Women Veterans Network Australia (WVNA)
Initially starting as a closed Facebook group, the Women Veterans Network Australia (WVNA) has established 25 regional groups around Australia with a clear focus on the mental health and wellbeing of female veterans. WVNA provides a voice and connects past and present Women of Defence with resources, support and information to live an empowered and fulfilling life.
After attending a symposium for female veterans held in Brisbane, it became more apparent something needed to be done. This is when Ramon Fenton co-founder of the Women Veterans Network Australia (WVNA), together with Barbara Craven-Griffiths launched WVNA.
Ramon said that when she joined the Army, she was given a uniform, an identity, a sense of purpose, and duty.
“Leaving the service makes you feel adrift; like you’re sailing with no sense of direction.
“Upon being discharged after serving 16 years in the Australian Defence Force, I found it very hard to transition back to civilian life.
Normal tasks such as getting dressed, applying makeup, and socialising with others became increasingly difficult and on many occasions, I felt like leaving it all behind.
Ramon said that wasn’t until 2013 when she reconnected with other female veterans via Facebook that she came to the realisation that she wasn’t alone.
“I found that surrounding myself with like-minded women empowered me and gave me a sense of direction and purpose to help other women facing the same struggles,” Ramon said.
“When you’re serving you wear a uniform and you’re given an identity. Now, when I wear my blue shirt, I feel that I have regained my purpose and feel empowered to help other female veterans – Women Veterans Network Australia saved my life.”- Ramon