WASHINGTON — While many people will be marching all over the country — and around the world, even — this weekend in protest of the new president’s inauguration, Piqua native Kayla Modschiedler will be going to Washington, D.C., for a different cause.
“I’m not marching for any political party,” the 1994 Piqua High School graduate emphasized. “I’m marching to bring attention to women veterans.”
A veteran of the United States Navy, Modschiedler said she feels female veterans are “very, very unrepresented” and the particular issues they face — sexual harassment and trauma among them — are largely swept under the rug.
“I was on deployment when 9/11 happened and most of the women on my ship told me they got nothing but hate from the guys. It’s unprofessional and disrespectful,” she said. “On top of that, military sexual trauma has gotten really bad.”
Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to describe sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that a veteran experiences during his or her military service.
Additionally, Modschiedler, who spent 15 years in the Navy as a logistics specialist, expressed her disdain for “how veterans are treated as political tools for candidates to get leverage for their positions.”
“I was really pleased to see that they were having the march. It’s my first time ever participating in anything like this,” she said. “I’m going by myself, but there’s a veterans’ group that’s going to be meeting there and I might march with them.”
Modschiedler, who now lives in Columbus and is studying business at Otterbein College, said she also hopes to visit friends while in Washington, D.C., as well as make a side trip to the International Spy Museum.
According to many estimates, more than 200,000 people will converge on the nation’s capital to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. However, a cross-country trek isn’t necessary for those who want to participate. In addition to the March on Washington, supportive “sister marches” and rallies have been planned across the country, including in such Ohio cities as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo and Troy. A sister march also was held in Columbus on Jan. 15.
Internationally, events have been organized in countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341