As a little girl, Rana Clark only had one career goal: to be a soldier. So, in 2005, at age 20, she made her dream come true and joined the U.S. Army. However, Rana sustained multiple traumas in basic training and still copes with the aftermath of breaking her hips in a severe fall and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from a sexual assault.
Rana’s military career was cut short. She faced the challenge of reintegration into civilian life as a changed woman and a future of uncertainty.
Rana is not alone.
Women veterans are the fastest-growing population in military and veteran communities and face unique experiences and challenges than their male counterparts. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) created the Women Warriors Initiative to understand these challenges better and empower the women it serves.
The 2023 Women Warriors Report highlights obstacles women veterans like Rana face after service, including more difficulty accessing health care, transitioning to civilian life, ensuring financial stability, higher rates for certain mental health conditions, and loneliness.
Still, women warriors remain resilient.
The lasting effects of both traumas persist throughout Rana’s life, but she uses them to fuel a new mission. Through WWP, Rana shares her stories and connects with other veterans, but when she learned of WWP’s advocacy efforts, she found another way to serve.
In September 2023, Rana made her third trip to Washington, DC, with more than 50 other women warriors to attend the 2023 Women Warriors Summit. There she met with legislators to address the report’s findings and championed legislative changes that will improve care for women warriors.
Making Your Voice Heard
WWP’s mission is to honor and empower wounded, injured, or ill post-9/11 service members, veterans, and their families through life-changing programs and services. WWP advocates for veteran policies and initiatives that make a real difference, improving the lives of millions of veterans, family members, and caregivers.
Through Operation Advocacy, WWP offers opportunities for warriors to have a voice on issues. For instance, Warrior Advocacy Leaders, like Rana, meet with Congressional leaders to advocate for legislation to improve services and support for veterans.
“It's important that we all band together because we're so much stronger when we're together,” Rana said.
WWP’s advocacy efforts have included toxic exposure, mental health, and women veterans. Rana encourages other warriors to get involved and recognize the power of their voices. Someone can read about veteran issues, but hearing it directly from a service member or veteran can carry a lot of weight – and there is strength in numbers.
By attending the summits in Washington and addressing her local and state legislators about veteran issues, Rana feels like advocacy has given her back the purpose she was seeking when she first joined the Army.
“I've always had a heart for my community. That's why I wanted to be in the military – because I wanted to serve,” Rana said. “I felt like this was a really good opportunity for me to do that again.
“I'm very proud to be a part of the Wounded Warrior Project’s advocacy process,” Rana said. “It is a humbling experience to go and to just walk those historic halls and just feel like if I leave this Earth tomorrow, I can at least say that I attempted to make and leave my impact on this world.”
Contact: — Vesta M. Anderson, Public Relations, [email protected], 904.570.0771
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.