Shield of Sisters helps women enduring military sexual trauma
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Jessica, Tracy and Shannon work tirelessly to uplift Wisconsin veterans identifying as female.
The trio formed Shield of Sisters in 2022. The non-profit focuses on women who have endured military sexual trauma (MST). The United States Department of Veterans Affairs defines MST as sexual assault or harassment experienced during military service.
“We want to help restore these lady veterans and provide them that support, that hope, and that empowerment,” Co-Founder Jessica Williams said.
The founders’ own experiences with MST inspired them to help others going through the same thing.
“As a woman of military sexual trauma that time was one of the loneliest and darkest times of my life that lingered for fifteen years,” Co-Founder Tracy Urban said
The group works to replace damaged feelings with new habits through exercises. For example, throwing darts to visualize the future and carrying a bowling ball to simulate weight some female veterans carry. It’s a process they call restoration.
“Everybody has different baggage that they might’ve had along the way and it’s not saying that you forget about it. It’s just not as treacherous. You’re not a prisoner of your past. We’re able to be restored and we’re able to be that person we want to be,” Urban explained.
Shield of Sisters joined dozens of other veterans in the Veterans Tailgate zone outside Lambeau Field Sunday.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2037 puts on the tailgate to bring friendship, awareness and fundraising to Titletown.
“It’s important to do it just because a lot of veterans... they struggle once they’re out or even currently serving... to kind of get the morale that you get in service,” Co-Leader for VFW Post 2037 tailgate Owen Maass said. “It brings out a lot of service members that are hiding in the shadows and we can get together...have a good time.”
“That’s what’s really neat about us veterans is that we’re all a family and we have that camaraderie and it’s really strong. We want to encourage one another. We want to support and get through that,” Williams explained.
“I am thankful to be a Wisconsinite because of that. That we are able to have a wonderful state to support our military and their needs,”Urban said.
Fallen Outdoors also attended. The group organizes outdoor adventures like hunting and fishing for veterans of all branches of the military.
Pro Staff Alex Dvorak said they’re always looking for people to donate their time and land.
Even though the Packers lost to the Cowboys... the game holds a special purpose. The match-up is part of the Salute to Service initiative.
Players wore the National Football League Salute to Service camo-ribbon decal. Plus, the stadium played videos to recognize veterans and those currently serving.
“As a service member it’s nice to get that recognition. It’s not a reason we do the service but it’s also a good reminder to ourselves of ‘Hey, we did that. We’ve been there’,” Maass continued.
Shield of Sisters hopes to help 100 lady veterans in 2023.
Click here to learn more about or donate to Shield of Sisters.
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