Female veterans find a place to heal together

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- These women came to an Alabama horse farm to find healing in a feeling of sisterhood.

"They've all sustained some type of physical injury and you may not notice those injuries. Those invisible wounds. Those traumatic brain injuries. They look no different than you or I. But they have been through a lot," says Susan Robinson.

Robinson coordinates Operation Refocus in Birmingham, Ala. It's one of America's few outreach programs that caters exclusively to injured female veterans, like Amanda Marr.

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Female veterans participate in Operation Re-Focus.
CBS News

Amanda Marr, 32, left the Army in 2010. Sergeant Marr was hurt in what she describes as a training incident. She's not comfortable giving details.

"For a long time I just sort of went numb. I think I was in shock," says Marr. "Suffering at the time didn't really seem like suffering. And it wasn't until honestly until I got out of the army and realized oh like that is what a woman is. That's what women do. They hug their kids. Like they lay in bed with their husband. They don't have nightmares at night."

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Amanda Marr
CBS News
The retreat is funded by the non-profit Lakeshore Foundation. It lasts five days, but they tell us their connections are almost instant. The benefits may last a lifetime.

"It's incredibly liberating. Being around my own peer group, as women veterans. It really allows me to sort of let down my guard. I can just actually just be present here and just try things," says Marr.

Recovery's a process. At this retreat, they met someone else who understands.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.

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