The stereotypical image of an older, white male can no longer be the standard for veterans of wars.
The hardships experienced by female veterans when seeking medical aid or dealing with single parenthood were part of discussions Tuesday at a conference at Richard Stockton College Tuesday.
Rather than admitting to suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), many women avoid talking about it because of the impact on custody of their children, said Susan Barton, a PTSD specialist and one of the panelists at the conference.
Women also see images of veterans represented by older men, so they do not feel like they match that image and avoid admitting to being one, Barton said.
Lt. Col. Ann Curtis said as a single parent she understands the stress after having served, but she too doesn't feel like age identifies with the stereotype of a veteran.
"I didn't serve overseas," she said.
Medical attention has also traditionally been geared toward men, which deters women from being treated.
The issue is on the radar for Veterans Affairs, said Kristin Ryan Morell, who works with the Vet Center in Ventnor.
The conference will continue until 2pm at the college's Campus center building.