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Between the years of 2000 and 2011, the Army diagnosed 76,176 soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD. The things our soldiers see and fight while deployed often haunt them for years after they return home. For soldiers and their families, PTSD is a brutal war they are forced to fight in isolation.
Military wives are the strong, and often silent pillars of support for their husbands who bravely fight for our country. Oftentimes, they fight in isolation as PTSD tears their families apart. One such military wife has determined she will no longer sit in silence, but rather, set out to raise awareness about PTSD in support of our country’s servicemen and women.
Watching her own husband battle PTSD, and watching him lose friends of his own to suicide created a sense of “loneliness, frustration, hurt, anger and despair” in Ashley Wise. (www.battlingbare.org). Out of her desperation came Battling BARE — an organization founded in support of servicemen and women and their families who are fighting PTSD alone and in isolation.
Battling BARE is an organization aimed at reaching military men and women — and their families — who feel as though they are alone and isolated in their own battles against PTSD. Their mission statement is two-fold:
Unite women and children who love a soldier dealing with PTSD by providing comfort in knowing they are not alone, a pathway of speaking out and battling back against the struggles they have faced with their soldier, along with offering support and encouragement so those women will continue walking the path of healing with their soldier.
In the process of empowering and encouraging these women and children, we will raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of PTSD while combating the stigma associated with this condition by increasing understanding of PTSD allowing for veteran suicide rates to decrease as the willingness to seek help and healing increases.
In a show of solidarity and support, Battling BARE uses photos as the hallmark of their campaign. In photos submitted to Battling BARE, individuals “show a little skin,” bearing the Battling BARE pledge:
Broken by battle,
wounded by war,
my love is forever – to you this I swore.
I will quiet your silent screams,
help heal your shattered soul,
until once again
You Are Whole
Why photos? When dealing with her own husband’s PTSD, and feeling her voice wasn’t being heard, Ashley said she was so desperate she wanted to take her “clothes off and streak across the 101st command building, because then maybe the general or someone would listen to what I’m saying.”
Deciding that wasn’t the wisest approach, Ashley wrote the Battling BARE pledge on her back, and posed for a picture holding her husband’s M4. The photo was posted on Facebook, and after just five days, it received more than 1,000 likes and Ashley was contacted by other military support groups expressing their own praise and support.
Battling BARE is a private organization seeking non-profit status, and invites other military wives, children and supporters to join their efforts to battle PTSD by taking the Battling BARE pledge. If you love a serviceman or woman who is suffering from PTSD, or want to show your support for our military, join Battling BARE and help raise awareness about PTSD. Our military families have sacrificed enough, they shouldn’t have to fight another battle alone.
Donate to Battling BARE by clicking here.
Like Battling BARE on Facebook
Learn more about Battling BARE in this video: