Archive for February, 2011

river and stuff

February 26, 2011

river and stuff 034

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

These things are hard to understand.

The only way I can figure it is that over the past few years my mind was deeply concentrated on the final outcome of my disability claim against the VA (Veterans Administration). That concentration was apparently strong enough that it began to soften the effects of other aspects of what goes on. Last night as now for many nights,I have lost count,I slept a short while in my bed but the fury of dreams and restlessness due to pain but ended  up sitting the night out wrapped in a blanket and sitting up in a chair.

I believe what had happened was my mind was so deeply involved with getting the disability claim process behind me that the power it had consumed me with softened other sense.

I noticed a strange peace and rest began almost immediately after learning the claim was final. That has subsided. The nights have become worse for me.

My body is in pain. It has been for a number of years,but lately it has seemed more progressive in its manner of keeping me feeling bad all day. I believe that too has taken race for the blank space left behind after the claim was settled.

My dreams lately have taken a shift in size. No,that is not the right way to beginning to describe them,it more reminds me of being in one of those ‘crixmix carol’ stories Charles Dickens wrote,the one where the ghosts take old man mean out to show him what for! I am in these dreams and present as a bystander and witness. They always,always are in a prison scenario of the most hideous bizarre description. I wake from them four or five times,or more,as how can I count? I look at myself in the mirror days and seem to look so tired. I feel tired.

Nothing has changed,and nothing has improved.

Validation is what I was told the awarding of a disability would offer and likely bring.

There is some. I guess really it is the awe of the thing to have lived all these years with it (PTSD) and then to have it be made aware to yourself and to so many that it is what is wrong with me and to share with so many as why. The true validation came from inside, a Spiritual validation that I trusted faith and not a system of men.

Still are the same old things. I drink less,but that is because of my physical pain and I don’t feel like sitting up in a chair all night feeling drunk. The fears are the same. I have made and excuse each day for several why I don’t need to leave the property to go to the grocery store,or even take care of smaller errands. The anxiety is still exactly the same. I still have to prepare myself mentally for certain excursions. I hate finding myself in a place needing to pee. Restrooms are like entering a chamber of horrors for me liken it to being afraid of snakes and every restroom is a den of vipers. Each snake head is really a hand,and all hands are out to grab you.

Let me tell you the truth. I am thrilled to have the VA behind me…not as a back up,but as a past that I no longer am required to respond to. But let me also be honest, Other than being glad the process of the disability claim being over nothing different is in my head to remove the memories of barracks D and what followed.

I wish you peace.

the news regarding the class action

February 16, 2011

American flags

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

more info for filing VA disability claims

February 15, 2011

The above link is for finding PART TWO of the info offered…be sure to read the many comments at the end of this article,those words ARE informative more so than the article is!

And then…there is PART THREE! Please note…I did not write these articles,nor do I believe in the strength of the advice…

Please be cautious when you appeal for disability that you over look that the VSO officer is under-paid and over-worked…they are there to serve you!

Please believe….your disability is far more important to you to have to worry that the VSO officer is under-paid and over-worked!

class action re:MST

February 13, 2011

freeze dress for Florida

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Last May I traveled to Washington DC by thinking there were meetings arranged with several Senators to discuss MST (military sexual trauma)…and there were but the companion in this was a let down and I separated from his company.
Later in the week I was introduced to Susan Burke (a Washington,DC attorney) and I wrote about the visit and was excited about her plans to file a class action lawsuit against the Department of Defense (DoD). This action takes place Tuesday this coming week.

I really have no knowledge of what the wording and the case foundation is about other than that when she explained it to me last May it sounded that the action was to hold the DoD accountable for the way rape cases are handled if they are reported to superiors and how they are followed through from that point. I assume to place the superior in a criminal position for not finding facts and convicting the criminal. Yes,if the superior officer keeps silent about a reported rape…that is a problem.

MST is only titled such because the event of a rape or sexual harassment was directly involving a fellow soldier,or superior officer,on or off the military base or station of duty. Otherwise a rape is just as devastating on the civilian side of this. Sexual trauma is a deviants assault,it happens in homes and in parks and churches and in prisons. There will never be a way to stop the evil heart of a sexual predator,so far as I can know.

It is true! There needs to be some standards changed in the military ranks beginning by making it rule number one that a rape charge should be immediately investigated to fullest extent. The time of telling the victims to hush up and get used to it should be long ended. I don’t think it is. I agree,if the superior that takes the account of the victim and puts it aside to hush it up,yes…that person should be held accountable.

Frankly I am not an authority of any kind to discuss exactly what a class action law suit is. So my words here are based on a layman’s thoughts. I have no room to be critical at all as far as the message the class action will convey towards an eventual change in the future. I am proud to know that someone is shaking the doors at the DoD about military sexual trauma.

The only problem is…the suit is limited to the past 11 years. This would exclude the Gulf war veteran,the Viet Nam war veteran and Korean war veteran and the World War veteran. I am just sad that it is so. I hope that there is something that just don’t understand about this. How many thousand of  veterans have kept silent of thier victimization over 40 or 50 or more years could benefit to be included in the acknowledgement that MST does indeed happen and there is a large number of veterans who have endured a life of silence and shame and guilt and despair that is a part of the post trauma that affects us since the day the crime took  place.

The military is a society just as any,there are all walks of life. There those who came from wealth and those who came from the mountains or the plains or the streets. There are the educated right along with many who finished school with a GED diploma. Smart folks and folks that have never seen a lawn mower. Good guys,and bad guys….leaders and followers,it is a society.  Just as much as we wish to stop crime in  the civilian society,the equivalent is in the ranks as well. There are so many parallels. As we do here in our community when a crime occurs there is an investigation and hopefully a conviction,which is a missing part of what happens in the case of MST. Mostly.

There is a difference too…as who do you tell and can that person be trusted to help. The military is divided by levels of  those you can’t speak out about,who would listen? The fear of ranks and the fraternal divisions and personality. Fear.

There needs to be an accountability.

But it goes deeper than that. A long time deeper,a long time deeper after the uniforms are folded away and civilian life returns and the nights are filled with terror in our dreams and our days are filled with anxiety and stress all  because of PTSD. It would be great if things went different in my case 41 years ago….if people heard me and took my assailants away and protected me and gave me medical care and held someone accountable. But it never happened,and I never will know if it would have helped. But it would have made some difference, it would have to.

What needs to be introduced is a new way to receive the MST veteran on the civilian side to guarantee sensitive care to the MST survivor.

An additional accountability ought to be assigned to how the MST veteran is taken care of on the VA side. The veteran will be a part of the VA system likely much longer than as a soldier and with out a doubt suffer longer than that!

Sexual trauma should never be divided into levels or lifestyles or considered a past event that would be better off forgotten,although I wish I could forget it but woke even this day with the event fresh from my dream.

Yes…the criminal needs convicting and held accountable.

 The MST veteran will be injured for a lifetime longer than a conviction will cover. There needs to be an accountability that covers the survivors life span as much as there needs to be an accountability that ensures swift and true justice.


info from

February 8, 2011

The following link will lead you to the idea of how the military is suggesting a veteran file for disability. I do not think they really are wanting to help. You be the judge!

some suggestions…lay statements!

February 5, 2011

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


I have had more contact with MST (military sexual trauma) veterans through this journal’s span asking how they could prove they had been criminally assaulted when they have no direct witness’s or evidence to prove their claim. You might be wrong.

I want to be sure you understand that the things I write here should be verified independently,I am not a legal advisor…I am just telling you what I have learned along the way of my own experience.

Each of us have an individual experience in our lives,nothing is the same,except many things have similar foundations. I happened to write about what had happened to me in barracks D when I was 19 or 20 years old. The experience was as fresh as it could ever be then.

My neice (the young lady often comments calling herself BJ) had read this manuscript on a visit when she was just a college student at a school in South Florida.

Her mother was my brothers wife…she was with my brother during the trip from the ship to my family home in the DC area. There was once a dispute from the VA saying the detention barracks I was put in,where the rapes happened,never existed. BJ’s mother was able to validate that such a place did exist and that I was there.

These two woman became what is refered to in the disability claim evidence as ‘lay statements’!

BJ visited here five years back and just a coincidence (no I do not think so,more Spiritually arranged is my belief) that the process of filing my claim for ‘ptsd’ disability was just beginning.

BJ was able to appear at the VSO (veterans service officer) office and explain that she had read the book I had written…thus a testimony from a ‘lay witness’ ,or someone who was aware the events happened and thus aware for a long length of my life. Meaning,my discussing my assaults was known to from a long time back,and not something new.

BJ also currently serves in the USAF and has extensive experience reading military records. Reading mine she noted so many errors in typing (this was pre-computer days when I served) that actually made no sense and showed more fault on the military’s behalf that led to my being the truthful one in this case.

Reading every page of your military records (use a yellow highlighter pen) can prove to be interesting and may even serve as proof in your favor.

The one thing I know about truth is it is the easiest to remember. Truth cannot ever backfire,except in some cases like telling a friend they have bad breath or something…sometimes that doesn’t go over very well,but the truth of your life and what has happened is so valuable to protect and defend.

Never sway from the real facts to embellish things to make them sound or look worse.

I was equally worried when the VSO officer wrote something on my initial papers when I first filed for VA disability. I have access to the world news but I hear it on the radio or read it in the newspapers but I do not have cable or any source of commercial television attached to my house. I have lived television FREE for almost 13 years…I even have said so on national television…”I do not watch TV”…and the VSO officer wrote it on his papers that something I saw on television triggered my PTSD and that is why I was appealing for a disability claim.


He said it sounded better!

I did not care….it was not true.

After the visits ended with this man I was introduced to a VSO officer at the VA hospital. He too wrote a statement that was in a degree a portion of what might have happened,but it was not a fact. My therapist telephoned him and asked and he told her it sounded better. It did not sound better to me,and how is one supposed to remember something like that?

The point is that to take sexual trauma and mingle up the facts with enhanced wording to appeal more to a reader somewhere is defamatory to what has happened to the victim/survivor. Our truth,our lives,and our experience of trauma deserves the respect of truth.

I found an attorney.

But…the fact is that one or the other of us have a likely no chance of finding any witness to the actual rapes. So the VA allows ‘lay statements’ as evidence. These can come in the way of letters written by family or friends or maybe an  employer or former teacher. Anyone who can attest to the notable changes in your life before you enlisted and afterwards when you returned. Anyone that can say “my friend was a clean-cut good soul but when they came back you could see something was wrong”….something like that,something not coached…something from the writers own perspective of you. The writer never needs to know if you had been raped,it would be better for an actual statement that the veteran has told this friend or family…but just the same,an honest statement that a person who knows you well knows that there is a dramatic change.

Also,any record from past visits to therapist or social worker…I’d say minister but the one I told about being a rape survivor told me Christ forgave me….forgave me?? for what?? This kind of person would not be my choice to write a lay statement.

The truth is always foremost in this.

I would suggest if it is possible for you to get lay statements to have the writer keep it to two pages and to be certain they understand their own natural thought is what you want them to say.

These statements can be submitted as evidence.

I hope some of this is helpful. Like in my life,there were some people actually able to tell the truth…it is all hard to grasp in my heart that they were able to do so. I am hopeful each survivor can look back and discover there is someone there too!


veterans info

February 3, 2011

veterans parade

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This information may be helpful but I need express that these items are from a layman with zero legal experience (with the exception of being a ‘back-yard barrister’) and STRONGLY advises the reader research for themselves,if anything,to build a stronger understanding of the process of filing a disability claim.

All of this information can be found in general at the VA web-site but I am following it with my own experience.

The stigma of sexual trauma attached to our military service makes this a harder process then it really should be. In my opinion the very moment any Veterans Administration official or medical caretaker l;earns that a sexual assault has occurred in the veterans life then a fine line of assistance should be opened for this veteran. A sensitive fine line! And at the end of this line is a person who understands and respects the injury of PTSD when related directly to Military Sexual Trauma! (MST)

The way the process is arranged in typical claims…folks,believe me, MST  is not in the category of a typical claim,yet the process is the same that the veteran must be sponsored by the VFW or AMvets or the DVA. In this the MST veteran is again subjected to his or her story being shared in a venue that in my knowledge has no business being offered such sensitive information about a victim of a crime.

I know this is so as recent as yesterday when I was speaking to a veteran seeking information like I am offering here…he was mostly worried about the Veterans Service Officer requesting the veteran sign a ‘power of attorney’ to the VFW to actually have control over the veterans claim process,and speaking for the veteran….gawd bless folks,that is giving up your right to speak for yourself!! I just don’t get it how we as a nation as advanced as we are is still stuck in some antique mindset (those who still think sexual trauma can’t be that bad) to be so lax with an individuals privacy!

As I explained to the veteran yesterday who was given the impression that his claim would be filed and responded to immediatly….get ready to wait!

The claim process is grueling and slow.

If you are brave enough to want to go this route my advice is that once you begin the process NEVER QUIT!

Brothers and Sisters,we were hurt in an incredibly miserable lasting way. I had no help offered to me when my rapes happened 40 years ago,the lasting residual of post traumatic stress disorder has been evidence of that…I’m still not a normal person from the events,I doubt that normal will ever be used in describing me! We were not offered any justice post-attack and living with the PTSD has not been easy for any of my family to understand,so the injury is not isolated to just destroy one.

It is a way of fighting back at those we could not defend ourselves against. That is the attitude I ended up taking…a disability had never crossed my mind in my whole life since the attacks,but when it was offered to me my mind took a different position and when the ‘battle’ to prove myself became harder the more I locked onto the fact I was NOT going to quit! It was shrugged off in 1970 and damned sure was not going to be shrugged off this time!

You can file a claim online and in private. You might as well expect an automatic denial….it will will be around two months,then the VA will send the ‘denied’ letter.

At that point the rules state you can seek legal assistance from an attorney for appeal.


Think of it this way,if you succeeded then others can too!

Believe me,the success is not in the monetary part….success is in proving your case and being acknowledged that you were injured and remain so!

Once denied find yourself an attorney that is qualified to handle VA disability claims. I have learned that the hard way,my first attorney was not,and was disqualified after my first phase of the claim was heard by a judge.

I suggest the attorney I was blessed to find! The lead attorney is a believer and has a heart for veterans like us…MST survivors. That is a double bonus to be under the wing of a believer.    Mr.Matt Hill. Trust is hard to come by for MST/ PTSD survivors. I just want to express I have a great respect for Mr.Hill,he fully hears our pain!

The country is wide and the yellow pages are filled with the names of attorneys. If you are like me the mere beginning of looking already presents a cinder-block wall…who do you choose? who can you trust? to me the choices are empty because to tell the history of my life to a stranger has yet to come easy…so,here is a name of an attorney you can believe will have a true sympathy for the trauma experienced by a MST veteran.

I hope some of this help!


I am surprised…and did not know!

February 1, 2011

russian ship

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The week has been filled with response from the comments here and telephone calls several of my veteran friends about my ending posts on this blog.
I was thinking that I was out of things to say,yet found during the conversations there were things I may have missed and could actually help.
I am just Jay Herron! No qualifications here,except as the title of the blog explains,I am a male rape survivor.

I was told it was easy to understand my feelings and that moving on was understood…but this is a part of me like a mid-wife to a child she helped birth,there is always a connecting sense of being a part of that child’s life.
And the veterans who I have come to know.
I almost feel like I am abandoning something bigger than I realized at first.

I am no one! I am just this guy…I hardly finished school before I enlisted at age 17. My education was extensive to the part where I spent 3 years in the 9th grade. Most of those were spent roaming the big buildings of Washington DC.
So,I am not a special person trained in some kind of therapy or understanding of life…I am just this that got pissed off at the system that was offered to me and us as MST (military sexual trauma) survivors and hoped to find a way to change it.
Maybe I am,one person at a time. I am not sure. But,the contacts that happened this past week surprised me! I am over whelmed in my heart for the need coming from so many.

I am going to go away! Two months…and then I am going to find the little boy in me by climbing on a ship like the one in the photo…and ‘run away’!
My ability for online access will be next to zero,so this lap-top will be used to write a book about this fucked up life.

More to say?
It interests me the final stages of my PTSD disability claim are done and never again will my VA file be opened.
I had felt tons of stress during the life of the disability claim after it was filed. It,the memories and bigotry and the lack of being able to understand things clearly had enhanced the depression and the lack of energy,and the dreams. Bad bad dreams! What interests me the most is the stress has changed to a newer kind,the old had gone away and left room for another to form and grow. The dreams are now back to nightmare stage and the nights lately are fighting to sleep and working so hard when asleep that I tried all of the time,and just want to nap. Napping is scary too,because it is easy to fall into depression as my depression inactivity is hidden under the blankets and in the dark. And in pain.
So the mental stress having moved aside and opening the rest of my head for the ‘dreams’…whoa,is this getting old!! Everynight I am up at 0200 to shake the thoughts,then try to go back to sleep…no,the fear and the pain and the magnitude of the dreams makes return more difficult…I am thankful that I can nap. I wonder of others who cannot.

So…this day being no different,I woke at 0200…tried and tried to shake the dream….and then got on the computer (I can watch old westerns on…and I find the new articles from :
And I notice the Department of Defense has put up a new web-site directed at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suggests that it is a guide for veterans (those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan) to learn about why they are suffering….
the site link:

Now allow me to warn you…this thing scared the shit out of me!!
There are NO HUMANS!
It is animated!
The animation is replacing humans….it also triggers that horrible sound heard in the spook movie ‘Psycho’…that shrill violin sound that identifies with PTSD so well. That sound was in my head as I poked around the DoD PTSD site.
I did not watch the web-site for long…it was too much like a nightmare,so I cannot say it is about MST related PTSD,but doubt if there is a spot in this ghostly thing to make much difference.

Really…what cool cat got paid to set this thing up?
Somebody’s nephew,that must be for sure!

Well…I am grateful for the calls and emails,I did not know!