From NPR. Sexual violence triggers.
Denyse Gordon was crowned Ms. Veteran America (she is an Air Force reservist), and decided to use her title to shed light on the problem of sexual assault in the military, which she experienced.
"When I was crowned the winner, I knew that I wanted to make every veteran proud, and I knew that in order to do that, I had to be transparent," Gordon tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "I needed to be able to help someone with my story."
Her story is heartbreaking, and she has more than one instance of sexual harassment and assault to share. I feel so deeply for the women who experience this - she was trapped, her career threatened.
Gordon says she blames the men who harassed and assaulted her, but not the military as an institution. "There are individuals that are flat out not going to believe you. And it's a hard pill to swallow when it's your superiors, when it's your close friends because if they feel if you come forward you will ruin unit cohesion, you will ruin that esprit de corps," says Gordon. "And I hope one day that the leadership would put so much pressure on any offenders that they would think twice, three times before even venturing into that arena."
I'm so glad she is stepping forward to help others.