What originally began as one person’s dream to help servicewomen recover from moral injury and teach military chaplains and civilian clergy provide effective support to women veterans has become the heartfelt goal of many others. Dr. Daniel Roberts first established Roberts Research and Consulting (RRC) as a sole proprietorship, but later transformed his business into a non-profit organization called the Moral Injury Support Network for Servicewomen, Inc.
One of the primary functions of RRC was to conduct research on the subject of moral injury in women veterans. The current project is a grounded theory study. Dr. Roberts has conducted over a dozen interviews with morally injured women veterans and in nearly every case, sexual assault was a major contributor. Women also experienced emotional and physical injuries through hazing, physical violence, and extreme bigotry. Perpetrators were both peers and supervisors. These women joined the military to serve their country but endured pain and suffering instead.
Life has been difficult for these women. Suicidal ideations, joblessness, homelessness, and isolation are common among participants. Many of them feel abandoned and dismissed by the Veterans Administration, an organization that is supposed to be committed to serving all veterans.
Psychological and spiritual practitioners alike have taken on the problem of moral injury, but Dr. Roberts is the first one to focus solely on women veterans. Dr. Roberts recognized that there was a lack of support for women veterans and worked with others to create the the Moral Injury Support Network for Servicewomen, Inc. (MISNS, pronounced “missions”) to replace Roberts Research and Consulting.
MISNS is a non-profit organization incorporated in North Carolina with the same basic purpose as RRC – help servicewomen recover from moral injury and develop a network of highly qualified and trained spiritual and psychological practitioners who understand what moral injury means for women veterans and how to provide effective, healing care. The Moral Injury Support Network for Servicewomen, Inc.’s founding document states that the organization’s objectives are to:
- Educate and train ministers, religious organizations, civic groups, the military chaplaincy, and others on the prevalence, effects, and coping mechanisms of moral injury in servicewomen.
- Help woman service members and veterans get soul care, community support, and tangible benefits through the VA and other support providers.
- Organize woman veterans and clergy conferences that brings together woman veterans, clergy, and mental health providers for soul care, education, collaboration, and organizing.
- Create alliances with organizations that provide help and support to women veterans.
- Conduct research to fill in knowledge gaps, provide support for initiatives, and supply information for educational activities.
- Develop a donor and sponsorship base that will financially support the conferences and organizational activities.
One of MISNS’ first initiatives was to organize the Women Veterans Military Moral Injury Conferences. The purpose of these events is to bring together women veterans, researchers, mental health professionals, and chaplains to learn about new assessments, treatments, and resources for moral injury, as well as how to assist women veterans in transitioning well into their civilian communities. MISNS teamed up with the Women Veterans Social Justice Network and the first conference will take place in Charleston, SC at the College of Charleston, March 26-27. To learn more, go to the Conference Main Page. You can also find about the the current moral injury research project by going to the Project Page.
Dr. Dan Roberts, Conference Chair/Coordinator
Moral Injury Support Network for Servicewomen, Inc.
Dr. Christiane O’Hara
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Women Veteran Social Justice Network (non-profit) https://www.facebook.com/4wvsj/
Moral Injury Support Network for Servicewomen, Inc., EIN 84-3369740 https://chaplainconsultants.com