22 Veterans Will Kill Themselves Today

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About Cameron Conaway

Cameron Conaway, Executive Editor at The Good Men Project, is a former MMA fighter and an award-winning poet. He is the author of Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet, Bonemeal: Poems and Until You Make the Shore. Conaway is on the Editorial Board at Slavery Today. Follow him on Google+ and on Twitter: @CameronConaway.

Comments

  1. Les Kertay, Ph.D. says:

    So I have to raise a question. I will preface it by saying that I completely agree that sexual assaults such as these occur, occur more frequently than anyone would like to admit, and we should be outraged by them. The story that is in the post about the man brutally raped by his drill sergeant is horrifying. I will also say that the number of suicides cited is also horrifying and needs attention.

    My question is the basis for linking the two. The post cites 13,000+ sexual assaults, with no clear reference to the period of time, but presumably it was more than a year. Also presumably they aren’t all perpetrated by superior officers. But 22 suicides a day is more than 8000 a year. So even if every single sexual assault led to a suicide – which is doubtful – the numbers to me point to a bigger problem. Perhaps the nature of the wars that are being fought, the terrifying elements inherent in facing IEDs, overlong deployments, lack of support, I don’t know. But the problem of what’s happening to the mental health of our soldiers goes beyond the horrors of sexual assault. I think that needs to be said. Sexual assault is horrifying, unconscionable, and is worthy of rage and action; but the problem is bigger, by a factor of many.

    • Daniel Dewey says:

      Yes, I agree. The article mentions two serious issues, and says it will link them, but fails to do so. By doing so it further isolates those considering suicide by taking their reasons out of the conversation. Poor coverage of such a major men’s and military issue. A dead man can’t be a good man.

      Also, these stats need to be compared to the general population to see whether these really are military-specific problems.

  2. The number of active duty and reservists committing suicide in 2012 exceeded the number killed in active duty. Here is a link to the NPR article; http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/01/14/169364733/u-s-militarys-suicide-rate-surpassed-combat-deaths-in-2012

  3. Mark Sherman says:

    These statistics on suicide among veterans are horrifying. So why not more attention in the media? Could it be that it’s because if the statistics for these suicides match what they are in general, there are far more men killing themselves than women? (Even proportionally speaking – i.e., suicides as a percentage of military personnel of each gender.)

    Suicides among young people, in general, in this country are disproportionately male, and I believe that this is a big reason that this tragedy does not get more media attention. (I truly believe that if young women started killing themselves at the same rate as young men, it would be a front page story.)

    In fact, do you have the gender breakdown for veteran suicides, including as a proportion of each gender serving? Perhaps I’m quite wrong on my assessment here.

  4. Tom Brechlin says:

    I have to say that I was disappointed that the article linked suicides and rape. Yes, there is a correlation but in reality these men who are giving up in large numbers relate to a much larger picture and by focusing on sexual abuse, minimizes the need to address the population as a whole.

    ““Women get most of the attention on this issue because, proportionately, their numbers are much higher. Women make up only about 15% of the active-duty force but account for 47% of sexual assault victims.”

    Okay, then 53% of the assault victims are men. Ummm, 53% appears to be the majority. Proportionately or not there is a problem for men as well. Also keep in mind that men are far less likely to report it so I don’t think there would be much of a stretch to say that it’s a bigger issue for men overall.

    That being said, yet again it appears that as long as women’s health is front and center of issues that the awareness campaigns begin. Men historically died from heart disease yet it wasn’t until there were signs that it was affecting women in great numbers as well, American Heart Association began their “Wear Red for women” campaign. In all the years I’ve had the disease, there was nothing, no national campaign for men.

    High male suicide rates is not a new phenomena and although a light has been shown on it, I see nothing happening with respect to research for or on men. The only thing that’s come to light are mental health issues relating to a number of mass shootings. Had those shooting not been front and center, I guarantee you that there would be no notice of male mental health issues.

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