Melwood is proud to partner with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) in support of Melwood’s Operation Tohidu, holistic retreats for female veterans who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST). The MST survivors’ retreats offer specialized programming and a sanctuary for reflection and companionship with warriors whose trust in their battle buddies or chain of command was broken.
Thanks to WWP’s generous support, more than 100 women will have the opportunity to live Operation Tohidu’s maxim and make “Peace with the Past, through Power in the Present.”
A 2018 study by the Department of Defense’s Psychological Health Center of Excellence estimates that more than six percent of active duty female service members have experienced sexual assault in the past 12 months. These numbers increase dramatically with the addition of women who have been sexually harassed. Both sexual assault and harassment can lead to a variety of conditions including post-traumatic stress, suicidal tendencies, self-harming behavior, depression, anxiety, social phobias, and/or substance abuse.
“Women make important contributions to our nation’s military, and we want to honor and empower them for success during and after service,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. “Wounded Warrior Project has been serving women warriors since our inception and recognizes that women warriors have unique needs. But no single organization can meet all those needs alone. We’re proud to support Melwood and their Operation Tohidu program, which will help to fill in critical gaps in care that exist for women warriors, especially those living with the pain of Military Sexual Trauma.”
Melwood’s specialized retreats consist of three weeks of virtual programming, followed by travel to the Melwood Recreation Center in Southern Maryland for four days of in-person activities. Participants then complete the transformative program with three weeks of virtual follow-up sessions. Warriors who have participated in these experiential retreats have reported that they continue to use effective practices learned from the retreats to overcome obstacles in their recovery, even years later. Warriors are also empowered to recover from the trauma of war, moral injury, and combat stress, while supporting their transition towards post-traumatic growth.
“Attending an Operation Tohidu retreat is a life-changing experience. Wounded Warrior Project teaming up with Melwood helps address the scarcity of resources and support available to vets who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma,” said Larysa Kautz, Melwood’s President and CEO. “For nearly 60 years, Melwood has been dedicated to serving our injured veterans and people with disabilities through training, education, and employment opportunities while advocating for the rights of the people we serve.”