What is military moral injury? It is the inner conflict or loss a person feels when they are a witness to, a participant in, or the target of any activities by military personnel that violated a person’s moral values. Potentially Moral injurious events include a whole range of things, such as killing in combat, being the victim of a sexual assault, experiencing hazing and harassment, or watching others be abused and not being able to stop it.
While moral injury is not a new phenomenon, as a mental health paradigm it is a relatively new term. There are some definitions in the research literature, but there is no consensus on what it is and how it should be defined. In general, there is a lack of moral injury research. Compared to PTSD, suicide prevention, and other veteran issues, moral injury is a budding research subject among mental health practitioners, chaplains, social workers, and medical professionals.
Some research shows that not all servicewomen get the support they need. Dr. Roberts conducted in-depth interviews with 10 women who were wounded during overseas assignments and only three of them received effective chaplain support. A follow-up study with 15 male chaplains from Christian and non-Christian denominations showed that many clergy lacked counseling training and knowledge about the problems faced by women in the military.
Most denominations and seminaries provide little in the way of training specifically oriented to the needs of female service members. Women make up about 15% of the U.S. armed forces, but they suffer more than men from gender harassment, sexual assault, PTSD, and other traumas. Women experience the military differently than men and this calls for a special ministerial approach.
Our Core Business
Moral Injury Support Network for Servicewomen, Inc. (MISNS, pronounced “missions”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that specializes in research, education, and advocacy for servicewomen and families suffering from military moral injury (MMI). Our research focus is on the experiences of women veterans, as well as therapies, healing modalities, and gaps in resources and support for servicewomen.
Based on our research and the work of others in the field with whom we have alliances, we have developed continuing education units, conferences, and other educational tools. Using virtual classroom platforms, social media networks, and international partners, we provide training to practitioners around the world.
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Roberts, D. L., & Kovacich, J. (2020). Male chaplains and female soldiers: Are there gender and denominational differences in military pastoral care? Pastoral Care & Counseling, 74(2), 133-140. DOI: 10.1177/1542305020922825
Roberts, D. L. (2018). Providing Spiritual Leadership to Survivors of Violence Against Women. SAGE Business Case Originals.
Smith, D., & Roberts, D.L. (2018). “What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Combat Zone?” Challenging the Persistence of Gender Bias in Combat Roles. Phoenix Scholar, 1(3), 24-25.
Roberts, D. L. (2018). Combating religiously influenced racism in organizations. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals.
Roberts, D. L. & Kovacich, J. (2018). Modifying the qualitative Delphi technique to develop the female soldier support model. The Qualitative Report, 23(1).
Roberts, D. L. (2018) Women and leadership: Using the Delphi technique to effect organizational change. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals. doi: 10.4135/9781526437761
Roberts, D. L., Kovacich, J., & Rivers, M. (2017). The Comprehensive female soldier support model: A Delphi study. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy. doi:10.1080/08854726.2017.1312817
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