Posts Tagged ‘civil rights for MST survivors’

this should interest MST survivors

December 26, 2010

This article and the video is very interesting…especially considering the source of who is reporting it!

this I will believe in…

April 29, 2010

American flags
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


The telephone call I received the other night said I am scheduled to meet two Senators on Tuesday May 11,2010.

I will believe it when it actually happens-I am as sceptic as anyone else and all ready to face reality…but,I want to believe-finally…for once,that our elected officials really care!

My caller-also an MST survivor-has been working hard to enact legislation to protect ROTC recruits and help earn rights for the students to be covered with VA care. My caller was raped by his drill instructor in the Army-the drill instructor went on to become an ROTC instructor who raped a young male ROTC student in Florida,and is now serving a 12 year prison sentence. My caller has records to identify  more victims-he hopes to have Federal charges brought against his assailant.

The work this young man has done led him to me! Our conversations have been emotional almost every time we speak. He is the age of my own sons-yet we have a separate kind of relationship than I would with a young man that age-somehow,being a rape survivor does something to ones self-esteem,and we mark a different kind of personality!

My young friend has persevered in his work to find justice-and help for the many unknown ROTC students that have been traumatized by superiors. His work has paid off…we have appointments with two Senators (Specter and Lieberman) face to face!

I can toss my sign idea…there are also some other plans in the works! One being that we are going to request to speak to the committee on Armed Forces. Another that we use our spot on the agenda to walk the halls of the Senate offices to visit each office and lobby for MST VETERANS RIGHTS!

Do you know what is missing? You are!

If you are reading this-you have come here from some reason! I hope the reason is for hope-for healing-for strength from another survivor. It might be that you have something you want to say-you DO have something to say!! And like I have been all of my life since my attacks-afraid to speak out!

Allow me to present your words-your pain and your tribulations as an MST survivor to these Sentors…write me-and let me hand carry your statements to those who should and must hear us. Tell them in your own words your pain and the difficulties you have-especially explain the  truth about your lives as the SILENT WOUNDED!

My name is Jay Herron…I am a MALE survivor of ‘military sexual trauma am a male rape survivor! I know the pain-and the losses in life after-and the mental health pain resulting in drugs and alcohol and the physical pain of anxiety and loss of self-esteem. I know what it is like living in a stigmatized world that has no understanding…still thinking sexual trauma is something not so bad-after all…it was sexual?? I know what I have lost-and I know you are suffering too!

Help me-!! Allow me to carry your message to these men-let us try to trust…the most precious thing stolen from us the day we were raped! Let us try to mend it-trust…let us try to trust!

My name is Jay Herron and I AM a survivor!  Write me a letter to carry to these men of power-speak your voice…SPEAK!!

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!


look out ma-here comes the elephant boy

February 15, 2010

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


The title comes from a John Prine song.
What was in his head when he wrote it has not been explained to me-but what is in my head when I hear it is the story of an oddity-a kid with an odd something about himself.

Call me odd. It won’t matter-it truly does not matter. It is too late to change me to any other way,I have adjusted to living like this after so long. I might as well. My life has been this for so long that it is a callous. Just as if I was a hand that worked all of its life with pick axe or a shovel or some kind of hard work.

There is a movie by Werner Herzog-titled “Where the Green Ants Dream”. It is a strange story about an Australian mining operation that is disrupted by a group of Aborigine peoples protest of the destruction of a sacred ant species. The people end up in court to fight for the right to keep the land sacred-and the judge calls a man from the Aborigine group to testify. This guy rambles on in a language of his own and the judge asked for someone to interpret what was said. No one could-he was the last of his people,his tribe-his language. Only he spoke it-and he knew what was being said.

That is the odd part about me. I feel silenced and isolated. I feel like an elephant boy. I feel as if only I understand what is being said.

I spoke to a survivor yesterday. We have been talking about organizing to rally against the Veterans Administration for the civil rights of veterans who have suffered from MST contributing PTSD. My conversation was with another elephant boy…elephant man…elephant woman…elephant girl…elephant white…elephant black….elephant odd ass person-an oddity. An Aborigine with out a language-because no one can understand what the oddity has to say.

As I spoke to this veteran-a United States Army Viet Nam era veteran-a rape survivor…I heard me talking! I heard my language being spoken. It was almost as if I was on the telephone and listening to myself. The things that were being said could only have been understood by someone like me. That someone understands the pain of the loneliness of our lives-the secret we have to endure…the self hate and self destruction-all because of what happened at the hands of others.

It is such a confused life. The Military Sexual Trauma survivors life. My conversation was with a soul just like me-growing up in an age where defending our country and our Constitution was the important key to survival and freedom…we were raised on values to salute the flag of our nation and march against any that would cause us a threat-to teach other lands,not as free as ours,the rights and freedoms-a word called democracy is used….the rights and freedoms of our United States.

We are elephant boys now…elephant men…elephant woman…elephant black…elephant white…with out a language-except with in our own group,but-the group is so isolated by its silence. We are oddities! We are not like the rest-we are silenced. We have no rights.

Look out Ma here comes the elephant boy-all dressed up in his corduroy!

Military Sexual Trauma is just a title-it once upon a time was not even known as anything….unless perhaps it had a behavioral title-such as ‘sexual activity’ or ‘homosexual behavior’ but not as an injury.

Imagine what it is like to look up to heros from eras past-like the men of Iwo Jima…or the those captured during war time and kept as POW’s. Just imagine what it might be like to want to be like those-to be a hero,to fight the battles and defending what is right,believing in what is right….and then it is shut down,and shut away by the devience of another’s power over you. Everything is taken away-the desire…the belief…and the ability to defend. We no longer feel the honor of the duty we stepped forward to do-and feel the right to stand up next to the others who made it through-the true veterans…we feel the right is lost.


Look out Ma…

Military Sexual Trauma-Veterans Administration in-patient treatment facilities

July 6, 2009


This list consists of programs identifying themselves as providing MST or sexual trauma-specific treatment in a residential or inpatient setting. Only programs open and actively accepting referrals are included, such that programs under development are not listed. Programs range from those solely dedicated to the treatment of sexual trauma; to those with a special track emphasizing the treatment of sexual trauma; to those with two or more staff members with expertise in sexual trauma who, in the context of a larger program not focused on sexual trauma, provide treatment targeting this issue. More detailed information about each program is provided on the pages following this summary list.

VISN 1 VA Boston HCS/Jamaica Plain Campus, Boston, MA: Women Veterans’ Therapeutic Transitional Residence Program VA Boston HCS/Brockton Campus, Brockton, MA: Women’s Integrated Treatment & Recovery Program

VISN 2 VA Western New York HCS/Batavia Campus, Batavia, NY: Women Veterans’ Residential Program

VISN 3 VA New Jersey HCS, Lyons, NY: Women’s Military Sexual Trauma Residential Program

VISN 5 VA Maryland HCS/Baltimore Division, Baltimore, MD: Dual Diagnosis PTSD/Substance Abuse PRRTP

VISN 7 Augusta VAMC, Augusta, GA: MST Clinic & Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program

VISN 8 Bay Pines VAHCS, Bay Pines, FL: Center for Sexual Trauma Services

VISN 10 Cincinnati VAMC, Cincinnati, OH: Residential PTSD Program VISN 12 Clement J. Zablocki VAMC, Milwaukee, WI: Rehabilitation and Transition Unit – Trauma Track North Chicago VAMC, North Chicago, IL: Stress Disorder Treatment Unit

VISN 15 VA Eastern Kansas HCS/Topeka Division, Topeka, KS: Stress Disorder Treatment Program

VISN 17 Central Texas Veterans HCS, Temple, TX: Women’s Trauma Recovery Center

VISN 21 VA Palo Alto HCS/Menlo Park Division, Menlo Park, CA: Women’s Trauma Recovery Program

VISN 22 VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA: “Renew” & “Bridges”

 Please see the pages that follow for more detailed information about each program.

 VISN 1 Facility: VA Boston HCS/Jamaica Plain Campus (Boston, MA) Type of program: PTSD Transitional Residence Program name: Women Veterans’ Therapeutic Transitional Residence Program (TRUST House) Phase of treatment targeted: Flexible, ranges from stabilization and skill-development to trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Veterans receive therapy through the Boston Women’s Stress Disorder Treatment Team, a clinic with an explicit emphasis on treating sexual trauma. TR staff also have expertise in this area. Notable admission criteria: Prefer 90 days sobriety; able to function independently; ability to work 20 hours/week; prefer 60 days without suicidal behavior. Some criteria are flexible depending on the individual case. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Ask for commitment of at least 3 months though prefer veterans to stay for a year; maximum stay is 18 months. Contact information: Erica Sharkansky, PhD – (857) 364 – 4925; Facility: VA Boston Healthcare System, Brockton Campus (Brockton, MA) Type of program: Women’s Residential Program Program name: Women’s Integrated Treatment & Recovery Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on integrated treatment of substance abuse and trauma; group therapy focuses on skills building for maintaining abstinence and managing PTSD symptoms. MST-specific treatment available: Individual therapy focused on processing sexually traumatic experiences using a CPT model with and without exposure. Staff members have expertise in the area of sexual trauma. Notable admission criteria: Commitment to abstinence; medically stable; linked to outpatient care and have a discharge plan; no acute psychotic symptoms, suicidal or homicidal ideation. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions with 8-week length of stay which may be extended to 90 days under certain circumstances, if for example, a veteran awaiting admission to a subsequent program needs to meet criteria for a length of sobriety greater than 56 days or is awaiting housing. Contact information: Sharon L. Baker, Ph.D. – (774) 826-1312;

VISN 2: Facility: VA Western New York HCS/Batavia Campus (Batavia, NY) Type of program: Women’s Residential Program Program name: Women Veterans’ Residential Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma processing as well as intensive self-regulatory and interpersonal skill development. MST-specific treatment available: Individual and group therapy focused on processing sexually traumatic experiences. Staff members have expertise in the area of sexual trauma. Currently have mixed-trauma cohorts, though at times cohorts end up being entirely composed of veterans with sexual trauma histories. Notable admission criteria: 30 days sobriety; medically stable; linked to outpatient care and have a discharge plan; no acute suicidal or homicidal ideation. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Utilize a cohort system with a 10 week length of stay. If the cohort has openings, short-term stays of one to two weeks are possible for veterans wishing to focus on skill-building and supportive therapy. Contact information: Terri Julian, Ph.D. – (585) 297-1205; VISN 3: Facility: VA New Jersey HCS, Lyons, NJ Type of program: MST Residential Treatment Program Program name: Women’s Treatment Unit Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on skill building and trauma processing. Group treatment is central with individual psychotherapy for processing of traumatic material. PE and CPT available. MST-specific treatment available: Program as a whole is devoted to MST treatment. Childhood trauma, combat-related PTSD, and SUD also addressed as needed. Admission criteria: No psychotic symptoms; Not in need of detox from drugs or alcohol; ability to work intensively in group format; no recent violent behavior; cannot present as danger to self or others; must be able to manage own medications; must be medically stable. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Average length of stay 6-8 weeks Contact information: Suzanne Loftus, Psy.D. – (908) 647-0180 ext 5896

VISN 5 Facility: VA Maryland HCS/Baltimore Division (Baltimore, MD) Type of program: Psychosocial Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program with Focus on Comorbid PTSD & Substance Use Disorders Program name: Dual Diagnosis PTSD/Substance Abuse PRRTP Phase of treatment targeted: Flexible, ranges from psychoeducation and skill-development to trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Multiple staff members with expertise in treating sexual trauma using empirically supported treatments. Individual and group therapy. Notable admission criteria: PTSD and substance abuse/dependence; prefer 30 days sobriety and that have had at least one significant period of sobriety within the past year; ability to function independently in daily life; psychiatrically and medically stable. Treat both men and women? Yes. Have both mixed and single-sex groups. Women stay in individual rooms with private, non-attached bathrooms. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. 45 – 56 day stay. Contact information: Lorie Morris, Psy.D. — (410) 605-7418;

VISN 7 Facility: Augusta VAMC (Augusta, GA) Type of program: MST Clinic in conjunction with Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program Program name: MST Clinic & Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Veterans receive therapy through the outpatient MST clinic where staff have expertise in the treatment of sexual trauma. Notable admission criteria: No pending legal issues; no physical assaults in past six months; current sobriety; not taking any controlled medications more than two times/day. Treat both men and women? Yes. Women stay in lockable two- to four-person rooms. Some women-only groups, but others are mixed-sex. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Length of stay for up to 120 days. Contact information: Lorraine Braswell, Ph.D. — (706) 733-0188 x7735;

VISN 8 Facility: Bay Pines VAHCS (Bay Pines, FL) Type of program: MST Residential Program Program name: Center for Sexual Trauma Services, Residential Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma work. MST-specific treatment available: Program as a whole is devoted to MST treatment. Patients are assigned a primary therapist who works with them to plan treatment based on individual needs and strengths. Treatment interventions may include Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Skills Training, CBT Group, Therapeutic Recreation, Patient Education and other interventions. Notable admission criteria: History of MST (though can focus on any sexual trauma while in the program); cannot present a danger to self or others and must be able to manage the residential environment. Treat both men and women? Yes. Roommates are same-sex, but men and women are housed in the same area of the Dom and share the common living areas. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions; variable length of stay based on the individual’s treatment plan. Contact information: Judith Connelly, PsyD. (727) 398-6661, x 7297; or Carol O’Brien, Ph.D. – (727) 398-6661 x7381;

 VISN 10 Facility: Cincinnati VAMC (Cincinnati, OH) Type of program: PTSD Day Hospital with lodging Program name: Residential PTSD Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Most staff have expertise in sexual trauma. Individual and group treatment; veterans working on sexual trauma get one extra individual therapy session a week as needed. Notable admission criteria: PTSD; 30 days sobriety (will, however, take veterans on benzodiazepines and/or methadone); no active mania or psychosis; no medical or legal issues; no registered sex offenders; able to tolerate group treatment and share trauma accounts in individual therapy. Treat both men and women? Yes. Men and women with separate living areas but eat in the cafeteria together. No mixed-sex therapy groups. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Cohort admissions. Length of stay of 7 weeks. Contact information: For referrals, Jennifer Lewis – (513) 861-3100 x3310;

VISN 12 Facility: Clement J. Zablocki VAMC (Milwaukee, WI) Type of program: PTSD DOM Program name: Rehabilitation and Transition Unit – Trauma Track Phase of treatment targeted: Flexible, depends upon veterans’ previous trauma work. MST-specific treatment available: Staff with expertise in sexual trauma by virtue of the high prevalence of it in the program. Veterans attend general programming but individual and group treatment would be focused on the sexual trauma. Notable admission criteria: 30 days sobriety; need to be capable of independent living and able to manage living with others. Treat both men and women? Yes. Mixed-sex groups and living arrangements. One all-female support group where all participants have a history of sexual trauma. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Length of stay of 6-9 months. Contact information: For referrals, Katie DeYoung at the Central Intake Unit – (414) 384-2000 x 41986. For more information, Vickie Wiese, Ph.D. — x 42367; Facility: North Chicago VAMC (North Chicago, IL) Type of program: PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Program Program name: Stress Disorder Treatment Unit Phase of treatment targeted: Flexible, from skills building to trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Individual therapy; clinicians have developed expertise in working with MST, given the number of sexual trauma cases they tend to see. Notable admission criteria: Combat-related PTSD (combat broadly defined); SC for PTSD; minimum 30 days sobriety; medically stable; no active suicidal ideation in the past 60 days; admission can’t be court-related; must be in outpatient treatment; prefer no benzodiazepines or anti-psychotic medications. Current PTSD symptoms must be too severe to be treated on an outpatient basis. Treat both men and women? Yes. Women with private room, but men and women participate in groups together. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Length of stay varies but average is around 35 days. Contact information: Karen Paddock – (847) 688-1900 x 83312;

 VISN 15 Facility: VA Eastern Kansas HCS/Topeka Division (Topeka, KS) Type of program: Specialized Inpatient PTSD Unit Program name: Stress Disorder Treatment Program Phase of treatment targeted: Ranges from skill building to trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Though have ongoing admissions, try to cluster individuals with sexual trauma-related issues into “mini-cohorts.” Staff with training in treatment of sexual trauma. Notable admission criteria: 30 days sobriety; military trauma of some type; treatment can’t be court-ordered; no acute suicidal or homicidal ideation; no acute psychosis. Treat both men and women? Yes, but see relatively few women. Women and men are potentially, but not necessarily, in the same cohort. They participate in psychoeducational groups together but decisions about participation in trauma processing groups together are made on a case by case basis, depending on the size of the female mini-cohort. Women room together as appropriate but typically have private rooms with their own bathroom. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Length of stay of 7 weeks. Contact information: For referrals, Terry Falck, M.A. – (785) 350-3111 x 52139; for more information, Jonathan Farrell-Higgins, Ph.D. – x 52118;

VISN 17 Facility: Central Texas Veterans HCS (Temple, TX) Type of program: MST Residential Treatment Program Program name: Women’s Trauma Recovery Center Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Program as a whole is devoted to MST treatment. Notable admission criteria: History of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while in military (for recently deployed women, sexual harassment only with a history of other military trauma is acceptable); no substance abuse for past 30 days; no suicidal or para-suicidal behavior for past 30 days; no acute inpatient psychiatric admission for past 30 days; no uncontrolled mania or psychosis; not significant organic impairment; no ongoing criminal or violent behavior. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Cohort admissions. Length of stay of 7 weeks. Contact information: Delicia Mclean, Ph.D. – (254) 743-1720;

VISN 21 Facility: VA Palo Alto HCS/Menlo Park Division (Menlo Park, CA) Type of program: PTSD Residential Program Program name: Women’s Trauma Recovery Program (WTRP) Phase of treatment targeted: Two tracks: 1) trauma processing; and 2) intensive skills building. MST-specific treatment available: Staff with expertise in the treatment of sexual trauma, particularly given the high prevalence of sexual trauma among veterans in the program. Notable admission criteria: Alcohol and illegal substance free for 5 days and off of benzodiazepines; problems are primarily due to PTSD; no active psychosis; no unresolved legal issues; no major medical problems that will interfere with participation in program. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. 60 day to 90 day length of stay. Contact information: Kristen Marchak, LSW, Admissions Coordinator – (650) 493-5000 x 24692, , Tasha Souter, MD – (650) 493-5000 x23158;; Dorene Loew, PhD – (650) 493-5000 x23237;

VISN 22 Facility: VA Long Beach Healthcare System (Long Beach, CA) Type of program: Sexual Trauma Residential Program Program name: “Renew”; (for information on “Bridges”, see box on ‘rolling vs cohort admissions’) Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on skill development and trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Program as a whole is devoted to treatment of sexual trauma. Individual and group treatment. Holistic focus. Notable admission criteria: 6 months sobriety; 6 months without psychiatric hospitalization; 6 months without suicide attempt or self-injury; ability to remain for the duration of the program. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Cohort admissions. Length of stay of 12 weeks. Also, potential for participation in “Bridges”: 12 week, rolling admissions residential and/or outpatient aftercare program consisting of 12 hours/week of community activity and support groups. Contact information: Lori Katz, PhD (program director) — (562) 826-8000 x4380;; or Sandy Dee Hoague (program coordinator) — x4820.

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.


MST survivors need rights!

March 16, 2009




There was once a time when I thought I had been the only one. Never had it crossed my mind there was anyone else that had experienced the same kind of fears brought on by being a sexual assault survivor.  I was convinced that my life was an extraordinary mix up and what had happened through out was too hard for anyone to believe. It has been too hard for me to believe.

When I entered the Veterans Administration Hospital (VA) treatment program for PTSD I was amazed to learn there are many others-so many that VA has an individual title-‘military sexual trauma’ (MST) and even has an in-patient treatment center in Bay Pines,Florida. I have heard it is a seven week program. I have come to know the numbers of MST survivors are in the thousands. It did not make me feel comfortable to know-it actually makes me sick to think of it.

When I was raped the beginning of the longest fear began. Included in that fear is the ability to stand up for myself.  I lost that ability in barracks D-results of too many times having my arm twisted behind my back to do things unmentionable for my bully. Anytime an argument begins I already loose because I have been trained to loose.

I never thought that I would be writing about all of this. For much of my life since discharge from the Navy I had figured it out that no one was interested in what had happened. I spent most of my life appearing like a looser to many-I couldn’t hold a job-I had a hard time staying sober,or clean from drugs. Things I know now are directly connected to my mental health-that being distorted by the events in barracks D….they call it PTSD.

When during treatment-which finally came some 30 plus years after living the way I had-in secret of what had happened those years ago…when during treatment I was encouraged to appeal for a ‘service connected disability’. I was told-and it is so,that I am permanently injured due to the events in my life in the military.

As a male survivor-I can only speak from my point of view. I know that sitting down and telling any man that I had been raped was not a pleasant thing to do. The first man I ever told was the officer I told about the rapes-the morning they happened. He laughed it off as if I told him a funny bit of trivia telling me to “get used to it”!!

When I told the ‘veterans advocate’ at our local Veterans Affairs office my story he made statements that offended me and insulted others. He was perplexed that my attackers were not black men. He made another statement that rang of ignorance…”gee,you never think homosexuals have a need to rape each other!” There were other comments that seemed to regard rape as a sexual encounter of some kind-and not a physically violent crime. Comments that kept connecting men raping men has anything to do with homosexuality-these are wrong.

Combined with that experience-echoing the sounds of the officer back in barracks D….”get used to it!” and knowing the numbers of MST survivors are large-larger than the American public know,I cannot stand it that MST survivors suffer so much humiliation and shame would also have to be subjected to the same kind of ignorance that I found myself facing.

And I am thinking about this from the perspective of a MST survivor-male and female…the degradation is the same. What disturbs me is the unfairness it all carries with it.  Being forced to remain silent all of our lives out of fear-and for safety…then being convinced to trust once again-to come forward and enlist the system to correct some wrongs,offer validation-and then the same system confronts the MST survivor with bigoted remarks. Is this happening to every MST survivor? I feel like it is-and it the reason the true numbers of MST survivors are actually unknown.

After the rape-nothing goes away. You may take a shower and wash off. But nothing goes away. It is worse than a tattoo. At least if you don’t like the tattoo you can have it changed-but most likely the mark on your skin never goes away. It is like the mark in your mind-the mind of a rape survivor…it is always there. Just what might even be considered a slight thought about the rapes makes my skin feel quivery and my stomach ill-and after 39 years one would think it might change.

And then by chance that you are reminded there is an option to seek validation through the challenge of justice-there is no one that is qualified for you to trust. I certainly did not feel any wings of protection coming from my first ‘advocate’. I felt fear-and knew by instinct that this was someone who was not on my side…and I did not want him to be trying to be.

Where are the rights of these veterans?

The Veterans Administration says we cannot provide our own representation-unless they are approved by the VA. The representative they approved-and provided me was a bigot. He had no ears for my case…he did not care-I was paper work to him. There are many other MST survivors who should fear this policy-who should have the freedom to proper representation in these sensitive cases. The ‘gunny sargent’ turned veterans advocate has no business being a confident in something he absolutely does not even believe in-cannot comprehend in truth…confused as to why homosexuals need to rape each other,or that violent crime is only committed by certain races.

That is unjust-and I believe it is illegal. Yet this is the kind of approved representation MST survivors are offered?

Civil Rights for MST survivors

March 1, 2009



There is a class of military veterans who have no civil rights. These are the ‘military sexual trauma’ (MST) survivors.

How can I say that-every one under the Flag of the United States has civil rights? No-not everyone.

In my dictionary-under the heading of  ‘civil law’ it says it pertains to the rights of private individuals and to legal proceedings concerning these rights as distinguished from criminal,military,or international rights,courts-or legal proceedings. Under the heading Civil Rights it says RIGHTS belonging to an individual by virtue of his/her status as a citizen. Under the heading Civil Law it says the body of law dealing with the rights of private citizens in a particular state or nation,as distinguished from criminal law,military law,or international law.

I am not a lawyer-I am a civilian…my dictionary says that means I am a citizen not connected with the military

I believed I have a right to a lawyer to represent me in any legal matter. I have found that this is wrong.

I am a MST survivor. I have have suffered life long residual mental health issues because of my being a ‘military sexual trauma’ survivor.

Because of my life as a survivor had finally come to the attention of the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in my region of Gainesville Florida I entered the PTSD-MST clinic for evaluation and treatment. I once thought I was alone. I learned there that there are thousands of MST survivors…some known,some like me who kept silent for many years.

During treatment I was advised to seek validation-to enter a claim against the VA system,I was told I met the entire page of criteria for PTSD and deserved benefits offered through the VA system. These benefits included medical care and perhaps financial compensation.

To apply for a claim the law required me to report my rapes to a local ‘veterans advocate’…this had to be done in my home county in Florida-Levy County. These veterans advocates are hired by the county under the direction of the Florida Veterans Affairs Office.

The advocate I met with was a former ‘gunny sargent’ well versed in combat injury-he had even won awards from Congress for work to aid veterans to obtain what is rightfully theirs. He had no experience-nor knowledge of how to care for  MST survivors. The fact is-when I told him my story he looked in amazement and said “Gee…you’ never think homosexuals have a need to rape each other”…he also assumed my attackers were black. Both statements were no where near the truth,nor did they hold any valid reasoning.

I declined any further aid from the Levy County office,instead I sought the help of an attorney. I had to travel to Jacksonville Florida to find legal counsel-and the attorney took my case on an old fashioned handshake…she too was an MST survivor. She understood my pain-and understood the need for justice in these cases.

We attended a hearing in November 2007 at the regional offices of the VA in St.Petersburg Florida. My hearing was over two hours long-a length of time I understood was unusual,they say a hearing only lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.

It took one year to nearly the day for a decision-my papers were signed by the VA Judge on November 3,2008. His decision said that I am indeed suffering from PTSD and the results of why are directly connected with my military service-directly connected because I AM a MST survivor.

Yesterday a letter arrived via US Postal  carrier. The letter says that my attorney is not an approved VA attorney…the question is-will my service connected disability be reversed because I chose as a citizen to find a person versed in law to represent me? My attorney is dis-qualified to represent me in the VA court (of law).

This letter not only affects me-it affects every MST survivor in the United States. It says to us-we have NO RIGHT to find legal counsel on our own! It says we must be bound by the VA system…we must use counsel which is approved by them-I understand a list of attorneys is available who are approved by the VA.

I know only about myself-yet I can only assume that every veteran chose to volunteer for military service…why? To defend our nation-to defend our flag…to defend our rights as citizens of the United States. I guess I am wrong…the letter I received yesterday surely proves that. I have NO RIGHT to select an attorney of my choice of my free will to defend me or represent me in/at a national institution-the Veterans Administration.

Our rights are being violated!

In my effort to bring justice for every MST survivor-and even every veteran have been returned in vain. I have written countless letters and emails to Congressman-and Senators. Only two have responded (unless you want to count the form letters under the heading ‘newsletters’).

Of those two-one actually set an appointment for me to meet personally with her-Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite from Florida. The meeting never took place…the Congresswoman is no longer on the veterans sub-committee. I’m talking about CIVIL RIGHTS…and a member of Congress-an elected official of our Untied States is saying…this is not my job?? Our meeting was canceled  just one day before elections in 2008;and two weeks ago her office called to say “not our job”.

I know we are being wronged. I know when I enlisted at age 17 into the United States Navy I was enlisting to serve our country-OUR COUNTRY! Not merely the region where I lived-the entire United States. War was going on then-the Viet Nam War. Many of my age group refused to serve-instead they fled to Canada to be safe from prosecution,and to be safe from war. My desire to serve was so strong that I had tried to enlist in the United States Marines-a choice which would have guaranteed my duty being in the battle grounds of Viet Nam. The recruiter said I was too skinny and sent me to the Navy recruiter instead. It did not matter-Army,Navy,Marines-any branch of the military service would have been the honorable thing to do!

I’m not fully sure how government works-but I do feel that regardless of where an elected official comes from he or she should want to take up the banner and fight for the justice and rights of an American citizen…and right what wrongs exist. In this case-fight for the rights of MST survivors.

My self-personally…I never expected to seek justice for the rapes that qualify me as an MST survivor. Like many MST survivors I chose to live with my wounds in silence. I never thought anyone would care since the first day I became a survivor the officer in charge whom I reported my attacks to said “get used to it”. Once the 35 years of silence ended and I learned there were as many as 32% of female veterans and 6% of male veterans that are also MST survivors I became angry…angry that they too might have to report to a bigot such as the one I met at the Levy County Veterans Affairs Office. I decided to fight for these other ‘silent wounded’ and speak out for the RIGHTS we have had hidden from us…if not even taken away.

Yesterdays letter nearly defeated that effort. I went into a state of shock…I even wept. The hurt from ALL of my life as a survivor collected inside of me-almost allowing me to cower in retreat,the pain was that hard to bare.

I will not quit! I will continue to stand up for MST veterans rights. Our CIVIL RIGHTS! We are citizens of the Untied States. We volunteered to serve our country to defend equal rights and freedom….yet our freedom is taken away from us if we are NOT permitted to seek our own legal counsel-our CIVIL RIGHTS are NOT available to  the MST survivor if we are restricted to seek defense in the offices of men who disregard us as ‘homosexuals’ or cannot understand that no matter what race a person is-that if a man is black he is automatically deemed as the culprit in a crime.

If you are reading this than you have a responsibility to assist in righting this wrong-I beg you to write your Congress and speak out against this wrong. Stand up for us as we once went forward to stand up for you. The fact of MST exists today…there are many more survivors returning to civilian life-silent wounded. Help us obtain our CIVIL RIGHTS!