Archive for February, 2009

living dead

February 28, 2009

cadilac-and-sailor1I know the story of ‘the grass not always being greener on the other side’ is more less a fable…although,true.

I write here lamenting about my life as a ‘survivor’ and bellow about the misery of being such…and,it is misery. However-I have to grow up in some ways to respect the fact that there is worse and there are those who endure worse…and my details are small in comparison to the many ills and evils that life tends to dole out on each of us.

Some have good lives-some have lives that make it hard to appreciate that others have lives that are not even able to reach the top of a pile of shit. Some have lives that are helpful to me to put things into some kind of perspective-to realize mine has not been so bad when I see another.

An example-here I am at age 58 and I have had some advantages…a long life-compared to many. Yet I look at the news and see the tragic losses or the crippled others-those who never passed through childhood to be able to play sports or climb ladders to success because of severe handi-caps. Some never even reached a 3rd birthday or 5th birthday or ever grew at all. So-I have no room to gripe about what has been my so called life. But I do.

I have a prayer life-I speak openly and boldly to God. I NEVER ask for any material things…never ask for money-or a new car like shown in the photo…or a new house or good days or food or any kind of benefit to me. I ask to leave this place…my predominant prayer is: Father God…please let me out of here!

Don’t think of me as NOT being thankful-there are many things I consistently thank God for-my sons being foremost,and the ‘good’ life I’ve had being the other…just about everything I see and know is a part of my thankfulness…I even thank God for the part I will not be able to thank God for-the day I die from this misery.

I am not a happy person. Ah,I do smile much of the time…that because I know this is not my life-my life awaits me in a more glorious place. Why I know this is because I have seen the evidence of death and that it does not respect anyone…man,woman-or even child.

Many say that life is good. Maybe they have a reason that I have not experienced or witnessed. I did witness an old man commit suicide. I also witnessed my six year old brother rolling beneath a Chrysler New Yorker-the rear tire crushing his head. I also witnessed the man at night carrying my sisters limp body out of our home in the late night. I don’t know who he was or why he was there-I know now my sister was sick…she was 11 and I was 6,maybe 7. The next time I saw her was in a small pink coffin-a year later another coffin sat in the same place,it was the old man who committed suicide.

No one sat me down and explained these things to me. I just knew then from instinct that the were dead. I also knew from way back then that death respected no age,no family circumstance of wealth or poverty…it just was.

And death-it is final…but not the only situation that reveals the unfairness of this ‘so called life’.

I wanted all my life to be an architech. As a little boy I built models of homes and buildings. I had a scrap book filled with clippings of floor plans and pictures of renderings. I only my future at a drawing table-my hero Frank Lloyd Wright one day allowing me to come learn from his designs. I had not yet come to the point where the Navy was going to be my second choice of my future-my career. I only realized that once I began boot camp.

Things as a teenager created the changes…my family moved to a new area near Richmond Virginia and much happened there to change the course of my thinking. It was an unfriendly time-not the one a boy would want to live through,yet-it taught me about human kindness or the lack of the same. When we moved to Washington DC suburbs I thought things would be better…they only became worse. It was there my little brother was killed-his death was sudden and my other younger brother and I were singled out as the two who had to witness it.

My own life had taken turns-remnants of our time in Virginia had made a difference in the my future. It was not planned by any human doing-our lives must be set up by a higher power…a God,as I see it.

My upbringing was that of a patriotic sort. As I’ve mentioned many times in these writings of my life-we were taught that defending the Constitution and our Flag was number one,and our duty. VietNam was the war of our generation. It appeared ugly as we saw it on the evening news-every night we saw the images of the days dead-first the coffins draped with Flags,then the photos of each who occupied the coffins. Some protested that the war was evil…it was,war always is. But-I willingly went to enlist to do my duty.

Once I began boot camp I liked what was happening-the one thing that really made me comfortable was the social structure of being in uniform. We all dressed the same-we all were alike. We all knew where we stood in rank-no airs and no country club snobbery of others…we all were the same. The only time I realized life on an equal stage. You knew who was the leader-you knew who was the peon. It was cut and dried right there…the blue uniforms were in one structure,the tan in another.

I know my description may be hard to follow,but I know what I saw I liked. I was comfortable there-comfortable knowing where each of us stood-and at what level. There was no needing to guess the social standing of one another-no fancy clothes,no social cliques…just the uniform.

After boots I was standing in awe of the ship I was about to come aboard. The USS Vulcan looked like an ocean liner-not a war ship. The interior was a massive repair shop-foundry’s and metal shops,wood working shops…watch repair shops-design shops…pipe fitting and cabinet making and anything that might be required to make emergency repairs-it was there. I was in love with the scene around me. I was in love with the United States Navy…I was in love with the USS Vulcan.

I had not finished high school. I was not drop out material. I was put out because of a situation between me and a student teacher. She was my first experience with a woman-and the way I always understood it,she became pregnant and was sent away-and I was kicked out,or-the way it was told to me…my father ‘dropped me out’. This was a paramount reason as to why I enlisted.

Once aboard the Vulcan I was given the routine tour-among the stops was to take exams given by the ships education officer. An opportunity arose to offer me an education-a complete education…college. I was offered an exchange-re-enlist then for 10 years and I would be given a choice of colleges to go to. I wanted that-I wanted to excel in school…social stigma interfered with my civilian education,my former student teacher finalized the end. Indeed-return to me what was interrupted.

I was not smart enough to realize how individual our lives are. Because we have family does not mean we are bonded in love like storys tell. My older brother was a petty-officer aboard the Vulcan too. At my request-I was stationed with him. It turned out to be the worse idea I ever had. Things were bad from the moment he learned I was there. I always believe he had much to do with the ‘trouble’ that I found myself in which led to my abrupt discharge….which was the trouble that found me in barracks D-where I was brutally attacked and raped. The event that changed my life forever.

After my swift life in the Navy I found myself broken. No where to go-at first my family home was closed to me. I did stay briefly in our area in the suburbs-only to find the need to escape and fleeing to Florida. Things were never the same. I would never be the same-my innocence wrongly destroyed…as the innocence of many was in that era. I could never hold a job-some one there would remind me of someone in barracks D and off I’d go. Blame would follow-my family thinking I was just ‘no count’ and never bothered to ask why-or what was wrong…why I had changed from the youngster I once was into the monster I eventually became. The monster…who I am inside from the fears and anxiety that I suffer since my days in barracks D.

My family did not raise a drunk-or drug addict. I became those to try to escape the memory-then and now praying that something would take me from this ugly life.

Yes…much of this makes no sense to the reader. It has never made any sense to me. I went off to do the right thing-to serve my country,to find honor in my life…to do honorably for this land of the free. Instead-I lost all hope for honor and doubt the land of the free.

Something that happened to me 39 years ago should have drifted away-it should have been different. I would have gone to college-I would have been a career man in the U.S.Navy. I might have been a commander of a ship-this I will never know. I wanted to…I wanted it all to be my life,to sail the sea’s and to be the leader of men-hopefully to be a hero,definitely to fight the enemy and keep our country free. Why that was not to be I am not certain-yet I am certain that life is not fair. I am certain barracks D created a hate for this life…I am certain I will be pleased when this life is over.

Friday 20 Feb 1970,0430

February 22, 2009

001Funny trinkets…and memories,although not so funny.

The items in the photo are from a past-mine,and are huge pieces of my history. The cross was given to me the day I was inducted in the United States Navy by the volunteers of the Red Cross who handed these icons of our faith-the Jewish enlistees received a Star of David-and these little crosses to the Christians. I still have mine. The stone is a different piece from a later time-shortly after my brother Frank died. I drove from Florida up the east coast and returning down through the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had come across a section of the Appalachian Trail-and parked to hike up the ridge a few miles. I found a spot and was overcome with a strong sense to pray…and weep,and God in the amazing things God does had a bagpipe player off in the distance-playing Amazing Grace. It was too much for my feeble human mind to take in and again I fell on my face to pray. I found this round stone there in front of my face-and kept it.

The tiny angel came to me also at a surprising moment of time-crazy small symbols of the Spirit saying-I am here!

My brother Frank was my Cain. Although he personally did not murder me…my brother facilitated the event that placed me in a detention barracks..barracks D. There I was raped. The only wish I have is that they would have killed me then-they might as well have-my attackers.

I’m struggling with the anniversary that has just passed. I was flabbergasted to notice that February 20 1970 was a Friday…this February 20th was a Friday too… 39 years ago at 0430 in the morning I was awakened with a few other men in barracks D and with out notice we were led around the Naval Station where the building that contained barracks D was-we were first led to a huge warehouse that had several mounds of civilian clothes. We were ordered to strip out of our US Navy uniforms-ours were the denim work uniforms with the big yellow ‘SID’ marked on the back. Sailor in Detention,and told to find some ‘civvies’ that would fit us.

There were other stops that morning-we were led through several other buildings to sign papers,as it turns out-our separation papers. Before 0700 came we were at the main gate and given a lecture-don’t ever come back,that is what we were told-then our discharge papers and travel pay was handed to us. It was over.

This Friday-February 20th was unusually,or am I wrong-was it another (yes) Spiritual guided memory and event…I do not know how to explain. My brother Franks first wife was here to visit. I had not seen her since some time in the early 1980’s. Prior to that…it was 1969.

It must have been Spiritually orchestrated…this past Friday,it must have been! Bernice (my former sister in law,now my sister by relation to God) is the only living actual witness to my time in the Navy…my time at barracks D. She is the only living witness that I have that knew. She was not there in the barracks D-she did not see the torture that I went through there-she did not see the actual rapes,but-she knew.

The ‘Survivors Art Exhibit’ is coming up soon. This year it is in May,and again I am going through the task of distributing the flyer’s that call the artists to present their art. I had made arrangements to meet the coordinator of the event in a small town near by. I had also taken Bernice and her husband to tour the small town-a historic little town. Also the town (Micanopy) that I had come to and found my angels in just months after my discharge.

 The coordinator was there-she was also my main witness last year when I went before the VA judge to present my case-the facts that I was raped during my time at barracks D. It was very emotional to me for these two ladies to meet, although the tears had to come later-and not in front of them.

Friday night I sat here in my room-darkened room. I sat and stared out through the French doors in my bedroom into the night-looking at the sliver of the moon and wondered if the moon was also in the same phase then in 1970 as it is now. I suppose it must have been…then the tears came. How much it meant to me-seeing Bernice and knowing she had been the only one all along that knew and was my only living connection. That was not my only reason for the tears….all that has been lost because of the events of 1970,then-and through my entire adult life.

Rape is not a gentle crime. The sexual assault label it carries tends to soften the real blow and impact it grieves the victim with…forever! The real truth is-it is such a damaging crime.

My family never knew the story of barracks D as I have always known it. My father never asked me about any of  it-he only knew my brothers side of the story…the part that I failed in my military duty. I lived all this time with them knowing a lie-never knowing my truth. Dad died last year (2007) and never saw the pages of the Judges summation of his decision-and my case…the VA Judge noted on the last of the many pages-NO WRONGDOING.

He also noted that I suffer-yet! Suffer? Yes….deeply deeply suffer,even still-even today. They know my suffering as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)….but there is no true way to understand the suffering I really experience. The losses….they will always be-lost.

I was ‘freed’ on Friday February 1970…but yet I am still locked in barracks D and will always be confined there. The memories-this morning,no different-the memories arise with me as I awake,they are as immediate as the sun coming through the French doors waking me. My mental state goes into automatic-an inventory is done with in seconds of my awaking…an inventory of what had happened and what has been lost.

Take a survey RE:dating violence

February 21, 2009

My name is Kathleen Kline and I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker in the State of Ohio and a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Walden University. For my dissertation, I am conducting a study on male and female victims of dating violence in both heterosexual and gay/lesbian relationships among college students. I am conducting this study under the supervision of Matthew Geyer, PsyD at and it has been approved by the Walden University IRB (Approval # 05-19-08-0283304). My dissertation research was inspired out of a recognition of the dearth of research on dating violence among male victims and a need for social change efforts designed to assist those who might not otherwise seek help. I am in particular need of obtaining a sample of male victims of dating violence in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships , but women victimized by dating violence in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships are welcome to participate.

The purpose of my study is to examine differences in type of violence/abuse experienced, attachment style and help-seeking behavior among victims of dating violence, particularly males in heterosexual relationships and those in gay/lesbian relationships who currently attend college or university (undergraduate/graduate), are in or have been in a dating relationship and who have experienced at least one incident of physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse/violence within the context of their dating relationship. It is to create an awareness men also experience abuse or violence by their dating partners.

I would appreciate it if you could post this information to your list serve. This survey is completely confidential and anonymous and hosted on a secured, password-protected survey service site, Please Note: While participation in this study is completely voluntary and may be exited at any time, it would be appreciated if the survey is completed in full (all four questionnaires are completed) in order for participant responses to count in the results of the study. The survey will take approximately 25 minutes to complete.

Password: Butterfly007

Your participation or assistance will help to further research in the area of dating violence among both male and female victims of dating violence in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships which will lead to social change efforts to create an awareness that men also experience abuse and violence by their dating partner and in the development of services and resources designed to assist those victims who might not otherwise seek help. By participating in the survey, you may gain valuable insights into yourself and/or your dating relationship. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at or In exchange for your assistance, I will gladly send you a general summary of the results of this study.


Kathleen Kline, M.S.S.A., L.I. S.W.

Doctoral Candidate, Walden University, School of Psychology

February 14, 2009



All things are marked by time. I remember years ago when I first came out to these sand hills-that would have been in 1970….we would have driven right past this pasture. Then it would have been loaded with hogs,now it has goats-I have never known it to be free from being under the hoof.

I first came out to these sand hills to meet a character named Arnie. Arnie was retired Army-from Boston,with a permanent accent. He lived out here in a shack-a literal shack. His job  was to over see several thousand acres of roaming pigs. They did all the work.

During the hippie days of the 1970’s there was an old black fellow that lived in Gainesville. Johnny was his name. He was a wino who owned a guitar and harmonica and used them all to make some of the greatest free style blues you ever heard. If you had a party but did not have a stereo you’d ride around and hunt Johnny and always had music. Somehow Johnny knew Arnie and everyone knew Johnnie and we all drove out to the sand hills to sit around Arnie’s lamp and get drunk and sit back and listen to Johnny.

I never knew in my wildest dreams that I’d be living in the same spot where Arnie kept a lawn chair and a  black and white TV set and his old lamp – covered in plastic to protect it from the rain. I remember what it was like the first time coming out here. It was foggy and in the wee hours of the morning. All of us packed in a station wagon and most of us drunk or buzzed in some such fashion. I remember there were some girls with us who sighed in relief when they saw the glow of Arnie’s TV in the dark and then kept remarking in disbelief that he was tucked back so deep in the woods and that there was actually an Arnie.. Then in those days the road there was hardly a trail. Taking someone down the road on a first trip at night always seemed to draw a sense of reservation on the initiates part. Arnie’s TV offering that grayish haze in the trees was almost as if a shrine was glowing through the forest.

The pasture in this picture once held Black Angus cows. The things were so dark you could never see them at night. I remember once upon a time when I had to walk out of these woods to go to work. I had to leave usually about 0300 in order to make the traffic light 7 miles away by 0530. From there I hitch hiked to work. To make a short cut-I could walk the road adjacent to the pasture and cut through the woods to Baptism Pond and come out on the highway. It cut my walk at least a third.

In the pitch black of the sleeping morning I’d get the attention of the herd of Black Angus and they’d follow my scent in the dark. I couldn’t see them-I’m not sure if they could see me,but I know they sensed something. The sound of them running up towards the fence coming out of the quiet and the darkness is an eire sound which causes that spooky feeling you had as a kid to return.

I remember the walk being so quiet that one length paralled the power line and I could hear the electric zinging through the wires.

I don’t walk the distance into Archer any more. I should-there is no need,but I still should. I do walk up the length past the pasture-but where I used to cut through and make my short cut is where I turn around. The round trip from my front door and back is 3 miles.

I like to see the span of time I’ve known this trail. From hundreds of free roaming pigs to Black Angus to now-with goats. Goats make this sound that is similar to someone calling my name. I can imagine that would have really spooked me if they occupied the pasture back in those days long gone. Even in daylight I usually feel funny hearing the sound as if someone is yelling out my name-and every time feel the fool when I turn and see it is just those goats yelling at each other. I can just imagine what it would have done at night-my jeans and boots would be running faster than me!

I have to thank God everytime I walk down this road. I thank God for giving me the years offered that I’ve come down this lane,over 39.

I still walk it-as I have said,and use the time to fellowship with God and talk about the many things that muck up life. The meditation the peace of it provides-the health of it,the fresh air and the briskness of pace pushing the blood around my body. I have the chance many times over to thank God for how my prayers were answered-prayers spoken from my heart as I walked out of these woods everyday. I asked that my sons would be spared that the way my life had been would not be the way theirs would go-the only thing I’ve ever asked for..

My prayers have been answered.

believing in government:class one

February 5, 2009

drawing by-jay herron
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


There is one thing I can honestly say-I know little about the government.Maybe I can say it even better-I don’t believe in the government.

I tried,I wasn’t always like this. Growing up in the era of the 1950’s one couldn’t miss. The pledge of allegiance was probably the first thing we were taught in elementary school.

As a boy I remember how on Memorial Day we kids could find a  ceremony of some sort  going on in the cemetery up behind the baseball field. In school we learned about our Presidents. At home we all sat in front of our televisions in absolute shock as we saw our President assassinated in Dallas that Thanksgiving season in 1963.

As boys we were given the suggestion you wanted a machine gun just like Vic Morrow as Sgt.Chip Saunders used on the TV show ‘Combat’ The TV commercials enticed us to be warriors,making sure we grew up to want to be real warriors.

It was the big thing as a kid going to stay part of  summer with my grandparents. They lived in the city of Washington DC. As always the trips to the museums were common-and in awe we would wait in the line to view the original Constitution. It was amazing even as a boy to have stood in front of something that old-and yet something as important the guidelines and rules of government that it is.

We were taught by the veterans parades that being a hero and defending the Constitution and the flag was proof that Sgt.Saunders was right on.

I lost all sense of what I was taught after my discharge from the Navy.  I wanted to believe like it was before I went in the Navy,but my experiences going through my life in barracks D failed to revive that belief.

I had once found hope in Jimmy Carter. When he ran for office there was an offer for amnesty to many who were discharged through Nixon’s drug amnesty offer back in 1970. Jimmy Carter’s son was among the veterans that fit that bill. I registered to vote and pulled his lever in the voting booth. The only time I ever voted in my life. The promise he made did not reach me. The letter written to him-by my mother-was returned with a rejection accompanying it.

When I began writing to offices of elected Congress people these past few years for veterans rights-for the rights of MST survivors (military sexual trauma) I wanted to believe again.

I had thought I had reached the peak in my search to find someone in Congress that would hear me-would hear us. I wrote the other day that I received an invitation to contact them months ago,urging me to make arrangements to talk about the issue.

I was contacted just the other day. The apology was made that the Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite was no longer on the committee that heard veterans issues. The offer was made to supply me with the information on the new committee-or at least the link to monitor when a new  committee was seated. I was also told to contact the Representative from my area. All this stuff I do not understand.

I don’t know how it all works. The desire to stay interested in it was broken right about the moment the officer I reported my rape to said to “get used to it”. To defend my Constitution was why I enlisted in the military. I was 17 years old when I signed up-that’s how much I believed. I left my military service feeling ashamed and broken.

Why should it matter? If an American citizens rights are being violated-why should it matter what committee someone is sitting on-a person in office in the Congress should want to seek justice and right the wrong. When I enlisted in the United States Navy-I did not do it as someone defending just my neighborhood,I did it to defend my country-I was not going to ask what region one was from,I was doing it for all.

I believe the civil rights of an MST  survivor are violated. I believe this because of the extreme distortion of our injuries in comparison to the legitimate war time injury. Not that I mean any injury is legitimate-but we enlisted to put our lives forward to defend our country,not to be assaulted sexually by our own.

A soldier or sailor or airman who has been in combat and return and are offered benefits due them for honorable service-and because they’ve been injured have an understanding ear to hear how these wounds were received.  The expected stories of combat related injury are not the same as the stories of an individual who has been raped.

Because of the severeness of the way rape effects a survivor-to report it has an immediate hurdle,who do you trust to tell? An immediate reaction is to tell the one you trust…in my case that one had little advice to offer…”get used to it”! Hardly anything that would compel me to trust again.

30 some odd years later when I thought I was able to trust again it was suggested to me to seek validation and justice through the VA system-to appeal for benefits said to be due me because of the nature of my injuries and what they had done to my life.

I went to one of those men who are able to understand the complex nature of war injuries-but never should have heard the nature of the injuries of a rape survivor. This is where our civil rights are being violated-because the way the system is set up is to understand and help a select group of veterans,but have no business hearing the sensitive details of a rape survivors life.

We have no where to go-and no one to trust. The man I was supposed to trust had no idea what to think about being seated in front of a male rape survivor. He could only associated it with remarks about homosexuality-rude remarks,and words that showed bigotry. He assumed my attackers were black.

To me-we should not have to be on a committee to be upset about something like this. The comments the Veterans Affairs Officer made  showed absolute predjudice towrds me and my case-a case eventually proven,but I hired an attorney who was capable of understanding.

It does not matter what committee you are seated on-the rights of many veterans are being violated. MST survivors are expected to sit back in silence because they have fears of coming forward for exactly the reason I state. Too many of us have heard the words “get used to it” it one fashion or the other-already the trust factor is defeated.

How can we trust again when no one is there is offer safety? And how can you trust when the country you volunteered to defend offers no defense for you? It should not matter ,Congresswoman Brown-Waite, what district I am from. I believe I am speaking for veterans that come from your region too…I am speaking for veterans from every place in the United States.

Veterans rights are being violated-survivors of MST have a right to be heard in privacy and in peace of being revictimized by ignorance. Veterans rights are being violated….hear us and give us justice!





February 1, 2009


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Tomorrow begins the first weekday of a new month,another business day. The month has ended a two month visit with the holidays and the business of swearing in our new President. Everything had been busy but now we have begun to settle.

I was very pleased to learn this past week that there were Congressional hearings taking place on the very topic I write about-MST (military sexual trauma). I was sad to see there was nothing written in the news.

I learned of the hearings by coincidence-I emailed a partner in veterans advocacy who at the very time she received my email-she was sitting in the gallery observing the hearings. She emailed me back-and I am looking forward to further conversations towards bringing attention to MST and the veteran who survives,the silent wounded.

I was sad,though,by not learning about the hearings from someone I have made many efforts to contact. I received a letter of interest from Ginny Brown-Waite from the House of Representatives. She also is on the Committee on Veterans Affairs. Her letter from September 2007 encouraged me to contact her office at my earliest convenience to arrange a meeting. September,October,November,December,January-has passed,we had one meeting arranged-oddly enough,it was election day-and that date was finally canceled by her staff.

I really would have been willing to stand in front of Congress and tell them what life as a male survivor of MST has been like and what it is like for all survivors. The fears and phobias and nightmares-those along with the loss of a real life,productive-sober…none of those were possible because of post traumatic stress.

I am disappointed that Congresswoman Brown-Waite has not been informed personally about the many times I have emailed and written  formal letters telling her that the civil rights of MST survivors have been hidden away-if not vacant altogether-asking her to invite me to sit down and explain how that is. Otherwise I feel like she would ask.

It would have been a moment of achievement to be able to stand in front of Congress and say to them what I have been saying in this journal. To be able to speak out for every veteran-and every MST survivor would have made a million differences in my life of trying to heal.

Our civil rights have been violated. This should be of interest to every American. We have been victims of a violent crime while doing our duty to serve our country. The reaction from our superiors and comrades was the beginning of this violation-many of us were told to keep it to ourselves,or to get used to it. Afterwards-we have to walk in our own silence,there is no one  safe enough for us as a veteran to report this to. Usually the knowledge a veteran has been the victim of a rape comes by accident. We have no one sensitive enough to understand our issues when we decide to hold the military accountable-and to file for a claim for benefits as the legitimately injured soldier does. The advocates in position to help the others have no idea or training to understand what an MST survivors life is like. They have no understanding that sexual assault is not a pleasurable accident.

I would think someone who is on the Committee on Veterans Affairs would have notified me-and invited me to participate after the many requests I’ve written to be heard. I am thankful for the testimony of the female MST survivor-it such courage,but we need to also show the male survivor hurts too-and that we are a part of the numbers.