Archive for March, 2010

the veterans…

March 27, 2010

Sir in WW 1

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I had no idea what was going to happen when I began writing this blog some years back-I have lost touch with how many now…3 maybe 4 years?

I began writing to release anger! The anger came from years of silence (yes-we are the ‘silent wounded’…silent!) about the incidents that changed my course of life in a detention barracks in 1969-70.

Detention barracks? Why…I must have been a trouble maker,or some such-to be locked in a detention barracks! Never assume-unless you really know….I had done nothing wrong!

I was raped-not even hours into the detention…I became permanently damaged!

I lived with the damage-eventually becoming a drinker and finding drugs to erase the pain…like that magic ink that disappears and then re-appears,the drugs worked only part-time! Every morning-just like this morning I wake to the memory of what my life was like in barracks D. Often-I try to enter a peaceful sleep tossing and turning with trouble finding the peace.

The anger I built up had finally found a sorer spot when a Florida DVA officer tried to consider he story I had told him about my military life-and the two months I spent enduring repeated assaults-some consider ‘sexual assaults’….but sexual was far from the reality!

The DVA guy spoke with such confidence in is words…”gee,you never think homosexuals have a need to rape each other”! He was serious…I was offended-he could not understand why I did not get his statement!

It was weeks later,actually,that got my anger to the breaking point-the DVA man and his two office staff had found a reason to make more jokes…jokes about homosexuality which had NO bearing on my complaint-or about what had happened. I was beaten up-raped by (I am fairly certain) 3 men incarcerated in the same barracks. One of those men became my ‘owner’…so to speak-he leading about each day as if I was on a leash. Instead-I was being led around with my arm twisted behind my back. I feel like vomiting each time the memory of what I was forced to do comes into my head. Those memories return all of the time!

I had no idea then-when I bought this computer so I could write out my frustrations and anger…I had no idea how many would contact me through the comment section of this forum-and say…”this happened to me too” !

Some time ago-again,I have lost track…I wrote about an ROTC officer in Sarasota Florida who was arrested for indecent activity with one of the high school students he was in charge of instruction drill to. Indecent being the softest word…he was found guilty of sexual battery on a minor!

I wrote about this crime because the question came to my mind…who takes care of these students? My research on this man led me to information about other ROTC officers who found it  an open field of candidates for molestation I might as well say rape! The numbers were staggering!

My curiosity went into a short study of this-who takes care of these students? My question is-do these kids not suffer from MST related PTSD? They must! And…who takes the responsiblity to treat them? to assume the role of health care when dealing with the mental health issues we veterans from active duty-who have been raped…who cares? NOT the Veterans Administration-I can tell you that!

ROTC students are not enlisted military-no active duty….no protection from the Veterans Administration what so ever! No chance to file a claim for PTSD-no chance of mental health care…nothing from the VA at all !

An interesting comment came to me a few days ago! One of my readers recognized the name of the ROTC officer in Sarasota as the same man who raped him while the officer was serving in active duty military and my reader was one of his troops. A part of this I had not considered….but,yes-it makes sense that these men (ROTC guilty of assault) would have the same control over his charges while in active duty-what would stop them from being a perpetrator then?

It is beginning to get crowded in this MST-PTSD group of survivors! Last month it was published that the Department of Defense has admitted that ‘military sexual trauma’ cases are up 11%…and that is only based on numbers of those who came forward and reported them. There is an assumed number of those who have not! I find it interesting that not more publications are picking up the story and printing articles of their own…are we embarrassed by these numbers? It seems not. Too often I speak to someone regarding MST-and the comments are the same….”no,really” ? “I never heard of such a thing”! Yes….really!

It is such a twisted tale! Twisted because those of us who survive this ( survive being such a strange word to describe this life with PTSD) know the truth of what has inflicted our lives-yet,we are having to fight for our very rights to health care and some kind of justice….yet-we are un-believed! Unheard….and to most of our country-unknown to even exist.

As MST veterans we must embrace these young brothers and sisters of the ROTC Corps and stand up for their rights too!


March 20, 2010

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


The following words came to me by email-from ONE MORE – MST survivor seeking justice:  “It is always great to hear from you, more so knowing that your support is genuine and from the heart. The Attorney didn’t take my case because the VA changed the entire scenario concerning claims, he said that unless the claim was denied the Attorneys can’t take cases, therefore I would have to wait until then in order to get legal advice,…go figure! My life hasn’t been easy, alone, scared most of the time, can’t sleep cause of nightmares, anxiety, etc…..more so not having a close friend to take to makes it even worse…..that’s why I appreciate your friendship, your support and kindness means a lot to me, even if it’s through the Internet”.

This is another veteran-who enlisted in the United States Military to PROTECT and SERVE his fellow countryman-and to defend the Constitution of the United States.

Read what he is telling us! He has been wronged-criminally abused by fellow military personell…and is being told there is a rule that says he cannot seek his own representation against the Veterans Administration? What is WRONG with this picture America?

I too have been told this-I have in my hand a letter sent last year-it came from the Veterans Administration…it says the attorney that I selected to represent me was not approved by the VA and therefore disqualified to represent me in my disability claim for PTSD. So-I am supposed o trust the system to provide me with unbiased legal counsel…the same system I an any of us are going against-and yet forced to use their attorney lists? I don’t get it-please…someone explain this to me.

We were proud to serve our country-in my generation we were taught we were defending democracy….but what is democratic if we cannot find a person who we trust to defend our rights?

I said this the other day….how can we sit back and let this happen? I DID NOT enlist to suffer the way I do because of MST…I would be more proud to have been wounded in combat than to be wounded in the way we survivors have been wounded-and our wounds are unlike those received in combat…they are wounds of shame as much as they are wounds in our physical being and souls.

I did nothing wrong-why should I be treated as if I did? Why should we be isolated into a line of insensitive rules that do nothing to ease the pain-instead multiply it?

We need to stand up-fight those who attacked us and strike back…or we can just sit back and take it!

This is wrong…read the fear and pain in this mans words-and also see how his rights are also gone.

MST and the VA and SURVIVORS

March 18, 2010

the American flag

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Military Sexual Trauma made the news yesterday-the numbers of reported cases are rising-and they aren’t even sure if the numbers are correct.
I am certain they ar not-but that is only me.

My numbers are up! The numbers of people who search the web-seeking info about Military Sexual Trauma-or,MST…some searching for ‘rape in the military’-some searching for VA treatment of rape survivors. The numbers are high-there are many searching for answers and searching for help.

I began encouraging the MST survivors that write me-saying that one of the best therapies and most important tasks of an MST survivor is to write about the experience-and the life afterwards. The Internet has provided me with a voice . To voice it out-and doing so uninterrupted is paramount…so it seems to me!

I have learned how free I have become! I can write about every moment of my life as a sufferer…and a survivor-and do so without fear of someone recognizing me…or with out care if they do!

My photo today is of Alcatraz Prison with the American Flag in the foreground. An important image-we as soldiers and sailors enlisted to defend FREEDOMS…to defend our FLAG and to defend the RIGHTS of so many others….and yet-our rights are not important-so it seems.

As a survivor of MST we are a silent wounded! No one wants to know about us-that is why we need to tell them!

I learned that this computer is a VOICE!

My disability creates a fear of contact-I am afraid to pick up the telephone and make contact! And then I find this machine and it’s ability to reach hundreds-and thousands-all at one time! Plus-I am not in anyones way….those who read my words hunted for them!

Like I said-I am suggesting to many of those who contact me to begin their own ‘blog’….or journal-take advantage of the use of ‘tags’ to send-off the alerts required for someone who might ‘GOOGLE’ Military Sexual Trauma-or MST or any related topic!

Each one of us is like a seed-yes,I tell that to those who contact me too….we are important as seeds because we are going to grow into something living….living? Yes-a source of help to others who are as afraid as we have been….and need to know there are others like us-for support,or for learning-or for survival.

Every time someone else makes their story available the more we will generate a truer knowledge of the numbers…not statistical numbers-but the real numbers with faces and stories of how tragic the mess of MST really is-and how our veterans who suffer are treated. The newspapers and the Department of Defense can publish the facts of thousands being assaulted and shoved under carpets of the ‘good old boys’ system….but WE can put faces on it-and relate REAL experiences,and we can cause changes to happen.

The photo this morning is so important-a PRISON and the AMERICAN FLAG! Sort of a remarkable scene-fitting for the MST Survivor-we defended this Flag  just like any other soldier, yet we are imprisoned by post traumatic fears that are results of damages to our soul because of what happened to us while trying to show other lands how freedom really is!

Where is our freedom?

one came home

March 14, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I can’t excuse my past-and wish it was not even mine to have to explain.

There are secrets in my life that have never been told-even here,until now.

Yesterday I had a visitor. I have been waiting for this visit for over 27 years.

When her mother told me that she was going to have a baby she explained she was going to convince another man it was his. At that point I was relieved.

When her mother was killed 7 years later-I began to wonder and worry. I looked for information as for her whereabouts-and no one would tell me.

This is a small town-a rural area where everyone knows everyone…and everyones business. You can never be critical about a person not knowing if the person you are being critical might be a cousin or uncle…there are too many close ties,and none of them would allow me to know.

Ten years ago a young neighbor stopped to visit-he was showing off his new girl friend-yes,you guessed it…but it took me until yesterday for things to come to a full circle.

I noticed this girl immediately, yesterday she confided that she had the same reaction that night ten years ago! We both felt a strangeness about seeing each other.

After that meeting it took several months before I saw the young man again-I had still a curiosity about the young girl he brought by. We spoke about her and it became evident that this was the girl who had been hidden from me for all these years…I had photographs of her and her mother,and passed them on to her through her young man.

The young man died also-an auto accident had crippled him and pain medications took him away. He finally took too many. I thought he might have taken my questions with him.

A few years ago I was shopping in a big box builders store-and there she was! As she checked out my purchases we talked as quickly as we could-I tried to say what I could,but the line of customers behind me limited all that needed to be said.

A year later I saw her again-in the same store-and in the lumber section,it was easier to talk there! I expressed my urgency to speak with her alone-nearly begging her to meet sometime.

Two years have gone by since that time. Until yesterday I had not seen her nor heard anything about her.

Yesterday afternoon was ending a wonderful day-warm and sunshine! The mood inspired a drive to a local ice cream drive through. Nothing is close by at all being we are so rural here-so a trip to get a milkshake turned into a drive around the county to enjoy the new birth of grasses and flowering trees in exchange of the winter we had been having.

Once home I was meandering about the house and after about 30 minutes I noticed a note! It was from Brandi. She wanted to see me and talk!

How can one explain? We sat in the chairs outside to catch the last of the sunshine-and for the first time in our lives we talked. She explained that she was afraid to visit me and to talk about this-I told her how many long years have gone by and through all of them I had loved her!

She knew more than I thought she had been told-to my joy…she wants to know more-more to my joy! We agreed to be tested to learn exactly who we are to each other-but agreed no matter what chemistry says we are always father and daughter.

I miss the view of solitude

March 1, 2010

little window Pete

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I am missing a space. Odd to think-it is about the most peaceful place on earth.

Sometimes I bring home a six pack of beers-a good dark style beer…and I go out and sit in the cab of my truck and listen to the music and drink. I don’t drive anywhere-but do sit with the engine idling just as if it was a semi truck. Looking out the windshield at a clearer way to think.

Many times in my last days of heavy haul trucking I would be sitting somewhere in a empty field waiting to load a piece farm equipment. I would find these places so restful-to just be out in the middle of no where…no nothing, just the open air (hmmm…that is if you got out of the truck).

I chose the heavy haul part of trucking just for the main reason-most of the hauls were machines such as bulldozers and excavators or cranes or some type of mobile machine. We would find find these things and load them and move across country with them until unloading some where else…all with out seeing another living soul.

Yes. Some might pass a road grader sitting on the side of the interstate somewhere-and we would be hired to find it load it and move it to another location. There is always a key hidden somewhere on the rig…that always amazed me.

This past week I was subject to a hearing. It was gently titled an ‘evaluation’…an evaluation to determine if my PTSD has made any improvements. This,I understand,will give the VA control over the adjustment of my level of disability-and reduce my benefits along with that. I told the interviewer I wish I never brought this up ever in my life-meaning allowing someone to know about my being raped in barracks D. I should have lived out the rest of my life with out saying a word. I managed to adjust to a way of life in the big trucks. A way of exile from being attached.

I found somebody I once thought I could trust-the first ever such person,and then all of a sudden that person is gone. It was my first therapist at the VA.

After that separation I resigned from being a patient. I have never felt like a veteran-I have never felt the right to be seen at the VA Hospital was something I deserved-I always felt each person there that had a computer screen saw the same things I knew…this man is not a proper veteran. I failed my country-that is the shame I feel…I failed the men I should have been injured next to-in combat where these things would make better sense.

The doctor that interviewed me the other day will never grasp the way my life has been-from then in 1969-70 to this morning just shortly after waking from another violent dream of being in a prison…I am so tired of them.

Ever since  I opened up to the VA about my injury I have had to explain it to newer people…and newerr people after that. Much with a strange sense of doubt. Perhaps the doubt comes from the reaction I was given 40 years ago…”get used to it!” was the comment made by the officer I reported the rape to.

I was able to escape in the big trucks. I was able to go and not form bonds and not be in a click or not become involved in some way in any way that would cause me a period of incarceration-by keeping out of trouble. The truck was a freedom-perhaps THE FREEDOM.

It is so abusive to sit yet with one more stranger and say what it is that describes barracks D. Equally abusive is the shuffle how we are treated at the VA Hospital period! It is not health care. They do not want to deal with us or our strangeness.

I was told two weeks ago I am not receptive to therapy. I want to know when the therapy was going to begin?

I spent three years trying to learn to trust someone finally and the VA health care system shuts that down. I was finally able to trust and was about to tell the person the fullest of it all…all in hopes to get help.

My past experience a few weeks ago had nothing to do with health care-had nothing to do with anything …except I broke a rule-and brought a pair of journalist with me to my scheduled appointment. The doctor has never fired anyone before-she put the frosting out before the fire came…it was so impersonal. She brought up the journalists first-then I was told I was not receptive to therapy.

That might be so-it took too long to get there anyway. Sorry that you can’t understand-it is not easy to pack 40 years of torment into short monthly sit downs.

I don’t know why this is. Why did I have to let them know? No one cared for all these just seems so strange. I was pissed because of  alprazolam-a drug! That is what started my big mouth rolling about being raped! My alcoholic past and mixed with the years of drug abuse…kicking those habits only so the VA can give you one of their own!

After writing this journal for these past years I have come to learn that I am not alone! I am NOT the only one!

I have commenters that have come in contact with me beyond this forum-speaking by telephone and hearing the treatment and the way the system shuffles each aside and never up. The stories come from Washington State-from New Mexico-from Michigan-from men and from woman who have never met each other but by seeking justice with in the VA system have found each other by the greatness of the Internet. We all have the same story-suffering from PTSD and above that-shame,because we were raped. So-I know it is not just me.

I looked at my doctor this past week and pity came to my mind-I pitied somebody that could achieve a degree and not even have anywhere to use it.