the Alachua County Rape Advisory Board

VA stairs drawing-jay herron 2006

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

On November 14th I was appointed by the Alachua County Commision (Florida) to a position on the rape and sexual assault advisory board.
Tonight was our first meeting-and it was lauded as a historic event because we are the first seated advisory board for this purpose…I am pleased as a male survivor of rape to be on this board and used my voice to speak up this at this evenings meeting to bring awareness to male rape victims-male rape survivors,and as I’ve mentioned before-to those who have been victimized while in military service. Fortunantly there was a veterans service officer on this board-a man who I will be hearing from me more often.
I’m telling this story -my story…to satisfy several needs. My need to say it-to get it out and talk it through to who ever,and the belessing of the computer is those who read it must be interested and they can read it and I see the numbers,and it encourages me to speak more and more about it. It is cleansing in some wierd way. One of the guys in my group therapy said to me yesterday that I was the calmest he’s ever seen me…and I believe it is the power and the strength knowing I’m writing this to any one who cares to read it-and I am getting it out of my system,and…above all-I think its going to serve somehow to help other men who like me have suffered from the hands of abuse and no matter if the abuse ceased long ago…we still suffer and are afraid.
I pointed it out tonight in this meeting of the advisory board-that public awareness is not there when it comes to realizing males are victimized too….its almost hidden,so it seems.
Britan is far ahead of us in offering treatment and encourageing victims to come forward. Look up male on male rape in ‘Google” and you will be surprised-the United Kingdom excells in information and resources-far beyond what our country has to offer.
My hope-especially…has to do with veterans like me who willingly stepped forward to serve…and in my case,to serve during the Viet Nam war-and found themselves in a defensless place with the worse kind of enemy,and if they were’nt laughed at like I was….they are certainly told to shut up.
I was told by the VA to go apply for disability. When I did I was met once with bigoted statements-first the question “were they blacks?” and later the statement of surprise “gee-you never thought homo’s would need to rape each other”.
These were statements made by a person who has been recognized by congress for his achievements in helping veterans. But I can tell you that he may have seemed like he saw me as a veteran…but my senses tell me he did not recognize that I wanted to me in the United State Navy and I wanted to serve my country…and I DID NOTHING WRONG.
The problem is-we are being to silent. We are’nt yelling out loud enough.
I sat through those comments and wanted to vomit-I felt like I was going to and as I sat there wretching,as if the bigoted statements were’nt enough-it was said that I must have had a rough night,as if I had been out drinking all night. A judgement. Not at all correct,but the result of post traumatic stress being induced by panic and fear because my knowledge went into full gear saying-this person thinks you are a joke.
When that happened something happened inside of me and I said that if I take that in silence then those assholes that screwed up my life back then when they raped me-will win…and are doing it again and again,and like I did then-I let them with out fighting back,so I am fighting back now-and not just for me….for you!
Don’t stay silent any longer. Basck in the old part of the Bible the story of Joshua and the walls of Jerico-Joshua was told by God to march around the city every day round and round….in silence. But on the seventh day God told Joshua to order his soldiers to yell and shout as loud as they could….and when they did the walls came tumbleing down.
Its time for us to shout-lets knock down the walls of the system and get rights that belong to us-sensitivity and help. You are not going to let the culprits that took so much once take any more from you-are you?

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