unfinished business…


the dreamer and the dream-by jay herron

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The reason I broke down and purchased a computer was because of some comments that were made to me in regards to my having been a male rape survivor-the comments were made by a Veterans Advocate from the State of Florida,they were very bigoted and they scared me.
I had thought at one point in my life that my stand about electronic geegaw was solid and unfaultering. I was really wrong.
It is very difficult to explain to anybody what the fear is like. I hid it fairly well over the past years. I settled into a lifes pattern where I was used to everybody just thinking it was ‘just Jay…being Jay’. What ever I did or what ever the screw up…or how people adjust their own understanding about me. I don’t know how to explain that I can be normal going into a place and all of a sudden feel a vibration or hear a sound or an oder will remind and set off a signal. And I am lost.
Tuesday I went therapy and it went past the time she opens the door-and finally the coordinater came down the hall and he looked at me and asked me if I got his message…? But something was different and this particular Tuesday is the day of the month the clinic next door gives out the ‘month shot’ to calm other guys down so the hallway is standing room only at one end and the voices and the chitter chatter have an effect on me everytime. And theres a woman on that floor who has to wear high heels and as she comes down the hall I hear that murmer of people and the rattle clacking of those shoes and all of a sudden there is the coordinater in front of me telling me something about my therapist. I heard the word ‘administrative’ and everything else seemed a murmer itself-mumble noises instead of words. I went home thinking I got my therapist fired.
I once entered a mall alone and got about midway in and was overcome and somehow I found a payphone and managed to call the police and while I waited my anguish and fear consumed me so badly I had locked my arms around the payphone and I must have been making a noise because a croud had kind of gathered and people were giving me the theres a nut eye…and the police finally came and some local mall security guy. And they were’nt very polite-mostly thinking something far out of range other than what was really happening. They unwrapped me from the payphone and took me outside-the distance to the door and all the commotion and all the people stareing at me and these cops and this local mall security guy all treating me like I’m something from Chattahoochee (the states mental hospital) all of this causing more effect to my immediate problem….PTSD,and being in the place with people who dont understand what it is.
The Veterans Advocate that I was refered to had no understanding either. This man had no business taking the details of a survivor of sexual assault. He perhaps is a hero to those who marched and did the glories of battle….but he had a different view of me not even giving me the consideration that I marched myself into an enlistment office and was wanting to join. He wanted to believe but have the understanding that my problems with PTSD are for real and werent a source of humor to me. I couldnt agree with his conclusions my attackers were blacks. I wanted to vomit when he suggested it was unusual to think homosexuals needed to rape one another-his comments made it seem like every body should be just willing and ready and that if you were a homosexual than that breaks down the requirment people need to keep their hands to themselves…it is not right to touch anyone just because of who they are. The man offered me ‘pink’ highlighters to edit parts of things I have written…as if I was going to join in and laugh at his joke with the others. His joke made me feel like someone had put their hands around my neck and were choking me. The advocate found a new joke and made comments in terms that I must have had a party the night before-a rough night,he said.
This was supposed to be someone who was going to ‘stand up’ for me?
I was refered to a second advocate. This man wanted to twist my story to make it sound better. I’m sorry…theres no way to twist it,and if I am to be given validation I want it honorably-not by some one elses version of what they think it would have sounded better if it happened this way…and not by my account.
Confused? I am sorry! Sometimes my mind ain’t right-but I know what happened and I know what happened every day of my life and every day of my life begins by knowing what happened and I don’t need any kind of seasoning to make it sound any better or any worse or any kind of additional wording to draw the attention of a hearing officer…I know what happened. I’ve never been able to get away from it-it effects me everyday. I said that already.
I realize I am not the only one. And it really troubles me that countless others may be confronted with the same kind of ignorence that I encountered…if the countless others come to the point I found myself at. I lived 30 plus years with my damages in silence…how long will it take for others to be able to trust enough to come forward?
The military has recognized there is a problem. It is large enough they mandated that special treatment by specially trained officials be offered to any who come forward with charges they have been assaulted sexually. You can find that mandate-signed by Donald Rumsfeld at :

www.defenselink.mil/news/may2004/d2040513satfrreport.pdf

What interests me is that these regulations stop when the military personel becomes a civilian-veteran.
All this is because I am concerned about those who have served our country with honor and yet had been dishonored while in service-and dishonored worse by having no one to report these crimes to…especially when the victim returns home to try to pick up life and comes to learn they are still traumatized by the effects of the event when they were attacked.
It is unfair to return and come to a point where you can report this and file a claim and have no one with a senstive understanding to survivors of sexual trama hear these reports. If the military is required to offer sensitive individuals the Veterans Affairs system should required to do the same.
I was humbled at first to have to sit in front of a desk occupied by a man in sneakers and a ball cap-turned cock eyed to the side-casual like…to tell this man how I was assaulted only to learn what a bigot he was. Thats me and him. Please hear me…there are many of us. Many of him…many like me. This is wrong.

One Response to “unfinished business…”

  1. Ani Says:

    I admire your efforts in trying to help other veterans. It is EXTREMELY important that they each have someone to report to who will listen. To not have is just secondary trauma. I’m so glad that you bought your computer!

    Hope Sent,
    ~ Ani

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