SAN ANTONIO — A Vietnam veteran who is sharing her military sexual trauma story for the world to read never imagined today’s servicemembers would still be dealing with issues she faced decades ago.
Sue Caldwell says she volunteered to serve in Vietnam.
"I was hell-bent on serving my country," she said.
The military was her way out of the abusive home she grew up in.
"The military was my window to the world and I've always viewed it that way. I've always been proud of my service," Caldwell said.
She shares part of her journey in a new book called "Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal and Resilience on the MST Battlefield."
Caldwell dealt with sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military. She says it's frustrating to see that it's still a problem today.
The Rand Corporation reported last July that 1 in 16 women and 1 in 143 men have experienced sexual assault in the military.
"To me, we're making some progress, but still, I realize that even young women now who come out and speak up about it, there's retaliation. There's retaliation. There are threats. There are all kinds of things," Caldwell said.
Caldwell is one of 14 people who shared their experiences with military sexual trauma in the book.
The book was recently highlighted during an event called Courageous Conversations at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
"It's to educate individuals, and we hope it's at least one more step in the process of change," Caldwell said.
Colonel Lisa Carrington Firmin, USAF (Ret.), is the author.
She proudly retired from the Air Force as its most senior ranking Latina officer. She hopes education gained from the book will make a big difference.
"Now that you've read these 14 stories from the Vietnam era to present day, you know, what are you going to do about that? With that knowledge, can you actually help and make a difference? And I'm here to tell you that you can," Firmin said. "You can speak up. You can talk to your congressional representative. You can talk to or send letters to the military leadership. You can say that this will no longer stand."