Posts Tagged ‘assistance from Veterans Administration for Military Se’

MST survivors-front and center

April 25, 2010

American flags
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


May 10-11,2010 may not be the exact venue to stand up for MST survivors! That will not matter-what will matter is-there will be a voice! I will be there in Washington DC to stand up for all survivors!

If I can carry your message to Congress:

MST /9950 NE 132 Terrace/Williston FL 32696



Even if a lone banner stood out-a garden begins with one seed!

I know I am not alone-and I know there are many,who like me,thought that they were the only one. I still can’t imagine it at all to where it could make any sense. I lived for 35 years before any attention came to the fact that I was raped while in the US Military. I had reported the rape the day it happened-but because my attack happened in a detention barracks it was shrugged off. I kept it to myself since.

Detention barracks? Yes…I was trying to get home for a holiday and was caught in a snow storm. I was unable to get back to ship for roll call,my bus was stuck at a terminal. That was my crime!

My post traumatic disorder of a life came to the care of a therapist at the VA hospital in nearby Gainesville,Florida. During that care I was told that I should find a sense of validation and appeal for disability benefits.

I reported my case to a Veterans Service Officer ( VSO ) in my home county (as is the way the process is to run in order) explaining to a man I had never seen before in my life-someone who is to be trusted as my advocate-how it was that I was raped and repeatedly abused for nearly two months.

The VSO nodded his head in disbelief-his comment after hearing my story was: “Gee…you’d never think homosexuals have a need to rape each other”! and he seemed to think this was something that only black men do – to rape young whites in a detention center. My attackers were white men.

I am angry at the ignorance of this man-his comments made the crime of rape sound like a sexual encounter…one I must have enjoyed-although it did not seem so at the time. Rape is not a sexual encounter. Rape is not anything of any kind of pleasure. Explain where getting socked with closed fists is pleasure-or having someone wrestle your legs with force…pleasure?

This kind of ignorance is everywhere-the way the appeal procedure is organized for the veteran to appeal for disability benefits. The veteran must apply for his or her claim in most cases an office staffed by those experienced in combat related or natural related injury. In most cases-there is no training regarding the sensitive issue of rape…no one wants to accept that it happened anyway!

The appeal process is carried to the Veterans Administration by the VFW or AMVets…again,someone who has no experience dealing with the sensitive issues of rape! The veteran is required to be sponsored by one of these organizations…perhaps the greatest for legitimate veterans-but those like me do not share that same honor. I’ve never felt right about any of my military service since the rapes-my life completely changed forever. I had begun my Navy life with the desire for a career-those dreams were shattered.

I am going to Washington DC! Whatever it is I have to do to draw attention to the poster I will carry-I will do. My poster will be the banner…


The lobbying events scheduled for May 10-11 are centered around ‘Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell’…I am going there despite that our issue is not company with that-I AM going because our issue is one of grave consequences on the effects of the suffering of an MST veteran.

We NEED to raise awareness…I will attend these two days in Washington DC to stand up for MST survivors!

If you have a message to Congress regarding MST and the Veterans Administration’s treatment of MST veterans-the disability claim process…a statement about MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA that you want hand delivered-send it to me and I WILL deliver!


catching up…

June 13, 2009


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The past two months have been blank…then I return home to what should have been a time of relaxation did not work out as such-I became fatigued on my return flight from Hawaii. That wore me down where I got sick-and stayed sick and tired for a number of weeks.
Then the computer died-or,perhaps,caught that I was tired and it bogged up. That meant a call to the Dell Indian who vacuumed the thing bone dry removing with it my photographs and certain bookmarks and my will to want to!

I have not lost the motivation to write. I have come to a point where writing my story has got to come to an end somewhere-I said this before…this is not really meant to be about me-although what happened to me is important for others to understand. In basics-the reader just needs to read back and the whole story is there. Also ,what I am saying here seems to have had influence on others-so I don’t want to end it-writing! I would like to transform into hopefully helping other veterans-survivors of MST to approach the long battle to get what is rightfully belongs to them…admission-acknowledgment from the military that you were indeed victimized on their watch.

It would be better to see the attackers convicted. I know that is asking for a little much-but I do feel emotions from having papers saying that MST did occur and that I had no blame in what took place. No blame being because I was in a detention barracks and that I had done nothing to warrant being there.

I’m not an educated person so I don’t have all these powers of a degree and fellowships to give me a boost in becoming an advocate for others. Actually-I’m thankful in some ways that I’m not a degree scholar. I happen to see a hole in the way certain classes of veterans are treated-and perhaps a gap in how a survivor sees themselves as a veteran. I see this from the perspective of a survivor-being a male survivor myself.

What I do see are men in position as advocates-sanctioned by the individual states Veterans Affairs department…uneducated men particularly where the crime of rape and sexual assault is considered.

What I will continue to advocate for is a change in how MST survivors appeal for medical and financial benefits. I will keep shouting the best way I can to hopefully be heard on behalf of change…military sexual trauma -MST (any sexual trauma) is horrific to live with. Sexual attacks change the victim so deeply-fear consumes the survivor.

To send an MST survivor through a process of appealing for compensation where they are required to seek the confidence of a veterans advocate who may not ever understand the details of a rape-is wrong.

The way the system is set up every veteran who has been injured in military service must file the beginning papers for a benefit claim with a Veterans Affairs (BVA) officer in the home county of the veteran. Every veteran! This includes a claim for MST.

For those that do come forward-the veteran who responds to the question of unwanted sexual contact,they most likely would be doing so at a veterans hospital. They rountinely ask the question during a scheduled physical-yet the veteran might find other channels to find a confidential ear.

When the question is answered ‘yes’ there should be an automatic open avenue for the MST survivor to go through. A medical professional should be in place instead of a BVA representative-the MST survivor should be treated with sensitive attention to his or her injury and case.

I was sent to my local BVA representative and he was challenged to confusion as why homosexuals would need to rape each other-he was certain my attackers were blacks…he was nearly dumbfounded when I told him they were not. There were later comments that sounded more like jokes about me. I am angry that someone who suffers from the shame of sexual trauma is subjected to that kind of rudeness and ignorance-and bigotry.

I want to see it different for others. I hope some way comes to lighten up the path to show what trauma this is-and to inspire a change in how MST survivors find healing and hope through a gentler system.


jumping the gun!

November 7, 2008

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Yesterday I wrote about ‘patience’….it seems I could have exercised more. If I could have waited one more day.

I actually find myself with out the words. I am in awe of the news that came yesterday at noon. I awoke this morning feeling different for once, so much can change in a moment.

The news that came told me that I am an injured veteran,injured during active duty-and that the Veterans Administration agrees that I was wronged 38 years ago…they agree with the facts and admit that I was raped in barrack D.

There is so much missing. The years…and my father. I will never have them the way I would have liked.

The energy in me is depleted. Yesterdays news had me on an high that had me completely exhausted by the time I fell in to bed. I woke this morning trying to think of what happened, and then I remembered the envelope that came from the Veterans Administration in Washington DC. The envelope contained the decision that had been hoped for since a year ago today. I have been given the truth in a just way.

It hasn’t sunk in all the way. I still feel the high that I felt yesterday as the news grew on me. I had to read the papers several times over to fully comprehend. The most important part-I feel like a legitimate veteran now…it has been officially agreed  that I am.

What this means is now we can go into a new direction. The decision by the VA Judge opens the door for others. We all have been given something by the letter in my mail. By ‘all’…I mean every survivor of MST (military sexual trauma).

This is good news for each of the silent wounded-that we can hold the military accountable for this violation of a persons rights and body.

I wrote yesterday about patience. Patience is easy to practice when it is waiting for something that you have never had. Patience is more valid when you use it to wait and trust in something for a long long time-when you believe in yourself, and you know the truth-and know the truth is always,and cannot change,then you will be rewarded by faith in the end.

I’ve always known the truth about my life. I’ve always known the truth about what happened. I did not know that the truth would prevail 38 years later-I just knew it was so. I’ve woken up everyday with the memory of barrack D for 38 years with shame and guilt in my soul. This morning I feel different-almost as if I’m somebody else.

I am unable to find words as this moment has me so emotional just thinking of what has happened. It is so long over due, why that had to be I am not sure….why any of it had to be, I have no answer.


complete with typo…

October 1, 2008

from CongressI recieved this letter and was immediatly thrilled that -at last-we may have a voice where it will count.
Unfortunantly-Wall Street is more important at the moment.

I write this brief entry to encourage the many ‘silent wounded’ of military service,those who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma-and have found themselves afraid to come forward for your your civil rights…the rights you enlisted in the military to protect.
There on this letter is a telephone number and a name to contact-raise your voices!

I want to encourage each one of you-speak up…shout! You have found yourself wronged by the service you thought was in place to protect-instead you were harmed in a way that is unacceptable,and returned to learn that you are meant to be silent…you should not be!

To be a military service man and woman is supposed to a place of honor and duty-not where you are meant to be attacked by your own (or anybody) and subjected to an assault of great proportions and consequences to your body and mental health,and your future.

You deserve to be heard…shout!
Telephone the Congresswoman and tell your story!
Military Sexual Trauma is an injury-although in all definitions,not a legitimate injury,but never the less-you have been injured,and you have rights-although they are being restricted to you because of the nature of the way you received them. Why should one continue to be punished-especially by the country you volunteered to serve?

Originally uploaded by jayfherron