Archive for September, 2012

interesting to read:

September 27, 2012

September 19, 2012

The vet explained to me the choices made as an adult and years after military service had nothing to do with what happened when the violence of the rape changed their life-and hopes for a military career. The circumstances of the rape did not even come close to fitting any of the reasons the VSO officer concluded with, this officer made a judgement on what he saw as unfavorable behavior.

I am intentionally being vague because the details of this were shared with me-and I respect this veteran as I do any persons privacy, so I am trying to build a foundation with cryptic wording-but this conversation did take place!

Correct me if I am wrong…but is not illegal to judge someone based on how they look, or live their life-in private-for someone to discriminate against them when it comes to jobs or housing or for disability support?

I guess I don’t know! I do know that I am confused! It is in line with what I was trying to say the other day about the difference in attitude towards a legitimately injured combat veteran and the one who does come forward with an MST claim! It is demeaning enough just being who we are-the shame we feel-the guilt, that should not belong to us; and then if one day the courage comes to bring the MST veteran forward to request disability consideration-that courage likely will be met with ignorance.

I also know that at Veterans Hospitals (the VA) it has been routine to inquire if the veteran has been sexually harassed or victimized. If that question is answered-and answered YES-then a “red light” should immediately go into effect-and from that point on the MST veteran should be treated in a case-sensitive fashion. The ‘turquoise line’ should begin right then!

It is wrong to expect a gunnery sergeant who spent 30 years as a troop and retired into the job as a VSO officer with the VA to understand what serious damage has been done to a rape survivor.

I looked the job from State to State to get some feel of the requirements to fill this position-in some cases-many of these people are paid by the State-so they are government employees; in many cases there are very few requirements,some with limited education, not even military background! Indeed-I am not saying there is none who have some sense, but in too many instances I hear the same kind of story-this VSO officer had a blank look hearing hearing a truth about MST.

Education is lacking where it comes to teaching the truths about ‘sexual’ trauma. What it does long term-the trauma! and how it closes down parts of the victim/survivors ability to trust and how difficult it is to tell one’s most trusted person-more less to have to explain to a complete stranger, especially when you can sense…this person does not get it at all.

The education obviously has got to begin with teaching that rape is not an act of sexual pleasure and passion-it did not feel good-it was not fun-it still does harm 40 years later…no, I do not remember anything good! I wish I did not remember the fact itself!

September 13, 2012

I was speaking to a veteran yesterday and he was explaining how his conversation had gone with his DVA officer-this conversation was about the veterans claim for post traumatic stress and directly connected with MST. I could not help to remember my first meeting with a public paid DVA officer in my home county. The man had no clue any more than a rock would have about what I was telling him!

I sat across from a former Marine. The office walls behind his desk were crowded with decorations from active military duty and Congressional awards because of his dedication to US Military veterans.

I have no doubt of this mans experience and success in aiding disabled veterans filing claims. He just had limited experience only capable of understanding the needs of a veteran that has legitimate injuries…as for this desk Marine-he lacked understanding!

No-there are no legitimate injuries! But speaking to this particular former Marine he would have never been able to accept the fact that ‘military sexual trauma’ exists in his military! He made jokes, his staff made jokes-there was no seriousness taken in what I had opened up to tell him.

The VA mental health clinic had made the suggestion to report my rapes to the DVA for validation. What happened at the DVA office was unacceptable for any survivor.

So when the veteran was talking yesterday my mind kept drifting into my local DVA office and getting a visual of whom my friend was trying tell his story to in his home area. This has been what I have felt is insensitive treatment to this type of claim and to expect any sexual trauma survivor (we actually just limp along) to go to ‘any ol’ Joe’ to fill in the details of the criminal act of rape!

This is re-traumatising…and this is not right!

Honestly my friend was not complaining but you could sense the reserve in his voice as “what are you going to do”? but it isn’t just him or me alone, it is the countless silent wounded who have  the same concerns-after all, this is not an injury one easily speaks to anyone about-especially if ever trying to report the crime in the first place and being told to “snuff it up” or “not in my battalion”! From the moment of the attack the victims self-esteem is shoved into the dirt…it keeps on being pushed into the dirt from then on! So-who is welcoming going into the office of the local DVA and follow VA procedure on filing PTSD disability claims?

There needs to be a more sensitive solution to ease the burden of filing a claim for post traumatic stress when the filer is a survivor of MST! We shouldn’t have reason to file at all-sexual trauma is not how the enlisted person expects to be injured and no one expected to gain a lifetime of suffering-silently! We stood up to defend our flag and our national security-and we are veterans, but it is not the same sense of being a veteran who can speak proudly of their service-because there is a very black and missing piece that cannot be told! I know this is so because I can never erase that I spent time in the military-and wish that I could erase all of it-but in fact, it comes up in conversations here and there and especially in unexpected moments. I have to leave the blank every time and so often I am so ashamed. And, I am not the one who should be ashamed! I am a veteran from a war-time and I enlisted months before my legal age… I should have a different story to tell. All of us should!

But-what troubles me is when we do want to talk about our military life, and what happened, when will there be someone the veteran can feel confident the person they are telling this history to is quailified to understand the trauma?


vet’s with MST share more

September 7, 2012

I received the following as a comment to a recent post,today-and…the entire comment needs to serve as a post-the reason being the blog Joan mentions “the enemy in the wire” began a few years back and through it has grown many conversations regarding Military Sexual Trauma-MST. When your blog encourages a newspaper article which headlines MST so many eyes are opened to the crime than would ever have been before. What a powerful achievement for every survivor for your being the branch that opened our words to more than just our blogs have done-you know that the eyes that will read this article might not have chosen to search for MST blogs. And this means the eyes of many people-just think of what this means!

You are a blessing!! Joan and Brigid…and, please read on:


I wanted to post this link to your blog:

This is Brigid and I – I know that sometimes in our fight we feel as though we aren’t really getting anywhere. We feel that all of our efforts are for nothing. I particularly wanted to be sure that you see this…becuse you started us on this road – and I am forever grateful!



September 2, 2012

      I want to explain that just because I write this does not mean I am a well-adjusted person who has managed just fine. That would not be true!

Friday I went into our small town hardware to buy a sack of bird seed and thought to buy another small item-picking it up from a section where the price was under ten bucks. The purchase should have been under twenty dollars but the little lady clerk says forty-five? My head said “no way” but my stress made me very nervous and I paid the forty-five.

I went out to the car and sat there looking at the receipt and the store is right there in front of me and the entrance is in view and it was very obvious the item I purchased had to be in the wrong spot because it turned out to be quite more expensive…my mistake! Any one would understand-I know that. And I sat there in front of the store afraid to go back and correct my mistake. I cannot get it! I do not have that ability-and I know why…I have known why! This is not some tiny unusual moment, it has happened many times over the years! The real stupid part is that deep in my mind I know an exchange or a refund would have been as simple as pie-but I freak out at the thought of confrontation! In the back seat of my car is another item-I purchased it weeks ago, it was the wrong item still packaged…it sits next to another brand new item.

I am trying to explain this to give an example of myself and the way stress and fear afflict me. It is hard for me to comprehend that I am a grown man and still afraid of an encounter with the young cashier!

I even looked at the receipt again when I was parked a mile away in the Winn-Dixie parking lot-this to assure in my mind that I was correct and did pay for the wrong item. My solution to the problem was to discard the receipt and get further away from the situation, grin and bear it-so to speak.

It gets worse-now I am feeling a sensation inside of my body which is nothing that I can describe easily except to say that my nerves are on such an edge that I am not walking steady and am fearful of entering the Winn-Dixie, all of this pricked by the trigger of buying a wrong item!

I try to explain these things to others, to friends as to why I can’t join them in certain activities, or my psychiatrist-and get some understanding “uh ha” but I know they don’t understand! The psychiatrist has some too easy to be true remedy for it to adhere as an answer, and many just laugh because they think I’m just kidding around or being silly. I try to explain why it is not as easy as it comes to others-but it is not an easy thing to explain.

What is more interesting about this is if it was you I could defend you without hesitation! I am always amazed at that pitch in the fact that I quiver in my knees at trying to return a simple nothing, but if you were to say you bought an amazing big thing and decided it was wrong for you and needed it returned…give it to me!??

I hate public buildings! Specifically any large building where there is a crowd of people-even a church, they all freak me out. It is actually one of the main reasons I refuse to enter a VA hospital-clinic. The noise freaks me out!

It has been several years ago a circumstance which fits this description occurred. The road I have lived on the end of  (now 37 years) a long time had finally come up for discussion on paving it-this was then considered the worse road in the county-a dirt road that was heavily traveled. A lot of families lived on the end of this road and we all had dreams of having it paved! As anything of this magnitude there was going to be hurdles-a battle, I guess you would say!

I began the fight! And the reason was how this road paving proposal was completely unfair to many families and was only left for a few of us to determine if the road would ever be paved!

I defended them!

It was unbelievable-the meeting at the county was over run with people. The crowd was so large that the county had to get permission from a judge to use a courtroom. The place was huge-and it too had standing room only. My nerves are racing three hundred miles a minute-I took a place in the rear of the room. I really do not know what I said! I know I went up and spoke to the county commission and remember seeing them, but it was all a blank to me. I turned and walked to the rear of the building to the exit and the Sheriff of the county took my hand was happily shaking it…”what just happened?” I ask him. He replies “you won, you won-they are going to pave that rotten road!”

It is now paved-all two miles of it! I get credit for it all the time-so many people are happy! But it always blows my mind as why is the mind I have so broken that I can’t do a simple transaction for myself with out getting flustered up, and yet-I can stand up and do the exact same thing for somebody else?

I am glad that I can, please don’t misunderstand…but I wish at times that I could…do you know what I mean?