s important for other Vets out there to get help and let the American people know that it’s ok to speak out on such topics. I joined the Military back in 1991, because I was raised in a family where women were taught that we can do and be anything we want. As far as my superior sexually harassing me, he stepped out of line. He is a married man with children himself and just because we were overseas does not constitute his actions. As far as the military denying my claim, I expected that, and I have to live with that. It’s like being locked up in prison for a crime you didn’t commit and you spend a lot of time trying to prove yourself. I was told by the State of Wisconsin “what happens in Kuwait, stays in Kuwait” Isn’t that what they say about Vegas, I don’t recall my duty overseas was anything like Vegas."

– Keri

To read more about Keri’s story and see the interview, check out Randi's blog: ‘Back from Iraq, but still fighting the battle

For more on bloggers' reaction check out: ‘Bloggers react to women vets story

As always, please share your thoughts with us here.


Filed under: PTSD • Randi Kaye
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. henrietta snyder

    The more you talk, the faster you go. Slow down, enunciate the whole word before you take on the next word. Too much of what you say is not understood. It's getting ridiculous. When I was your age, that was called "slovenly." Thanks for this opportunity to state what has been bothering me for too long. -HS

    May 19, 2009 at 1:52 am |
  2. Rosana

    America, the riches country, the most enlighten country and the most openminded country in the world (we consider ourselve). We fight around the world to liberate the so called backward or developing countries. But we still can't get it right when it comes women. Take a look at Hillary, how much bashing she is taking just because she is a strong woman. What a shame! The same thinng even for ordinary women. But some men can go wrong- perfect example: Governor of New York! Where are the wolves in this case? If he were a white man I guess by now the would have eaten him alive!!

    March 28, 2008 at 9:08 am |
  3. Ratna, NY

    How is Kerry getting the word out? Is there an organization or a integrated community for these women?

    March 26, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  4. SUNNY

    I can go on and on and on .....on that subject.

    You should not give up if you want a career in the military. We need a few good women in the military.

    March 26, 2008 at 11:35 am |
  5. SUNNY

    We still do not get paid as much as men either.

    March 26, 2008 at 11:32 am |
  6. carolyn Hartwell

    Ask any of the talking heads if they have lied before? Cheap shot guys.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  7. Racheal - Canada

    It's a shame the feminists pushed for women to fight in a war. We can, but should we? I think sexual harassment is wrong, clearly. But it's wiser for us to retain safer positions, there are men who feign insanity to get out of fighting, why should women have to fight? Thanks to the feminists, it may not even become a choice form women in the future! It's just smarter, safer to avoid fighting. This way women's families can be assured mom will come home. Single women can be sure they're not raped or sexually threatened. Life is hard enough as it is for women. Sexual harassment is everywhere and will never change, we don't need to raise the stakes and add a war zone to the workplace equation.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    Randi

    Thank you for sharing Keri's comment with us. She is a strong woman and a credit to our country. I hope things get better for her and I thank her for her service and sacrifice. And if Keri reads this comment I want her to know that my nephew that also served in Iraq agrees with you – it was and is nothing like Vegas.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 25, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  9. Sherri

    The military has a very long history of turning a blind eye to male service members bad sexual behavior. After all- they consistently feel women are incapable of serving, both in and out of combat arenas. The feeling, in my era, which was Viet Nam, was that a woman complaining of harassment of a sexual nature was just trying to gain sympathy. Men interacting badly with women in country was just expected. Such denial of not only the acts, but the ramifications of the behavior to spouses, children, family is just disgusting. Similar to the same denial and refusal to provide assistance in treating stress disorder. Women have unique and valued skills and abilities to offer the military- they comport themselves with honor daily and have rarely if ever, gotten the credit they richly deserve. Each member of the military serving tour has a family that serves right along with them. Sometimes being at home waiting is just as difficult as being incountry somewhere else. I respect Keri for sharing what happened to her and I'm grateful for what she has accomplished. I'm sorry that so little progress has been made in the area of holding men behaving badly to a higher standard.

    March 25, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  10. Karoline

    I have to agree with Susan Brown. I'd much rather see CNN devoting time to stories like this than trying to stir up some election fervor when the next primary is still a while away.

    There are plenty of people in America. Too much coverage of Obama and Hillary is just dull.

    I can't believe the men in the military still sexually harass the women. I thought we had evolved past that. It's disgusting.

    Members of both sexes have signed up to lay down their lives for their fellow man if need be and yet, some of the guys still only think of the women in the military as objects for gratification and exploitation.

    It's disgusting. This is an important story.

    March 25, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  11. Ram

    Julie, San Diego
    Good men & Good women should be admired, respected & treated well. The nicer we are to each other the better will be the family life & kids learn from it. Very important thing in anybody's life is peace, happiness & zest for life. Go far it. There are lot's of good men & women but at times you will see a rotten apple. That's life, bitter-sweet.
    Happily married for 36 years but admit it is not perfect. Very satisfactory.
    Ram, Ca

    March 25, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  12. Julie San Diego, CA

    Hey Ram we need to sit down and have some coffee...
    Twenty years ago, when I quit a very good job in a male-dominated field over nearly constant harrassment, I would have expected your kinds of comments. And they would have hurt because I was doing the same job the guys were and was constantly having to prove my reason for being in "a man's job".
    What I've learned in the past 20 years is that women socialize the men they work with, including guys with opinions like yours 🙂
    Ironically, my current "profession" is doing the very thing you suggest – taking care of the home fires. Both paths are noble. If women want to work combat, let them. Maybe their presence will humanize this war to the point we end it.
    Keri, don't let this experience define you or direct your life. You are an attractive young woman and men who aren't used to being around attractive feminine women often behave stupidly around them. It's just a matter of teaching them that you will tolerate nothing less than their respect.
    Ram, the offer for coffee's still open...
    Hope Anderson's little cheek boo-boo is doing better...he has a dog? With his travel schedule?

    March 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  13. Ram

    It is a very smart thing for women to stay back, work if necessary, take care of the family, raise good children to be successful in life. This is a much better, smarter service rather than Combat duty. If they go to war they can do support services. What is the point in coming up with a million complaints on men in combat duty? They live day to day not being sure when their life will be taken. You need to think a little smarter & do the right thing.

    March 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  14. susan Brown

    Dear AC: Why hasn't anyone shown sermons by Rev Wright other than the ones endlessly looping I'm sure there are some that are just boring and others as dramatic as what we've seen but perhaps covering other topics. It would give some balance to the story and some understanding, perhaps, of why Obama and other individuals have stayed in this congregation. I'm surprised no one has done this yet Thanks. P.S. Hows Molly? My two WSS send their best.

    March 25, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  15. Lostfigs

    Keri,

    I sympathize with you and hate that you had to go trough that harassment. But, in all honesty, I have some concerns. Though I don't deny that this happens all the time, I can't believe that the Army would take that stance. I just retired with over 21 years and in that time, I saw many people (mainly men) get fried for not knowing their boundaries. I also saw many guys be wrongly accused and suffer great consequences because the Army takes it so seriously that they sometimes go over board. I'm truly sorry that you experienced such trauma. What did your unit Commander or 1st Sergeant say when you reported this while it was still going on? If you reported it, and they failed to do something, they should be fired.

    March 25, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  16. comfortablynumb

    Keri-
    what seems to me to be a more and more common belief across our nation is the notion of "out of sight out of mind"...the members of the state of WI have no idea what it must be like for you, for other women in our forces, or for anyone in our forces for that matter, who have suffered for our country overseas and now even back home.

    They would not be singing the same song if they were the ones in your position. That shows how two faced our government can be. It's pretty unfortunate, especially when you think about the fact that you were a member of our military since 1991, before many women were, showing that you are a dedicated and tough woman, but they refuse to hear your cries.

    I have family members who served overseas and have spoken with their families about what they experienced. It encouraged me to take a few months off college and went to Malawi, Kuwait, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Somalia. I went with nothing but a video camera and I mainly took the trip just for myself, to see how diverse our world is, and just those three months changed my life. I can not imagine how that can compare to the men and women who served in Kuwait, and continue to try to reshape our world today.

    Those months impacted my life, but nothing to what you have faced, and I wish you the best in the future.

    March 25, 2008 at 1:00 pm |
  17. Cindy

    Randi,
    Thanks for the update from Keri. It is sad that nothing has been or will be done about her sexual harassment. I mean for them to tell her what happens in Kuwait stays in Kuwait is ridiculous! I am glad that she is trying to go on with her life even after all of that trauma. Hopefully she'll fully recover and be OK. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and all of the others dealing with these problems.

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    March 25, 2008 at 12:49 pm |

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