in a few more days…

068 by jayfherron
068, a photo by jayfherron on Flickr.

In a few more days it will be 43 years since the date of my HONORABLE DISCHARGE from the U.S.Navy.

It still to this day seems so surreal. It STILL to this day seems as if it were just the other day!
Everything from that period of my life seems as if time stood still-to torment.

The years have not changed what occured in my life, it still lives.
All of a sudden-here it is-my age will soon step on to another year; this year my 62nd birthday comes, in truth- I am still stuck at age 18!
But it is fact-age 18 is no longer in my appearance!

I have nothing exactly on a point here-to say! I do know the past year has shown obvious signs of my lacking to say anything…that is, here!
My final status of VA disability is-100% finished-and they signed off on me…I have no more connection with the VA hospitals, thank goodness that fear is over.
As a survivor, that will never be over, but you can be assured…my advocacy for veterans that know personally what MST has done to them-will never quit.

I do not have energy. Something is still stuck out on the sea’s with the travel I took over a year ago. My body and spirit are tired from sitting and stareing…now I know why the sea calls to men. I want to be there-forever!

I have NOT quit!
I am soon to participate in a ‘survivers art’ exhibit…and I intend to speak , though briefly-but to the point, of how sexual trauma destroys our lives!
I must admit, I am speaking also to raise awareness of ‘men’ being victims too, correction…males.
I do intend to do this!

I also am waiting acceptance into the advisory council I once sat on a few years ago…rape and sexual assualt-and there my advocacy and voice for veterans will continue.

I am wishing everyone PEACE!
Thank You

15 Responses to “in a few more days…”

  1. Di Says:

    Excellent! Go get ’em! šŸ™‚

  2. kilimalesurvivor Says:

    Once apron a time I thought It only happened to me……Thank you for putting your story out there. I’m a male survivor of rape in the military and was abused as a child. I’m proud that we can both share our experiences,

    Here is my story.

    I was violently gang raped 29 years ago while on active duty.

    During the 70’s and 80’s South Africa had compulsory military training (conscription) for all white males, if you refused you would go to jail for between 10 and 15 years. At the age of 18yrs I was sent to the Air Force for two years and was trained as a radar operator, as I was based close to home and was doing work as an assistant air traffic controller, it was tolerable. I know you should not talk poltics on this forum, but in this case I need to explain the situation in our country. Everybody knew I belonged to a very small liberal polical party, most white South Africans supported the government with their policy of apartheid. I got used to been ridiculed, on a number of occasions the officers would call everybody for a talk and they would say ” watch out, anybody could be a spy… even ……then they would mention me by my rank and name”.

    It was in my nature to take up leadership roles (now I know why, for my safety I had to have control). I became the spokesman for the conscripts, I discovered fraud taking place on our base, the head of the kitchen was selling our rations, when this was pointed out he was transferred from the base and that week I was “selected ” to go on active duty on to the South West Africa/ ( the name of the country when our government occupied it. – now called Nambia) / Angola border, everybody thought we were fighting the communist onslaught, I knew better they were trying to keep the status quo – apartheid.

    Active duty was stressful anybody in the military will know, people get killed while on active duty. South Africa was at war, as conscripts we were in forced into this war, if we believed in it or not. The stresses got to me one night and I got drunk in the bar, I stumbled back to my quarters on the other side of the runway, as I passed the mess (canteen) I was grabbed by some guys (not from the airforce, the base also housed the special forces, army and medics) pulled into a room and was violently raped by three males, I was drunk and they were bigger and stronger than me, I tried to fight then off but I was overpowered. It was violent, today I can still remember the smell of their sweat, I was too drunk to remember their faces.

    That was the last time I have been drunk. I was abused at the age of 13 when I got drunk on a sports tour and was groomed by another teacher, then abused at 17. My trust for males disappeared, so did my tolerance for people who were tipsy or drunk. I felt uncomfortable in an all male environment.

    When it was over I was in shock and dumped like a dead animal. I got back to my quarters and showered for hours, the bleeding finally stopped. I felt as if I was no longer a man, I was damaged goods. I was in pain for weeks. The next day I pretended nothing had happened.

    I was raised in a very sexist household, men are tough, cowboys do not cry, feelings are for girls, etc. Looking back I was always told to respect authority, that is why I could be groomed by a teacher.

    The next 6 weeks I felt so lonely, nobody to talk to. I had a loving family at home and a girlfriend, my childhood sweetheart that I was madly in love with (now my wife) waiting for my return – that is what got me thru the nightmare. Everybody knew I was against apartheid and they all thought I was a “commie “. I have always wondered was the rape random or was it because I was perceived to be so liberal. I never hid by liberal political thinking.

    I needed stitches in my head, but I said it was an accident. I could not let them know my other injuries, fortunately they healed. I could not report the incident, I would have been court marshaled for trying to put the military in disrepute or sent to DB (detention barracks) as a deviant – I would not be believed – no member of the military would do such a thing (the only law was military law) remember this was still in a country where you could be detained for 6 months, if you were perceived to be a threat to the state.

    I had flashbacks for years from both the rape and what I witnessed while on active duty. The flashbacks were incomplete, blurred, as I had blocked the rape out of my mind, I knew what happened but was in denial. I used to wake up paralyzed, my eyes were open and I could see everything in the room, I could not move, my wife would hear me mumble for help, she would wake me up. I still did not join the dots. I did some internet research, it could have been anything from evil spirits trying to take over my soul, to brain tumours (sometimes the net is full of bullshit).

    I kept my mind busy, ensuring it was in overdrive, I lived for work, became a serial entrepreneur and workaholic, got involved in organizations, took on leadership roles, did everything to ensure my mind was active. Gave my family all the material things, but little time. I was emotionless, no highs, no lows. You can’t spend your life on a roller caster, something will eventually give. I never drank or did drugs I had to be in control to protect myself. Only if people knew I was a time bomb waiting to explode.

    At 39 everything came to ahead, I spent 18 months in therapy, was fortunate I could afford one and hit the luck the first time, she was the leading expert in this field. The anti depressants worked while I started to put the puzzle together. It started like a had a 1000 piece puzzle, but did not have the picture, so I did not know the outcome, the edges were not there and pieces were missing. I thought it would be an impossible task, but finally I got a few pieces together, then it got easier as I went along. I became a survivor.

    My wife stuck with me. I told my wife and later my daughters when they were 18 about being sexually abused as a child and they know I was raped.

    That was 10 years ago, today I’m a thriver.

    FAST FORWARD

    I have now told all my loved ones and friends about my abuse and rape.

    I have set up a non profit company/foundation “South African Male Survivors Of Sexual Abuse” and a webpage has been launched. http://www.samsosa.org . A webpage to help those male survivors with resources especially for those who will never get access to therapists or who choose never to tell anybody.

    I have climbed and summited Kilimanjaro for male survivors and have written a blog on the analogy of conquering Africa’s highest point and the worlds tallested stand alone mountain; compared to my journey of recovery. http://www.kilimalesurvivor.wordpress.com

    I have completed a counselor course in December 2012.

    I will be bringing Mike Lew from the USA, author of “Victims no Longer” to South Africa to do training of therapists, social workers, to be the key note speaker of South Africa’s first conference on Male Sexual Abuse and Rape, and run a weekend of recovery and healing for males.

    Next week I have been invited to speak to 300 medical students on male rape and the impact it has on their lives.

    Rees from Johannesburg South Africa
    My Story and Blog http://www.kilimalesurvivor.wordpress.com

    South African MALE SURVIVORS of Sexual Abuse
    http://www.samsosa.org

    If your mind can perceive it and your heart can believe it, YOU can achieve it.

    • jayherron Says:

      I would love to share this / your words / as a post on this same place for MST survivors!
      Your work is inspiring!…may I? post?
      Thank you so much for sharing with us here, may I please post it?
      Sincerely your work is tremendous-thank you!
      Peace

      • kilimalesurvivor Says:

        Many thanks for your kind words. The link for my story can be found at http://kilimalesurvivor.wordpress.com/reess-story/. Please give the link as the story goes hand in hand with my analogy of conquering Africa’s highest point with my journey to recovery.

      • jayherron Says:

        We all thank you! My ability to do the link at this moment is not available-but ASAP this afternoon on arrival home-to desk-to link!! Very excited to look-thank you! Peace

        On Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 7:05 AM, a males life after rape

      • kilimalesurvivor Says:

        I do not think it is appropriate you use another survivors blog to post your own story. My sincere apologies if this is not the right forum. I thought I would update you on my first public disclosure to medical students.

        Friday morning I woke up and my tshirt was wet and I had to run to the toilet as I had the “runs”. I have had this before from flashbacks, anxiety etc. this time is was different it was excitement and fear, all at the same time. Today was the litmus test, to see if I am a thriver.

        I got to the venue 45 minutes early, still not too sure what I was going to say, as I said before I have spoken in public many times, but NEVER about my abuse or rape.

        The lecture hall was full all 300 students were there waiting at 8am. Luke(my mentor) spoke first about the law and the medical technical stuff. I followed giving all this academic jargon a human/real human touch

        I started “My name is Rees, I’m a survivor of sexual abuse and gang rape, I’m here to put into context what you have just heard” the room went silent, you could hear a pin drop. I followed and went on and told them my whole body was tingling, a could feel sweat running down my back and my hairs were standing up on the back of my head – the long term effects of my abuse will be with me forever. The room was dead silent – I could feel the empathy oozing from there stark faces. I had to do something quickly as I think I had traumatized them all. Humor that always worked, I then gave clarity of a question Luke had answered, Luke spoke about an attachment theory by some or another psycholigist, the student asked in a same sex partnership should there be a mother and father role when bringing up kids, the answer given was that in all couples it should be a partnership rather that specific roles. (The question related to grooming) I’m deviating off the point. So to break the ice I said “asking who the woman is in a same sex partnership, is like asking a Chinese person which one of the chop sticks is the fork”. They laughed, the ice was broken and from then on it went brilliantly, by relating the theory to my experiences. I had told them my entire story, more than I thought I would have. They asked brilliant questions about what doctors should do, I used some information from an Australian site, I’m posting it here so others can benefit. http://www.secasa.com.au

        After all the questions, a male student that look like a rugby player said “all I can say” he then stood up and clap loudly, the other third year students stood up together and clapped until I had tears form in my eyes. I thought when I summited Kilimanjaro I was a thriver,I was wrong. Friday 22 March 2013 is the day I can now declare that ” I’M A THRIVER”

        Looking at the math, 300 students, 50% male 50% female means that there were about 25 male and 37 female survivors in the room. If each one of these 300 future doctors now know how to help male survivors better and each help 50 survivors in their career, it made bearing my soul worth while, 15000 men and woman victims would benefit in the years ahead.

        All the work that we have been doing behind the scenes for “South African Male Survivors Of Sexual Abuse” http://www.samsosa.org is now paying off.

        After Easter the next project will be organizing Mike Lew’s visit.

        The only way to eat an elephant is bite my bite

      • jayherron Says:

        I respect your thoughts and respect your feelings-and respectfully will look forward to any comment you make here!
        I feel we are seeds in a garden-planted-and soon our sprouts will spread!
        Peace

      • kilimalesurvivor Says:

        Jay

        Can I please post a link to your blog on my kilimalesurvivor blog, as well as SAMSOSA webpage. If you are in agreement, please let me know on what page you would want them to land.

        I am going to read a lot of your blog this long weekend, I have read some of the archives, however, as I have had a similar experience ie. I was also raped in the military, it does trigger me.

        Thanks for speaking out. Wy back in 2006, this was a taboo subject, even in the USA.

        My email address is rees@samsosa.org

        Rees

      • jayherron Says:

        yes you may…in essence-that was my earlier request! peace

        On Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 8:44 AM, a males life after rape

  3. S Says:

    Hi Jay,
    Re; news
    Did you watch the Senate subcommittee hearings on MSA?
    Also, it appears there is a movie on male survivors soon to debut. The survivors in the hearings were great. The movie, I’m not so sure; it seems it may be another “the remedy for such assaults is to be found by being under the thumb of a shrink”. Here are some links; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIAUvPXRuLY

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/justice-denied-movie

    http://www.c-span.org/Events/Senate-Armed-Services-Subcmte-Holds-Hearing-on-Military-Sexual-Assault/10737438756-1/

    My case was dismissed. I am appealing it .
    Regards,
    S

  4. Myst Says:

    Kudos for your good works and blogs. You continue to be an inspiration to many of us MST survivors. It’s been a while since you posted, I hope you are doing okay. Sending you good thoughts and positive energies. So glad you got your 100%, but it’s never enough to make up for what they did, and the re-victimization that comes after.
    To the other commenter here, I wish you the best as well. This is a hard journey to bear, but you are not alone.
    Best to all-
    Myst

    • jayherron Says:

      S…a television is something found in a Sears store-but not in my house, so I missed yet another Senate hearing!
      I am sorry.
      I am also sorry to hear your case was dismissed!
      My feelings are-never stop!
      Peace

      • rivak03@netscape.net Says:

        Hi Jay, I watched the hearing on the internet at the library. I haven’t watched all the afternoon session yet, but what I saw from the brass hats was mostly they intend to bury the issue while pretending to address it.

        Regards,

        Steve

        S

    • jayherron Says:

      Myst
      I am never away from our shared malady of ptsd and rise sometimes and sink others; it is an always!
      I am never away from the fight for the invisable-silent wounded.
      My blog? needs volunteer contributors so that the story of others can reach to a wider group-your voices can be heard-all voices should be heard!
      PEACE

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