Proverbs 30:28


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The verse I think of every time I see a spider says that the hands of the spider are all over the walls of the kings palaces (too!)…

This past July 12 issue of TIME has an article about female veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which the females express the discomfort of being treated at the VA hospitals,they note the care is still set up around male veterans.

The article also speaks about ‘military sexual trauma’ but as typical leaves out the fact that males are victims too. There is much to learn and many who must be afraid to come forward. The Silent Wounded!

One female vet described how fearful she was when her appointments at the VA would mean waiting in an area predominantly filled with males. I fully understand that fear…I HATE the VA waiting areas! I FEAR the VA waiting areas,I FEAR the men….I FEAR the VA hospital.

It is very easy to relate to the interviews in TIME’s article. It shows that the effects of PTSD are equally disturbing in woman as they are in men. I feel like I am in a room filled with serpents when I would attempt a VA appointment. Our fears are equal.

The article touched on sexual trauma-a few words,not enough,but did mention. There needs to be more said. I know that there are many who agree with me. unfortunately (yet I understand) there was not a word about how sexual trauma injures males too.

More and more as time has given me to write in my hope to raise awareness I receive comment and contact from men who have served as far back as Viet Nam stating that they too suffered attacks by their own troops and thanking me for the courage it has taken to write (and write) about what happened in my ow accounts of my rape and continued assaults. They all seem to say the same thing…they are afraid to speak out,afraid to come forward,afraid because when they reported the crime to superiors they were told to muster up and buckle to…in other words,shut up.

This is so unfair! So unjust because a truth is kept from being! This is no small thing.

Like my family. No one ever asked me (I once told my kid brother years ago) what happened in the Navy that brought such a dramatic change in me.

Because I was in a detention barracks all they ever saw and knew was I got in trouble and the Navy booted me out! No one knew any more than that. So in my description of the “truth is kept from being” I share this because it is what it means! Except…the truth is being kept from the rest of the people! Military Sexual Trauma is the truth being kept from ears!

I once had an occasion to grieve over an incident and as my usual way of dealing with the matter I bought a couple of 12 packs of beer and built myself a fire in my back yard. I drank one beer after the other trying to get as drunk as I could,but the adrenaline in my body kept me from getting so. Near the end of the 24 cans of beer I looked up and saw myself as if mirrored in the night sky. The thing that disturbed me the most was that I realized God saw everything there is about me. Things I have kept secret from my family and my friends were not secret to God.

I don’t mean this in a good way either,or a bad way…the proverb about the spider says such.

My lifestyle of living alone with my PTSD has been erratic and often ersatz in lack of normal. My family,my sons,no one could comprehend my drug abuse or my alcohol abuse. They still can’t and I hardly can. More so I have hidden from them and many the way I have dealt with the monsters of me. Our group of neighbors once had a woman who was constantly being beat up by her boyfriend,and yet she still went home to him. And,being beat up again. I know that need. I once had an active practice of similar abuse desires. Once the injuries landed me in the hospital for 12 days. No one ever knew.  The secrets I had to keep. The Silent Wounded!

 Through my silence I helped perpetuate the truth being kept from being known.

Had I known there might have help available maybe life would have been different. There is no way of knowing now! My generation was at the age of not understanding. Rape was not mentioned in the news in the 50’s and 60’s we hardly knew of sexual predators…that stuff was locked behind doors. So there was no one to turn to for help. To me the shame of what had happened and what I had to do to survive it for two months,to keep from being beaten up or having my arm crunched behind my back all the time-I submitted instead. I can never erase it from my self. It was not something wanted like fun but something I individually had to do to keep certain pain from happening to add to the pain of what I was made to do.

No one talked to me about it.

So it happens that I learn of another male my age who has lived like I did in silence. I speak with two others my age who lived in silence. We actually enjoy our conversations because we understand what we are saying about our fears and individual phobias,our private lives. Somehow the recognition from a like soul and learning they feel the same as me helps to realize that we were twisted up the same way. We suffer the same. Females too. I learn from the woman who have confided in me too. We are the same-we hurt the same. Our suffering is the same!

Why is it then that we are not recognizing sexual trauma in the true reality?

I agree with TIME. There is a new era of soldiers and a new era of veterans coming. They say the influx of new veterans being treated at the VA has doubled since 2004 and that number is to double rapidly. They say over 230,000 females have served in Iraq and Afghanistan-and say that the nations 144 VA medical centers are not prepared for serving that many female patients. They lack the expertise required to attend to many female needs.

I am stuck on the number of 230,000 females and wonder if I was able to configure the math to determine what 32% of that would total to? According to Department of Defense estimates…32% of the females serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would be victims of sexual trauma. I know the numbers are many.

A month ago I had to go to the VA here in our area. There is construction to add 280 more beds and the expansion is huge. I had to drop a sample off at the lab. Currently the lab is in basically the same location as has been for years…in a major corridor of the hospital. The overflow of veterans waiting fill the sitting area of perhaps 25 or 30 chairs and span out into the corridor and lined the walls. It was like entering a rock concert the crowd was so many. Obvious to older vet’s are the younger faces. Many younger faces.

We are at a place right now where changes need to begin for treating MST related PTSD. Because we are a different military and there are newer veterans much different from my era and those before…the needs are different. Because we are hearing more,a little at a time,that military sexual trauma is a fact then there needs to be awareness of how survivors are being treated. Thanks to TIME many will read the few words bout sexual trauma (refered to as sexual  assault)but I ponder how many might also be knowledgable about the truth about MST?

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4 Responses to “Proverbs 30:28”

  1. Jerry Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Jay. I have been sober since 1992. My assault happened 30 years ago and I’m hoping to finally have closure soon with the dept. of veterans affairs. I will continue to fight for victims of sexual abuse and trauma. There is a man named Joe Barry that you can find on line and he talks about panic and anxiety attacks. he says, fill your heart with love, think of people who care about you or who have in the past and it helps to allievate the totureous feelings that many of us experience. I would encourage anyone who has been abused not to drink or use drugs. It makes it worse and allows you to continue to be a victim and not fight back. Regards, Jerry

    • jayherron Says:

      Thank You Jerry for your encouragement to be sober. You are right…and I am weak at times and strong at others. My writing is from my heart as I feel it and remember it and is based on my experiences. I have never meant to suggest to anyone that drinking or drugs are a good thing,mostly want to convey they are a part of the harm. Bless You for your words and I am proud that you shared them!

  2. Jerry Says:

    Jay, it’s just being human. we were never designed to be perfect.

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