February 4, 2017

Like the song ‘Deja Vu’ from Woodstock; or like the movie favorite ‘Groundhog Day’; today is yesterday-and is yesterday-and is yesterday. Every day begins the same. The memory-the after effects….the same.  It is something that I want to go away, but instead as older sores break away new ones like a cancer grow back. The same-each one, each time. It is called post traumatic stress disorder-and I will never be able to explain how miserable it is. I definitely can not explain what triggers the blast of fear.

Trying to explain this-the post traumatic stress disorder -PTSD-to anyone who has no clue is a fairly mute point. I’m being honest, I can’t hardly figure it myself. There are times when things are perfect and it seems all of life is surrounded by rainbows with a pot of gold at the end of each one. And then-boom….a black hole of misery attacks the peace.  It does-me.

This time last year-one of my sons family was affected by a sexual crime. His father in law….it is just-bad. He did plead guilty this past July; he is serving 12 years in the state prison.

I knew the man, and his wife, and the children-one the victim-only by casual if only by brief “hello”….nothing else.  It is how this man did what he did all the time thinking of himself, and-no one else. He is in prison. His wife-in shock; his adult children-in shock. It is beyond shock! It is devastating how his vile actions are whittling away the love of what remains.

Me too! I am hardly someone the man may have considered waving to as often as he never stopped by my house to say “how’s it been”….hundreds of times; easily-but it never happened, but even then-I could hardly care. There is something about some persons; he had something.

It made me sick. I explained this to my son. I am not a victim in his deviance, however-to have known somebody who has done this to a child so close in the family; to know somebody that has done this to a child-anywhere….but this being so immediately in our family circle (more so my sons….they all attended church together). Anyway-the point I’m trying to make is how this one man being a demented criminal has emotionally destructed an entire family of good people.

Those of us who have endured the unwanted; we know how the world crumbles around us after the perpetrator is gone. A few years ago at a sexual assault awareness rally I spoke at the open mike portion of the program; I told the crowd that murder is more polite than rape. At least in a murder case the family and friends know the obvious answers…what happened. With rape-and sexual trauma-our personalities hide; mine-has been joined by disassociated behavior – much to the confusion to everybody close to me. Unless we have told anyone, usually we do not, the confusion of what is wrong-can last in a family for the rest of your life; it has mine. Deja vu…..good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning…..

Peace

January 29, 2017

I do not want to be an alarmist…but-there is a buzzer going off in my head.

First…I am honest about this everyday-I do not understand politics; if a man tells me something, I listen, and then wait until there is proof.

Looking back at the last nine days I have seen enough to worry me.

I know the MST-veteran. I know the PTSD that is attached. I know the shame; and-the guilt. What I do not know is what will become of the willingness to report a sexual attack while on active duty; or after military discharge….now!

My term for those of us who are living with the post-trauma of military sexual trauma is “the Silent Wounded”. We stay quiet because of the fear of reprisal from the fraternal ranks and the condemnation of ” do you know what you’re saying?” if you were brave enough to report the assault. And now-I fear-a larger threat!

I wrote my thoughts the other day-and today they seem stronger. The facts. And, alternate facts. Of course-we know-alternate facts-are fiction; worse yet-they are lies.

This is not about me; it is about all of us -the silent wounded.

More than ever-we need to speak up. Our silence can turn out to be strength and power…only if we ended it. It can be strength and power-for you, and for many. There are so many of us who are hurting inside and in silence.

I am determining on my own by looking at the past nine days that seeking justice during the new administration-or president-or who ever ends up in charge of this era of the Veterans Administration….there will be no sympathy for the sexual traumatized veteran. I fear-any active duty personnel-who by chance experience sexual trauma while in service tour country….will be silenced by  this lack of sympathy.

Peace

 

 

 

January 21, 2017-or-what’s next?

January 21, 2017

I know I am not alone in saying we as a Nation are apprehensive about the coming four years; I want to write an ‘anti ‘ article about the individual that was sworn to defend out Constitution yesterday, our 45th President. Heck…there is enough ‘anti’ about the man that there is nothing more I could add to tip the canoe  (and dump the Trump), the National Mall facing the US Capital showed everyone that-yesterday….empty in comparison to previous inaugurations.

There is-one huge concern, and that is mixed in upon another huge concern, which has trails of other huge concerns-behind the first…..sexual assault, and persons with disabilities.

This is hard to wrap myself around. I am not a political person at all. I’d rather be away from everything where it is safer. It never goes that way, but….

A long time ago when the young John McCain (AZ Senator)came home from being freed from a Viet Nam POW camp-he the person-became a hero to me. It was not on the date he returned that hero thoughts entered my head, no-it was reading his experience in that misery of POW’s.

Now-this is not to reign praise over him because of his position. It is to express-reading of the torture and broken limbs and countless inhumane miseries added. I feel my stomach turn every time I reflect on his experience.

And then in his political campaign the man who is now our ‘president’ tells Americans he does not see John McCain as a anything except someone who was captured. His statement “I don’t like people who were captured” resonates in my head…for the sake all veterans.

I have many mixed feelings about this, but if this is how the POTUS feels about a true hero-one who was there in combat-one who survived his plane being shot out from under him-and the years of torture that followed; what does he think of veterans with PTSD…and to drop us further down the chain of command, PTSD due to the psychological damages of sexual trauma.

Sexual trauma.

I am sick of people who think that the ‘sexual’ in trauma means that the trauma is not so much of a big deal to worry about; it has been said to me…”it’s just sex”, and the supposed nurturing statement…”are you still on that subject-get over it”.

I have to express how PTSD can and does effect the life of all who are injured in this way; I have fright in ways many could laugh at-but I promise-the seizure of PTSD is horrific.

I have to express  how having another person and persons over take you with fists in the face and kicks to the body and forcing things unbelievable on you….it is not….sexual. It is assault! It is trauma! It is criminal…and not fun, as those who exist that mistake it for being a good time. It is not for jokes; nor-locker room banter. There is nothing fun or funny about sexual trauma-at all.1239

It was not-and still-is not a comfortable feeling that the POTUS has the impression that he being the high power celebrity has the right to sexually assault woman because of his position. His appointee to the Attorney General has commented that “grabbing a woman’s ….” privates is not sexual assault.

Am I making sense?

And – this morning – various newspapers have told us the White House has deleted the LGBT page from their website (their?….ours!!) and also scrubbed the ‘disabilities’ page; remembering the scene during the campaign where Trump mimics a disabled journalist?

This man will never understand PTSD. This man will never understand sexual trauma!

Of course….my political view? I doubt if this man understands any of us-nor does he care about anything else, especially who WE are!

Peace

 

 

 

the photo speaks for itself

January 16, 2017

I am Jay Herron-and this is my photograph.

I am a survivor of military sexual trauma; after all these years of writing it…most of you already know. For those who do not; I have pretty much laid out my life here. But-to be point blank-I am a male rape survivor.

This blog covers several years of bmy being a victim and living a life with the stigma and the added PTSD. All of that is here. I have written about my battle with the VA…here too.

All of that-the battle for justice….I guess as far as the VA is concerned, is over. I was successful in my case, but that is about the limit.

I still suffer the PTSD. That will be forever.

Living with the after of my assault(s) has always been a struggle-it still is a struggle-even now that I am 65 years old and yet the moment of time in 1969 has frozen into a memory of haunting proportions.

I suppose none of that being said is encouraging-but it is a fact of our life. Getting used to it-is not an option, and as long as it has been imbedded in my soul-like a callous-I doubt if there will ever be a comfort zone for me.

The other day-I had to pee quite readily, only to enter the public restroom where I was shopping….another person was already there-never the less-always there; the fear made me agonize until I could find a private place (such as a tree in the woods). A constant fear.

 

All of that explained;  I became detached from writing this blog. The problem is-I began something that I have to finish. My local VA PTSD clinic sent me to speak to the DVA advocate in mmy area. It was not easy to explain in detail my story to retired US Marine red neck gunny sergeant who had only one serious comment saying “gee-you never thought homosexuals have a reason to rape each other”….and-he was firm serious.

 

There are problems for the MST (military sexual trauma) veteran. Deep-serious problems; they need to be heard and regarded as sacred private and respected with dignity; not treated with hillbilly humor.

 

Like I have said before-I am disconnected from the VA; no longer do I feel comfortable with them-for ‘health care’ when these occasions happen that are traumatic as well.

In the past years-I became acquainted with Lynn Johnson-photojournalist-specifically to use her connections and ability to raise awareness for the light of the veteran-of MST.

Yesterday we visited; an idea came to the table where Lynn recalled the Viet Nam era when the photos of the casualties of the war were published in LIFE magazine. No story line-just the photos of the young faces killed in war.

It had an impact.

We talked about doing something similar and to develop a traveling exhibit to show in VA clinics and other venues where discussion and hopes may be born. Where the knowledge of the plight of MST can be told by the faces of each of us.

Thus-my photo here today.

Of course-this only just began about 15 hours ago in conversation….we are adamant that awareness and actions are paramount in a time where still-nothing proper is being done.

Would something like this-be of interest to you?

Comment-please!

Peace

 

old pop three

2017=47 years of PTSD

January 1, 2017
river and stuff 004
Forty-seven years ago today I woke in a bunk at detention barracks D on a US Navy base on the James River-Virginia. Twenty-seven hours earlier I had been sexually traumatized.

Today is ‘new years’ day….the wee hour of early morning before the sounds of roosters. In my constant replay of this period of my life I hear the muffled sounds of sleep and snoring across the barracks…actually-my mind begins to react to waking and an inventory in my head begins; an inventory of this date-of where I am-and what surrounds me-and the thought of how I ended up in this place, now my home-my home since 1975.

The inventory is searching for the sounds…now missing excepting when I ‘hear’ them in a space only my mind occupies, also the stink of jail and a hundred men or so breathing and farting in a closed building day after day after day.

Also the fear. There is a lasting fear, an insecurity of not feeling totally safe….and-since 1975 I have lived deep in a forest on a land-bound island of sheer privacy, and yet-there is the fear.

The inventory expands when I make myself coffee-and eventually to the worse reminder, the toilet.

The toilet.

I do not require a check off sheet. I know every hard memory of he events leading up to my being taken to barracks D. I know them because huge remnants won’t even wash off in the shower. There are reminders there-too.

So…fast forward through the years of booze abuse and drug abuse and personal physical abuse….that one in particular I referred to as “damage control” because I was doing the damage-to me-and had no control; the damages were trying to relive the events on and on as if for some reason I had some other person inside of me controlling what I did with out my permission….solely to get hurt-again; for 30 some odd years I self destructed….enter the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville FL.

First thing is….I am a male. So when? When is there a time-and where is there a safe place for male rape victims to go? Who do we talk to?

For thirty-five years I kept my mouth shut-in shame-of my non-military service during an era where other kids my age where being shot at and trying to kill the enemy….not being detained in detention-FOR NOTHING!!

For all the years I had to live in silence all the time falling on my face from trying to drink the memory out of my mind.

It is still here.

The memory….they call it PTSD.

Let me be honest…all the VA wanted to do was medicate me!

That is when I had enough.

So I became an angry MST (military sexual trauma) veteran when the VA instructed me to seek validation for my ‘injury’ of post traumatic stress by sending me to my local DVA advocate to file for a disability.

Every bit of the idea confounded me…and yet I went into a world of proof of why I kept my silence in the first place!

“Gee….you never think homosexuals
need a reason to rape each other” the DVA guy said seriously.

That pretty much sealed the deal for me. Anybody that could think that-is not a person victim of this crime-and never found justice.

I began writing fiercely during the period of my filing a VA claim-hopeful to help other silent wounded to come forward and seek justice; the empowerment of many to face the VA and make the VA face the facts….MST is real and it is serious….
AND-no survivor should be handed over to a DVA advocate to further the hope for justice.
Never!

The last few years my attention to any of this was avoided-because my eventual contact with other survivors began to weigh on me. I am just a high school drop out who enlisted to serve my country. I am just a guy. I am just somebody around.
But-the injustice of it all still eats at me-on top of the memories that are everlasting. It became difficult to maintain my own sanity and then adding more of me on top of that in the words of other survivors-it became hard to assume all of the history of each experienced assault.

I still want change in the process for the silent wounded.
It should not be in the care of a DVA advocate.

The moment a veteran opens up about any sexual trauma while in military service,,,,MUST have sensitive care.
Not care from someone that concludes rape as some type of sexual misbehavior on both parts; as something humorous; as something which is the victims fault.

I am older and tired now more than ever-had a heart attack and seven hours of procedures to open an artery almost two years ago. I’m worn out. BUT-I am still pissed at the insensitive manner that the VA treated me with….and-mistreats so many others.
I hope to renew my writing and commentary  and efforts  although I have not entered a VA in over five years….I still am angry the now-still in 2017….no improvement in this has yet to enforce change.

I hope to raise that up where we can make a change; and open an easier sensitive led process to justice.

Peace017

July 17, 2015

davey and cooker 009

So…here is the easy of it! Nothing has changed!!

You all know the story-it is told here in several years of writings; PTSD and the MST that brought it on and has kept it alive…still is.

It is true that my claim against the Veterans Administration came back as 100% fully disabled; here is what that means:

I continue to live alone with three dogs as my companions; my bed sheets continually spread with sand from the two Chihuahuas that persist on being up there in comfort; my other companions are the crevice spiders; I lay down most nights praying “why can’t I be normal” and still wake everyday – meaning…everyday – taking a mental inventory of my surroundings, and my memory of the detention barrack D and the daily assault on my body. I still fear crowds and as always I have good intentions on going to art openings where I know friends will be – but my anxiety of the state of panic prevents me from going; I am so embarrassed by my absences; and – being totally void of any relationship of intimacy since 1998 is taking a toll on my spirits. I am clueless.

Yes, there is the compensation that joins with the VA 100%.

Money does not make happy. Money makes miserable. It does not meet the damage of the PTSD with any comfort. Now a days most of my compensation goes to paying my current hospital bills from a heart attack and subsequent seven hour surgery to open an artery early this year; FREE at the VA hospital….but-I so deeply fear the VA hospital….I requested the ambulance to take me to any place but there! So-I am paying for my medical care out of the compensation I receive. Next time around – I promise – I will not dial 911; I want to just lean up against a tree and watch the birds, and simply pass.

I still cook my meals on the grill-outside…there is an oven in the kitchen, only used one time by my sister in law years ago; I brew my coffee on one burner-once a day, finally – the gas company removed the cylinder due to my long periods between gas purchase since I use so little! My house? It has been tightened up better than the many years it saw too much open air; but – it is the same house since day one from its arrival to me 20 some years ago-after someone else lived in it for 20 years before.

I refuse to change living this way because the facts that led us here in 1975 are the same factors that want me to keep this place the same (the suggestions have been to bulldoze and build-are not for me) because I never want to lose the connection of why and how we came to live here; it was not easy – ever!

It was what God gave me.

Peace

Fathers Day 1970

July 2, 2015

b'nai cemetery 022   Forty-five years ago on Fathers Day I found myself homeless and yet beginning a journey; my life journey. I was 18 years old.

Nine years ago another journey began-a journey when I started writing this blog. I had to stop a few years ago; my own inability to handle my own life and fears became overwhelmed trying to load it with the struggles of others; in explanation-there were too much of me in others that I found that I had to let it go-or else!

I am still weak. I still battle the fear, and find myself in company with isolation. The worse of it is-the accurate visions of the pasts that disturb my life in the first place!

Last week on Fathers Day as I have done each year since 1970 (when possible) I return to the B’nai Israel Cemetery that gave me refuge on my first day.  Then I give thanks for the way God worked to lead me then-and guide me now! I confess-it will be a good day on the last day!

What I want to say is not so easy with out covering much of what is already told in the contents of this blog….a journal that began when the Veterans Administration (VA) and my experience with Military Sexual Trauma (MST) became entwined, sort of a circumstance of the VA expressing sympathy and offering hope and beating the shit out of me to be sure neither would be mistaken for true. It is all to deep to explain in just a few moments with a few words….but here is the easiest….1970 is my year of infamy, if only to me in private. I kept so many things quiet and hidden in my soul-then.

It is still the same-just is-the callous has gotten harder! The PTSD has kept right on going as a relentless foe. I celebrate alone four words that s written on my VA disability decision where the judge wrote “exonerated from any wrongdoing”….alone because the person I had most hoped to see them (my father) had died before they came. The liberation from blame belongs only to me-but yet-the guilt and shame still wake with me each morning as since 1970; I am trying to say “it is never over”!

It was a beautiful day walking through the cemetery. The city was just outside the walls but somehow it seemed quiet; the cemetery is slightly larger than it was in 1970 and even though it still has a quaint sense, peaceful and very private.

Birds are like signs to me; my photographs taken from my visit were just random. my eyes can’t focus the camera any more-so my pictures are a thing of chance; I was thrilled to learn a fledgling had left its nest-and landed on this tombstone when it did! Another sign from a bird…this time a baby bird just beginning life free from the nest….soon to mount up with wings to fly it through life; just like the wings God gave me.

Peace

….the following from the 2015 VA benefits guide

February 1, 2015

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/types/violence/military-sexual-trauma-general.asp

I was given this link this morning and am very excited to share it with every Military Sexual Trauma survivor !!
I am very excited as a MALE that the wording in the item you will read admits males can also be victims.
Any person who freely enlists to serve the United States Armed Forces should read this; any veteran who has suffered sexual trauma-this is a very exciting break through; a mountain climbed….they admit there is sexual trauma and that PTSD is the damage.
Peace

April 6, 2014

I believe I began writing this blog and chronicles of a male who endured sexual trauma during military service-I began writing in 2006-and became a result of military sexual trauma in the eve of 1969-70 until I was released two months into 1970…..I know I began writing one day after my niece and I deposited a manuscript that I had written shortly after my military discharge to a VSO officer at our local veterans affairs office.
This manuscript was supposed-and promised to be sealed until my return the following day to witness the copy being made-and to edit portions of written words-black them out-as, they were of no concern of what else was written.
The following morning-none of that happened; instead-I was handed my original, and soon noted each of the three persons in the office prior to my entry-also held copy; jokes began almost right away…definite jokes about homosexuals.

I am a MALE, and-I was repeatedly raped while locked in a military detention barracks.
Rape is not a sexual contact activity; I know-I know-I did not enjoy any moment of being beaten up, and subsequently hurt days and days on after.
Oh yes, it hurts today too! It hurt that morning in the VSO office-being in the presence of people I was instructed to see by my PTSD therapist at the Gainesville FL veterans hospital.
Being in that office that morning and hearing the sneering innuendo these three spilled I began to feel choked and sick and fled. I went to my local library-to use a computer-to locate a computer sales that would sell me a unit on credit.
Thank you DELL.

The words in the manuscript were to be given as evidence-my niece was present to be a lay-witness that she indeed read the words I had written, and had some knowledge of the rapes.

After that encounter (and after DELL issued the credit and sent the unit-and after many years of dial-up internet service later to be enriched by satellite dish and high-speed internet)….I began writing about military sexual trauma; only thing was that as I began writing I quickly learned-I was not the only one who had this happen; and-not the only male!
I was 50 something years old when that news came my way.

I enlisted in the US Navy at age 17 in April 1969; I was not permitted into active duty because of my age, but they accept me pending my reaching age 18 that coming July. In Silver Springs Maryland on Georgia Avenue I did three very important things-I bought a bible-which I still have-and was honorably discharged from the USNR and signed my enlistment papers into the United States Navy-active duty….I had previously tried to enlist in the USMC but was turned away; it was my intent to serve my country and defend our flag and freedom; I had enlisted to go to Viet Nam.

ALL of this is documented on official US Military documents; my attorney and I both have copy.

It is truth-my truth and the truth of it is in fact-in my border city of Washington DC in that era…up until 1967-LSD was legal. I can promise you-I did not go out to find it-but one day in the city, it found me. I ran away from home. One week after I was retrieved-my 5-year-old brother was struck by a Chrysler New Yorker in front of our home-and witnessed by our other brother and myself.
So, things weren’t too good for me there at that time; I was not guilty of seeking drugs as forever accused.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra

I was a kid! And, this was an era that bordered on a simple fantasy type life and entered a time of more than imagined. Kennedy being shot being played over and over and more than enough for any man to take-not to mention a boy barely twelve years old. And Oswald-his face when Jack Ruby shot him; or – the men and woman and children of Selma and Birmingham (Alabama)- and the scenes from Viet Nam.
Every day our television news showed the photographs of the young men murdered in combat in Viet Nam. Photos from these ‘daily dead’ exactly as they were in these poor lads high school year book. Except they were dead.
It was something about it all that made one want to go fight the enemy and save the flag.
Despite the confusion of seeing the poor people of Selma being beaten by American policeman-and seeing the black and white faces of the same Americans who that day were killed in action in Viet Nam, the urge to serve my country was bigger than life.

I did not do anything wrong.

Every person involved in my legal life as connected to the occurrence in detention barracks D agree that there is absolutely no evidence in proof that I did anything wrong-the Veterans Administration judge signed his written report with the statement “exonerated of any wrongdoing”!!!
I enlisted in a time where others my age ran to Canada to avoid fighting a war.
I did not do anything wrong.

There is nothing more I can say than has already been said in several hundred pages of the things I have written for everyone to see, it is all here. I’ve never lied.

It angered me to learn there are 1000’s of silent wounded veterans who may find the path towards a ‘veterans service officer’ or VSO in the attempt to pursue disability (in a system where there seems no justice) and may encounter the same as I had when the snickers and jokes of sexual nature seemed more important than trying to learn the truth, and felt through internet I could reach someone who could help others avoid this abuse.
Instead of meeting someone who could help…I met another victim, and then more.

It came to a place it was harder to hear the broken than I imagined, and I never imagined the whole of it.

I found help, an attorney from Jacksonville. She attended the VA hearing with the VA judge, and she successfully saw my case agreed on by the judge.
But then, the VA decided that because the attorney of my choice was not approved by the VA it made my case null and void.
We enlist to defend other people’s rights and freedoms…and-I cannot select my own defense?

It was my second attorney….one who had all the correct credentials-and one who carry’s the staff for fighting the system for the rights and support of MST veterans, this man, Matt Hill , believed.
I can’t say the word “won”, but the fact that I’ve been exonerated and-believed is reward where none other was ever offered.

So, I’ve said thank you and good bye before. I have to say that many times I have wept over the course of this blog; the responses.
I confess that time it is for sure.
I think my need for the internet is over as well, as-it was for writing this blog that I first got such….and-having the ‘eye in the sky’ removed from my yard will allow me to really say for sure “this is my story, and thank you for allowing me to share…and thank God my words helped, I am very thankful
Peace
Micah 6:8 (a verse out of that bible I bought)

and please:
seek help!
and…
TRUST ME….there is help!!!

a outside view

April 6, 2014

a outside view

I am always uncertain of the computer and its ability to understand me!
I have something to say; it really is-goodbye.

In four days the ‘eye in the sky’ which beams my on-line signal from somewhere up yonder in the distance of outer space will be turned off!

I am relieved-in many ways-but above them all is to open up time.

Time, I think….has come!
So, I earlier-just moments ago-posted a few pictures of recent paintings from my head….recent?? well- as they do not just arise in one night, these posted paintings have been a work of over a long period.

So-enjoy those….or, perhaps….and I will write text to explain – and be gone!
Peace