on my knees so I can look up


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This is what it is…for those that don’t know the whole story-I am writing this online journal to describe what my life as a male survivor of sexual trauma has been like. The nature of the trauma changed the way I lived my life-my gauge to say that is that I was prepared to spend my life serving in the US Navy. That life ended abruptly while I was still just fresh enlisted-18 years old.

I was made promises by the education officer on our ship-there was a program then where certain personnel could enlist for 10 years and trade for college right away and return as an officer-although something like an Ensign.

I believed in the things that were being told to me-and I was very excited.

My older brother was stationed on the same ship (I had requested that myself-in boot camp). He told me that was never going to happen,that the education officer was not telling the truth-I had no idea that it had made him jealous. He had not achieved much in his service.

I can only try to guess what happened the weekend I was arrested. I was on a liberty pass for the New Years weekend of 69-70 but had jumped the gun the night before-trying to use a round trip bus ride to spend a few hours extra with my family in Washington DC-from Norfolk VA-and got stuck in a serious snowstorm. When the bus finally made DC it was too late to try to get back to ship-but I had managed to have myself cleared by having the military liason call my ship-after all…I had a pass! And the ship’s Master at Arms told the liason I was free to go.

It was a day later my brother was sent by the ship to arrest me…I was taken back-and accusations were made based on story’s another sailor had told them. Nothing true-but I was afraid…my brother saw to it that I should be. They kept saying I was going to prison!

That night I was taken to barracks D-a detention barracks. There I was raped-and for two months led around like an object-made to do things hard to describe and repeat.

I was given an HONORABLE discharge at the end of the second month. I have never felt honor.

Over the past several years-I guess five or so…I began writing this journal to try educate as best I could that the term ‘sexual trauma’ is not only trauma to woman,but that men can be victims too.

I would never thought that I would ever write about what happened-I lived with it and all the damage that followed for almost 35 years before any one ever cared! I then began a different kind of pain-one that has taken me by surprise and has caused me to shudder at what has been another form of abuse.

My life since 1970 has been an erratic ride of alcohol and drug and sexual abuse. Sexual being the worst of it…like a battered wife who returns to the husband I went over and over to find injury on me-to repeat the life in barracks D. I don’t think I’ve ever said it this way-this openly here. The pain and disgust of it makes me sick.

I fought for years to separate from it…and at times won-quitting cocaine in the 80’s,finding freedom from drinking off and on. Both contributing to the self abuse-the abuse…and both battles-big battles with lots of work to overcome. I walked away from cocaine in the mid 80’s with the help of counseling and my two teenage sons. I have walked away from alcohol too many times…sometimes good,sometimes not.

I managed to finally find a place where I stopped. My stroke in 1998 helped more than anyone could ever imagine. No more cigerettes-no more drugs…no more drinking. That ended later in the year when an individual wanted by the authorities came in my life-and I got caught up in her case…I quit drinking for 5 years! FIVE YEARS!!!

Then one day at a routine visit to the VA….all the goodness ended!

I was asked if I was ever depressed-the standard interview…and YES by GOD-I am! And I said so…and they gave me pills to take home. The pills honestly gave me a high I can only compare to a mild psychedelic and I felt strange-and dumped them out!

I am free of drugs by then-over 12 years. Sober the longest I’ve ever been!

I explained in a letter why I dumped the pills-that I had fought sobriety for what seems forever…and the pills made me feel high. I explained about my life!

That brought an eventual response a few months later-I was scheduled to begin three years of weekly meetings with a social worker-my therapist!

During that time it was suggested that I validate my injury-the PTSD-by filing a disability complaint against the VA.

That began this blog-journal.

The ‘healing’ that was supposed to come from all of this has become more detrimental to my health than ever! I have constantly explained that my first meeting with the State of Florida DVA advocate brought insults of bigotry…he tried to suggest the rapes were homosexual behavior-and could hardly believe the men involved were not black men.

I hired a lawyer instead…only to receive a letter from the VA saying she cannot represent me-after all,she was not registered with the VA for their approval.

Eventually three years later it is ‘agreed’ that the rapes had happened-and they had disabled me with PTSD. I was given a 70% rating and at that time thought it was appropriate-after all,it happened in 1970!

Strange crazy insane thing! I say that because I am so confused!

I find myself scheduled for a new hearing-like the same one I went to two years ago-having to again prove myself….prove something that has constantly daily affected my life-and has made me who I am because I cannot escape it-and tried to live with it…HEALING? It has never happened.

I am having to defend myself. The whole matter-built up over these years-has exploded inside of me! The anxiety and the pressure of the memories intermingled with the current affairs of what this has done…an institution (the VA) has literally repeatedly offended me in trying to convince that I shall be validated!

I woke the other night (shall I say-came to?) on my knees with my face in the dirt in the woods that surrounds my house. Toxic…again! God I HATE IT…that must have been what I was saying when I was trying to look up!

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One Response to “on my knees so I can look up”

  1. donnie Says:

    Record modified narrative form 1991 may seven day treated for MST the doctor and social worker apologize was told I was being release on medical discharge I beg them to finish my navy career and they didvrape later in gulf war treated new command process me oth discharge no separation physical travel no transition from military to civilian i didn’t see my
    Parent 16 yr process out leg brace neckbrsce

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