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Veteran Forum Hopes To Attract More Women Vets

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada hosts the Second Annual Veterans Forum

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada is reaching out to female veterans during this year’s Second Annual Veteran Forum at the . The forum is scheduled on April 2, and this time Yamada wants more women to come.

 Yamada said part of the forum will have a special focus on women veterans and the challenges they face. She said that many women that serve and have been deployed not only experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but may also have Military Sexual Trauma, a condition described by the Department of Veteran Affairs  as “sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was in the military.”

“We need to put it right out there,” said Yamada. “There are many woman, and men, who have been sexually assaulted during their time in service. It’s not a topic that people really like to talk about; it does happen.”

Yamada, who is in her third year of the State Assembly, serves on the Veteran Affairs Committee. The assemblymember, who was a social worker before she was elected, said it is important to reach out to both men and women veterans and make sure they get the information and services they need.

The forum has two portions. The first features representatives from federal, state and local agencies speaking on veteran issues and sharing information on services veterans and their families qualify for. Topics include, but are not limited to: healthcare, disability claims, survivor and burial benefits, and employment assistance. There will also be an opportunity for those attending the forum to apply for services from such agencies as California and United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, and more.

The second portion focuses on issues that affect “woman veterans and veterans adjusting to civilian life.” Veterans adjusting to civilian life, too, will find resources specific to their unique situations.

Yamada said that many in the military now have had multiple and successive deployments, with little down time in between. Still, whatever the experience, she is confident all veterans can benefit from the event.

 “I consider part of my responsibility while serving in the legislature to ensure that my constituents receive all the information and services to which they are entitled,” she said “We focus a lot upon vulnerable populations and groups of people that might not otherwise get the information they need.”

This event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants of the forum are encouraged to bring their DD214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Caseworkers will be available throughout the day to assist in filing disability and pension claims.

For more information, contact Rachel Linn at 916-319-2008.

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