…listen to these words from a guest writer!

looking into the face of God by jayfherron
looking into the face of God, a photo by jayfherron on Flickr.

I suggested to Jay a while back that he should consider having some “guest bloggers” share their stories. I think this was when Jay said he was finished, and had no more to say. That was not good news for those of us who follow his blog, and the chronicle of his struggles. Because I know, at least for my husband, it has been immeasurably helpful to know there is someone out there that gets it.

But now it is time to put my offer to the test. And I am realizing just how hard it is to put myself out there. And I am not the MST survivor. I am the wife of a man who was raped violently in the military.

I know the statistics that the divorce rate is astronomical for veterans. I honestly do not think I would still be in my marriage if it were not for my background in mental health counseling. At the very least , I have some tools available to me. Like how to handle it when my guy is disassociating, and does not know who I am, when he screams in the night. Or is hearing men’s voices, or believes someone is in the basement. Or when he attempted suicide. No one has written a manual on how to do this.

Not that I’m a saint , by any stretch of the imagination. I did not sign up for this. I met and married a lovely, kind, gentle man. He was prone to dark, dark moods. He had issues with men in authority. But the good qualities far outweighed the negative. I did not know that this monster issue lay buried within him. He had a cover story, that “something” awful happened in the military. I was not aware of the scope of the trauma, the despair. It took a suicide attempt, and a hospitalization, and lots of added trauma from the VA to even get to the point where he “blurted” out the truth to a psychologist. Then the real fun started. We are now four years into the battle to get this to a point where my husband is functional.

I sound cynical, as I hear the words in my head. I have watched the VA make my husband into a pharmaceutical zombie. I have fought the battles he has not been able to fight. I have been the keeper of information, the chauffeur, the counselor, the babysitter, not often wife. No one tells us wives how to deal with this, how to be in a marriage when the partner does not even feel like a man. I have even been told I now have “secondary PTSD” from living with him. I know there are days I drive him crazy, constantly checking on him. Ah, yes…being hyper vigilant, sleep disturbances, missed work, intrusive thoughts…

But, things are getting better. The symptoms are less disruptive, and I am getting more and more glimpses of the man I married. Or maybe a different version, now that I know the truth of his difficulties. He just got awarded 100% compensation for PTSD. It feels like a little justice, although the fight is not over. That is another story. But, at least some validation from the VA has made my husband feel like he was heard, and wasn’t crazy or making it up. Like anyone would make up what he has been through.

I hope I am not rambling, or not making sense. I do not feel like I can share my husband’s story. It is not mine to tell. I think he will tell his story on this blog someday, as long as I type it for him. For all those who read this wonderful, brave blog that Jay writes, I hope you find peace, justice and love. We are all connected.

Love to you all,

Mel, the wife of a MST survivor

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2 Responses to “…listen to these words from a guest writer!”

  1. Joyce McCloy Says:

    Hi Jay.

    Thank you for speaking out publicly on this issue.

    I never considered that this happened, until seeing posts about rape in the military posted by Rick Tringale on his facebook page.

    He was raped in last 80s at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
    Nothing was done. He tried to commit suicide by jumping out a window, but was stopped. Rick is still tortured by the rape and also by the fact that everyone stood by and cheered while it occurred!

    I thought if somehow the perpetrators were brought to justice, it might help him.

    While doing research, I found the case of James Michael Harding, who also was raped at Fort Leonard, by the drill Sargent, Buzby. Harding reported it but officials swept it under the rug and protected the Sgt, allowing that monster to rape more young people as new recruits came. finally this monster was arrested.

    I still don’t know if Rick will get justice. He is on Facebook, his profile is Rick Tringale.

    I wonder if you know him, and if you know James Harding. Harding has this blog post http://militarypredators.b​logspot.com/2010/04/i-am-n​ew-to-blogging-world-so-pl​ease.html

    And here is a video posted by Harding on youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/84​thEngineers#p/a/u/1/KMaG_rEDef​8

    Best too you, and remember, the stain is on the rapists soul, not yours.

    • jayherron Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I had met one of the men you spoke about, JM Harding, and became troubled by his own criminal record.

      I do not know about the other veteran you mentioned but knowing that more and more MST survivors are opening up about the criminal attacks and criminal silence is powerful. We have a huge obligation to our veterans, and the silent wounded such as the MST vet deserves equal attention, and justice.

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