Part of the 16%
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Part of the 16%

They tell you that you don’t belong next to them

Part of the 16%
Harley Ann Kearney

Something I have dreamed and strived for as long as I could remember was to be a soldier. I didn't know of the stereotypes of being a woman in the army. I just saw a girl who wanted to be in the army. And there I was December 29th, 2016 I joined, I signed the dotted line and 5 months later I left for basic.

Before I left I heard the classics. "You will never make it" "You are a woman and woman don't belong in the armed forces" But I proved them wrong cause here I am two years later I am kicking ass. Honestly being a woman is hard enough but being in the army is 10x harder. The classic comments or I should never do this or I'll never survive overseas. But even better is the harassment. In basic, you truly learned how despicable men could be. You learn how nasty and inconsiderate they are. They will be in relationships and tell you all the things they want to do to you. They tell you that woman have no place in the army. They tell you that you're weak. That you're nothing. That you have no place to stand beside them.

Then the sexual harassment comments begin. It doesn't stop there it continues and continues and continues. They say beneath their breath how that female has such a fat ass and you are imagining the things you're doing. They say to you much worse things that I can't even say out loud. The men degrade you and put you down. These are supposed to be my brothers, don't get me wrong there are good ones out there. I have many supportive brothers that stand beside me and have guarded me, stood up and stood by my side. But there are also ones that make the comments and get away with it.

In the army being a female is scary. In any branch it is scary.

Men have that power over you, to be able to scare you to sit in the closet with all of these emotions. To tell you if you speak up they will demote you, transfer you or make your life a living hell. But enough is enough.

We as women and we as soldiers need to end that stigma.

We need to stand up and prove that we are strong, we are brave, we are intelligent. We can do anything that our brothers can do. Because we as women we are equal and we are courageous.

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