Forty-seven years ago-yesterday, February 22 1970, I was awakened with five other men housed in detention barracks D…USN station, James River VA. We were roused up at 0430-unexpected-and were told to get ready. We were being discharged.

All of this was a surprise. Up until this moment we were expecting some sort of sentence to prison; I was told five years for my ‘case’. There was no-case.

I do not know all of the story! Oh yes….it happened to me-but there are missing pieces, many-many missing pieces. For my part-I was trying to go home to DC to wish my grandmother ‘merry crixmix’ then Christmas now crixmix and my poorly planned idea landed me in the detention barracks….AWOL due to the big blizzard of December 1969.  Every detail is written among the pages of my blog….except those missing pieces….so to expedite to reach what I really want to say this morning, 47 years ago I was discharged-freed from the two months of sexual torment endured by me in detention barracks D.

Why? Why am I writing this?

Every man and woman with a history of sexual abuse-has a story. All of us can tell about what led up to the incidents-and what life has been since the terrible time. It is complicated; some of us told, some of us hid in fear-shame-stigma of some origin in disregard for how serious the victims of sexual trauma have been injured.

Military Sexual Trauma-MST-is a further depth in injury. What happened to any victim in the military is no different than the effects of an assault is to a civilian. It is a crime-and it destroys. It is not-pleasure to the victim.  What adds to the injury of the sexually assaulted serving in the military is multiplied by the fraternity of military platoons, or company of men and woman all assigned to one group of specialized teams; privacy in keeping an assault confidential-is missing! The ‘fraternal’ history of such platoons of persons is deemed in jeopardy to be tainted; the chain of command would be involved; the treat of ruining one criminals career in military service; all among many threats to the victim / survivor. Justice is often avoided, and non-existent.

Enlisting in the military was my impression of serving my country; my era of the 1960’s was exploding with civil rights marches in the south; violent scenes. Also-equally in focus those days was the War in Viet Nam. It was easily understood that young men 18 and older were to serve in the military after graduation from high school. It was the natural thing to do!  I was proud to enlist, most all of us are. I never expected what would happen only few months from boot camp.

Today-I have friends from over the years; friends who served in Viet Nam. I am forced by shame, and embarrassment, and guilt…the guilt that I do not deserve, and yet it eats at my soul-to keep quiet about my service. I was injured in the most humiliating degradation one person-or more-can inflict on another, but-not in combat. I enlisted intending to serve.

Each one of us-survivors of sexual trauma; molestation-rape; each of us has our individual story to tell; not one is pleasant nor easy to tell about. I lived for 35 years after the date before I was angry enough to finally speak out; I know-as a man-there are many of us as silent, yet-I have a female friend who described her own story of being raped-and she kept silence out of fear longer than I, her era prohibited any such notion to be talked about.

The crime itself is disgusting enough; but-the unfairness to the victims, and injustice of so many cases, so many cases never heard because of silence from fear, so many cases silent because of a victim not even knowing the trauma is a crime. Murder is almost polite in a sense-there are answers, the crime is considered so serious….efforts are made to capture a criminal, a funeral answers everything to the  bereaved-at least of everything, they know what happened!  For those of us who understand-the disservice our rapists left us with is a troubled mind, my attackers would have solved so much more-if they had killed me. My family-to this day, my children and grandchildren, live around me in my post traumatic world….only-the do not understand what it is that makes me be the way I often am; sullen…anti social…no interest in public crowded places….alcohol and drugs of every imagination, all of these things have been or still are; thankfully-I no longer feel like being drunk, and-I managed to end hard drug use 20 years or more, back then. Never the less….sullen and fear of my phobic ways in public places still exist.

And-there is no equal justice.

Peace

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “”

  1. mojavemike Says:

    Intense post-Do you have any advice on how to deal with the fear of people? Developing social skills? The thoughts that won’t go away? I’ve been through lots of MST therapy at the VA and am doing better, but life has to get better than this. Any input for staying the course in recovery.

  2. jayherron Says:

    My response Mojave Mike is that my life went on after the rapes for 35 years before anyone ever offered me therapy; I was raped and no one offered help then-1970.
    I learned long haul trucking age 25; that line of work sustained me when I did work; the cycle of jobs in my life would answer-there is a problem, but trucking did ‘work’ because I was primarily-alone.
    Public? people? social skills?
    If I was to go to a big box type store….I will park as far out in the parking lot in order to ‘hypnotize’ myself to be able to enter the store.
    I actually repossess myself as a ‘bad ass’ and you and anyone else better not mess with me; I have been told-I’m effective, but inside I’m shitting bricks from fear.
    Just this week my sheriff deputy son took me and two of my grandsons for a haircut; I could not stay in the barbershop.
    Sound familiar?
    Last Fall I went to Honda dealer for an oil change and a recall order; the following morning-I woke to find a brand new 2017 auto…I bought it.
    My son told the dealership of my PTSD and my 3′ tall case file.
    It was hell facing those people when we returned the car.

    My response Mojave Mike is “I don’t know”…..sometimes I do alright.
    Sometimes it is utter chaos in my body-and spirit.
    I hate it.
    The conflict that I call my life runs smooth a few days and turns the corner into turmoil.

    This is not encouraging to you-but also-when after the 35 years of silence my “therapy” at the VA was a trick to determine week after week for 3 years-the truth.
    My truth. Was needing verified. The trial WE go through….as civilian VA clients is trauma of its very own.
    In my ‘disability claim’ decision I requested the VA judge release me from ever in my living life….never again to enter a VA.
    I pay my own way if I need a doctoring.

    It is in you!
    I want to say something happier and more pleasing but I would be lying – and that won’t do.
    It is in you!!
    One closing piece of advice-never give up!
    Remember-others did this to you and I and we are in our own control now.
    My method for fighting depression and stress is working out; no medication…I do use cannabis.
    Never give up! We have been done badly, but someone else out in the world has had it worse. Knowing that motivates me one day at a time.
    Write anytime; I promise that I care.

    Peace

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