Local women veterans meet to discuss their experiences in the Armed Forces

SCHENECTADY, NY (NEWS10) – A group of local women who served our country met in Schenectady Friday night to discuss their experiences in the Armed Forces alongside a local lawmaker who fought as well.

In celebration of Women’s history month, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara held a forum for women veterans. They talked about what it was like and why they were in the service and how they are still trying to deal with some of the issues they faced years after they have gotten out.

“In 1978, I was sexually assaulted and it was another military person,” said Veteran Kathy Dunlap.

Some of these women said that the culture of the military is one that can be difficult for a female to maneuver.

Friday night’s forum was a chance for veterans to give insight on issues that they have faced while serving and what helped them fight through to continue honoring their country. They said it’s therapeutic.

“It’s therapeutic and I know I’m helping someone who could be in a situation that I used to be in,” said Dunlap.

Suzanne Rancourt said that it was at a forum unlike this one in 2012 that caused her to notice what damage had been done all of those years ago. She said one of the ways to cope is to prove to those that doubt, that you do belong.

“They had to know that whatever rank I had, that I was working for it, doing the same things that they were. You’re there for a reason, you chose that path. Once you’re knocked down, always get back up. If you don’t, that gives them more of a right to trample on you, “said Rancourt.

Santabarbara said they plan on having these forums again in the future but they don’t have any on the schedule yet.

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