Who: BriGette McCoy is a veteran of the Golf War, serving in the Army from 1987 to 1991. Deployed and stationed in Germany, BriGette served as a telecommunication specialist. When asked why she enlisted in the army, she responded that she had a desire to travel the world, wanted to gain job experience, and earn money for college. Not unlike some of the motivation for many others to enlist in the Army, BriGette seemingly had hold of her dream. Not long after being deployed, McCoy was discharged and sent home. The Army had promised her many benefits after returning from the War, yet the lack of assistance offered lead to her short bout of homelessness. Since then BriGette has gone forward to devote herself to the service of those women veterans that need assistance.
What: BriGette has taken a stance on matters of women military activism, as well as a source to those trying to solve matter of military trauma. She has spoken out about her own experience with military sexual trauma to provide testimony for United States Senate Committee on Armed Services Hearing on Sexual Assaults in the Military. She also serves in different projects that help other women that struggle mentally and emotionally, but also helps integrate them back into the civilian work force from the different kinds of services she provides in the nonprofit organization she created to service women not unlike herself.
Why: The forefront of BriGette’s community outreach and activism is stemmed from her experience leaving and converting back into civilian life. BriGette hardships stemmed from the overlook of mental and physical problems because of military sexual trauma. McCoy described that at the time of her discharge, it was unencouraged to bring military sexual trauma into light. It was also uncommon for any post-war examination to explore mental and emotional stress such as post-traumatic stress disorder. BriGette ultimately suffered from this physical and emotional stress that made it difficult for her to retain a job. In a time when one’s credit score dictates life decisions, BriGette had to deal with a bout of homelessness because of the lack of services offered to her after her deployment.
Women Veteran’s Social Justice: Since August 2008, BriGette has founded a community based non-profit organization, The Women Federal Social Justice, aimed to help female veterans achieve social justice. She uses this organization to help facilitate a source of aid for those who have returned to civilian life. BriGette does things like create opportunities for them to gain employment, which supplements the aid McCoy had been denied years before. McCoy also creates the initiative to use creativity and art as a therapeutic tool in situations of those with who have experiences PTSD or MST. In this organization she also promotes the areas she wishes to improve for veterans. These areas for concern and improvement are equal VA services for women, Military Sexual Trauma services, and homeless prevention services. She continues to use her personal story and advocates for women veteran social justice, and has recently been features in the recently released documentary Service: When Women Come Marching Home.
3. Information also provided by a personal interview with BriGette McCoy: