catching up…


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Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The past two months have been blank…then I return home to what should have been a time of relaxation did not work out as such-I became fatigued on my return flight from Hawaii. That wore me down where I got sick-and stayed sick and tired for a number of weeks.
Then the computer died-or,perhaps,caught that I was tired and it bogged up. That meant a call to the Dell Indian who vacuumed the thing bone dry removing with it my photographs and certain bookmarks and my will to want to!

I have not lost the motivation to write. I have come to a point where writing my story has got to come to an end somewhere-I said this before…this is not really meant to be about me-although what happened to me is important for others to understand. In basics-the reader just needs to read back and the whole story is there. Also ,what I am saying here seems to have had influence on others-so I don’t want to end it-writing! I would like to transform into hopefully helping other veterans-survivors of MST to approach the long battle to get what is rightfully belongs to them…admission-acknowledgment from the military that you were indeed victimized on their watch.

It would be better to see the attackers convicted. I know that is asking for a little much-but I do feel emotions from having papers saying that MST did occur and that I had no blame in what took place. No blame being because I was in a detention barracks and that I had done nothing to warrant being there.

I’m not an educated person so I don’t have all these powers of a degree and fellowships to give me a boost in becoming an advocate for others. Actually-I’m thankful in some ways that I’m not a degree scholar. I happen to see a hole in the way certain classes of veterans are treated-and perhaps a gap in how a survivor sees themselves as a veteran. I see this from the perspective of a survivor-being a male survivor myself.

What I do see are men in position as advocates-sanctioned by the individual states Veterans Affairs department…uneducated men particularly where the crime of rape and sexual assault is considered.

What I will continue to advocate for is a change in how MST survivors appeal for medical and financial benefits. I will keep shouting the best way I can to hopefully be heard on behalf of change…military sexual trauma -MST (any sexual trauma) is horrific to live with. Sexual attacks change the victim so deeply-fear consumes the survivor.

To send an MST survivor through a process of appealing for compensation where they are required to seek the confidence of a veterans advocate who may not ever understand the details of a rape-is wrong.

The way the system is set up every veteran who has been injured in military service must file the beginning papers for a benefit claim with a Veterans Affairs (BVA) officer in the home county of the veteran. Every veteran! This includes a claim for MST.

For those that do come forward-the veteran who responds to the question of unwanted sexual contact,they most likely would be doing so at a veterans hospital. They rountinely ask the question during a scheduled physical-yet the veteran might find other channels to find a confidential ear.

When the question is answered ‘yes’ there should be an automatic open avenue for the MST survivor to go through. A medical professional should be in place instead of a BVA representative-the MST survivor should be treated with sensitive attention to his or her injury and case.

I was sent to my local BVA representative and he was challenged to confusion as why homosexuals would need to rape each other-he was certain my attackers were blacks…he was nearly dumbfounded when I told him they were not. There were later comments that sounded more like jokes about me. I am angry that someone who suffers from the shame of sexual trauma is subjected to that kind of rudeness and ignorance-and bigotry.

I want to see it different for others. I hope some way comes to lighten up the path to show what trauma this is-and to inspire a change in how MST survivors find healing and hope through a gentler system.

Peace

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3 Responses to “catching up…”

  1. Brian Says:

    Thank you for posting your blog.
    I was a veteran service officer and another male veteran told me his story. I thought I was the only one.
    My incident changed me forever. Going through the VA process was traumatizing also. I found a ship mate who was willing to write a letter to verify my story. After that he wouldn’t write me again. He apologized for not helping get the attacker off me in the letter. I only speculate that he has a little guilt. I found another ship mate online who would not admit that he remembered my attack but did provide me with my attacker’s middle initial. I needed that so the VA would look up his military record and see that he did go to Captain’s mast. His record verified my story. The point I am getting at are these:
    How many males would ever lie about MST? My answer would be none.
    It seems to me the whole PTSD/MST issue keeps falling under women issues in the VA system….why….because of discrimination and ignorance.
    I wonder if recruiting would suffer if the real truth came out?
    I also feel the I should be granted the “permanent and total” status instead of IU “INDIVIDUAL UNEMPLOYABILITY”. I feel my life was ruined because of it. I have tried and tried and tried to “get past it” but I don’t think I ever will. Even if I could accept it….the toll it has taken on me is ….anyways.
    I’m sorry for ranting on but I’ve just had it. I’m going through cognitive behavior therapy. The therapist thinks I had disassociation with one part of my incident.

    • jayherron Says:

      Thank you Brian for your comment-I wish we could raise more interest and open more discussion…the more voices that protest against the wrong veteran/survivors of MST face in the VA system-the more likely it will be we can change these things!
      I truly appreciate you sharing this story with us Brian,thank you!

  2. Jen Says:

    Hi Jay,
    I just wanted to let you know about Service Women’s Action Network. We have a specific initiative on MST and are working to help both men and women. I would love to brainstorm with you on ways we can help serve men who have experienced MST.

    Hope to hear from you,
    Jen

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