ROTC arrests and MST

watson2cjohnharveyThe man its in this photo is Colonel J.H.Watson,USMC (Ret.)

His current occupation is that of an ROTC instructor at a high school in Florida although his current address at the Duval County jail prohibits him at the moment.

His charges involve child pornography-they don’t yet say he has assaulted any children they only describe the items found on his computer. They describe the children as teenage girls-the same age as the teens he is is charge of teaching leadership to.

I only know the very brief  information that was published with this mans photograph-so I cannot stand in judgement as he has a right to defend himself in court.

What I do know is Colonel Watson is not the only retired military veteran who has been charged with a crime of this nature-and what narrows it down,the solitaire former instructor of ROTC in recent past to be arrested. One only needs to do  a quick search to learn I speak the truth.

The fact that men like this do end up in jail says something to me-it tells me that military sexual trauma (MST) has tentacle’s that reach into all ranks.

Okay-I may be a tad or two off to connect this mans arrest with MST,but I relate it to it being likely this mans misconduct is not something new and most likely was a practice of his during his career. Then I think about how many men and woman he had in his command and then I think of the 32% of woman veterans who the VA says have been victims of MST, and the 6% of the male veterans. How many men and woman in his command and through his years as he grew in the ranks could fit into those numbers?

I know-I’m talking about odds,but…they do have a place in this!  I remember the veterans advocate that I was once going to trust to carry my case forward-he made judgements about my rapes. He wondered why homosexuals needed a reason to rape each other…and the the equally troubling assumption my attackers were blacks. My advocate had to be my judge-and yet could not judge with this kind of bigotry. And then you take this guy-Colonel Watson,and you think of how many in his past that might have had a need to report a rape and wonder how many could not. It is easy to say there may have been several times if you consider the numbers of men and woman Colonel Watson had watch over during his career.

My point here needs to consider the numbers of ROTC instructors that have been jailed in the past year of 2008 for sexual misconduct-and assault on children/teenagers in their charge-all of them retired military with rank. My quick search on ‘GOOGLE’ this morning brought up 10 different individuals on the first page. I wonder how many MST victims these men had contact with during active duty?

Why would one wonder why a victim could not come forward and report that they had been raped? With just my feeble attempt with the numbers explains that well enough to me. If the odds are that the MST survivor has this kind of individual to report to and seek justice then the odds are seemingly off…and it is easy to understand why one would want to remain silent.

The veteran MST survivor remains the ‘silent wounded’ because of men like Colonel Watson. How could one come to this man as an officer and receive full understanding? How could a man like this make a reasonable judgement with his own heart carrying the guilt of sexual misconduct? It is no wonder many remain silent.

I am not a research scientist-I only comment here as an observer of my own life as an MST survivor…what it was like for me to report my rape to an officer only to be laughed at-and years later to a Florida Veterans Affairs advocate to hear him remark how amazed he was that “homosexuals had a need to rape each other”. This man was also a retired Marine. I look at the photo here of Colonel Watson and see the same kind of men-the Navy officer who laughed and the FVA officer who was to ignorant to understand.

Can you see where I’m going with this? I am showing you how hard it really is to come forward and I am showing you that MST has its hands on every level of military service-even in the ROTC program (and yes-I understand ROTC is not necessarily military,but…) and in my way I am showing you that it is a larger problem than one really knows-and that the military wants to admit. I am showing you that sexual misconduct has no barrier of rank or race or age. I hope you get my drift!

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