A sisterhood for spouses of Special Operations veterans

Eye on Veterans
June 07, 2019 - 10:47 am
Jen Satterly founder of Virago and her husband Tom a retired Army Delta Force Command Sergeant Major

Photo courtesy Jen Satterly

By the time Jen Satterly married her husband Tom, his career as a command sergeant major in the Army's Delta Force was in the past. His mental health struggles, however, were very much in the present. 

Not part of the military community, Jen felt completely lost. She didn't really know anyone going through the same issues she and her husband were.

"I didn't have any wives to talk to," Jen said. "I didn't know anyone from the active-duty world because Tom was already retired out. So I felt completely and utterly isolated."

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That feeling of isolation, she soon learned, was not unique to her. She and Tom were able to find the help they need and eventually began meeting other spouses when she and Tom launched All Secure Foundation in 2017. It turned out most of the other spouses had gone through or were going through similar struggles. As she describes it, too many are "lost in the storm of PTS" and she thought they could do something to help. 

"Tom and I started talking and I said 'listen, we need a platform for these women,'" Jen said. "So that they can communicate with each other, and we can communicate with them in the way that we do on the sidelines. And so Virago was born."

Virago is an online community built on the idea that no one can help you through a dark time better than someone who has gone through it themselves. In this case, that's fellow wives who have been there and done that. 

From Mogadishu to the homefront: Delta Force vet fights for his brothers and their families

"Really the concept, the idea, and what we're enforcing here is that this needs to be a community of women supporting women," Jen said. "Because we've got these women, like myself, who have girlfriends and lifelong friends, most of my friends came from the creative world, a lot of artists, and they had no idea. And I didn't feel comfortable going to them saying 'this is what we're dealing with in my household.' They would have no understanding."

Honored to be alongside these badass women. ❤️⚔️ Thank you Mentors for Military for your continued support and mentorship. Happy International Women’s Day to all of the incredible warrior women who inspire me daily. Keep being the light, keep showing the world your complexity and beauty of spirit, never apologize for who you are and what you stand for, and know that you are always enough just as you are right now. -- “Some women fear the fire. Some simply become it.” /// Repost @mentors4mil ........ Today is International Women’s Day and we don’t have to look far to recognize three strong women because they are all three hosts on our podcast. L to R: Kat, Alejandra, and Jen. Along with these great role models we’d also like to give a big shoutout to the spouses of each of our male hosts. Without their unwavering support, steadfast commitment, compassion, and wise council, we probably wouldn’t be here, or we’d be lost. A big THANK YOU to all of the strong women in our lives. ✊-- And another big shoutout to all of the women who blaze trails and lead the way everyday without fanfare! Don’t ever stop being you! -- ______ #internationalwomensday #yourock #strongwomen #rolemodels #mentors #coaches #army #airforce #navy #navy #coastguard #veterans #spouses #likeagirl #yesshecan #mentors4mil #uncanna

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Now, through Virago, she's connecting her fellow spouses to those who do have an understanding. For those interested in becoming part of Virago, it's as easy as going to the website.

You can hear the full interview with Jen and Tom Satterly focusing on Virago below. 

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