I confess right here-I don’t know how to put the following into perspective. I am about to tell you about three male military veterans; these three men are nearly all the same ages, 60’s will make it close enough, yet it will be more accurate to say-these three men followed the footsteps of many before them….at age 18 they enlisted in the United States Military Services to serve our country-their country-to defend the rights and freedoms of not only our citizens-also the citizens of the world. Instead….in each of their lives-military service failed to protect their rights; the dignity of serving honorably was taken from them by fellow service members-not only the dignity of serving our country, traded violently for a life long disability of being unable to stand along side others that can say they proudly served and fought the battles where being wounded was expected.
Instead….these three men were raped and instead of the culprits being convicted of the crime they were the one who had to live a life sentence of shame, guilt, and an indignity to always having to hide the truth of the time serving our country….especially when centered into a conversation with other vets-those veterans who have stories with inches to miles more valor then theirs. It is liking a lie-never being able to talk about that part of your life and trying to hide the constant fear and pain of post traumatic stress.
I personally have spoken to each of the men I am needing to describe; one of these fellows I have met in person. Each came in contact with me back when I began this blog; each had a story to tell to give account of the time the trauma occurred, never needing to give the details, we all shared the common cruelty of PTSD, and families who were traumatized by our private torture.
Trying to explain the three in detail of their independent lives is impossible. We were all different (all of us veterans surviving MST-military sexual trauma) and led lives of myriad fashion and style; sometimes things were good-many times they were not, jobs and relationships suffering the most-families, you know, the curse of the post trauma is not a suffering that just hits the victim, everyone-is a victim when the trigger blasts. The emotional trigger. We had jobs and dreams and confusions. But-we …..I say-these three-tried to live and adjust, but even that was too much to handle.
This is about these three. This is about everyone one of us-who has survived, and made it this far. Early in February-Calvin’s family contacted me by text. He passed away. No details, just the sorrowful message he had died.
During the weekend JR contacted me; his long wait for the VA to agree with his disability claim had come to a successful end. A long wait-an interesting to compare….these three veterans began their disability claim around the same time. I don’t know the outcome of Calvin’s claim.
Yesterday it was Mikes wife.
Mike was 64. His wife told me he had died-and there will be no obituary; they had been apart for a long while; like John Prine sings in one of his songs “others had forced him (Mike) to live in his head” and that way of living is alone. Melanie told me he drank himself to death in a motel. Alone. I know he abandoned his claim; it is not a part of this but yet it is, the timeline. It is important because the justice that is involved in being validated-at least-for the facts of the damages that sexual trauma inflicts, and the fact that no one cared when the crime was committed….like most-he was told to shut up. No one helped; no one helped Calvin. No one helped JR. No one helped!
This is about three veterans! This is about three veterans multiplied many times with a countless population of many others that enlisted to willingly serve the United States, and returned home dishonored and silently wounded by ‘military sexual trauma’.
The pain is over for Calvin and Mike. The pain for guys like me-and the females surviving MST….is not-and endures. For JR, his pain too-endures; it rots our insides with anxiety and no self esteem. Interestingly….when JR contacted me years back-too; he wanted to give up-life; most of us secretly do. JR was talking suicide….and I told him to go right on and do it; I told him not to forget-he was stealing from God, but-I got the point that suicide was an easy exit to end this pain. He changed his mind. He has no ideas on the millions of times my own misery has suggested the same idea.
April is ‘National Rape and Sexual Assault Awareness’ month! I encourage every family and individual effected by sexual trauma….any sexual contact that is unwanted-is sexual trauma! Military Sexual Trauma is equally trauma with campus rape, and children molested, and family sexual abuses….when you hear the story coming from the voice of a child; I encourage all to become involved in a community event rallying for truth and justice-and against sexual trauma. Learn how to understand; learn how important help for a victim is paramount for the survival. Less we lose more to a lonely life ending in a motel room.
God rest you guys in Peace.