Posts Tagged ‘civil rights of veterans’

MST and the VA and CIVIL RIGHTS for SURVIVORS

March 20, 2010

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Originally uploaded by jayfherron

 

The following words came to me by email-from ONE MORE – MST survivor seeking justice:  “It is always great to hear from you, more so knowing that your support is genuine and from the heart. The Attorney didn’t take my case because the VA changed the entire scenario concerning claims, he said that unless the claim was denied the Attorneys can’t take cases, therefore I would have to wait until then in order to get legal advice,…go figure! My life hasn’t been easy, alone, scared most of the time, can’t sleep cause of nightmares, anxiety, etc…..more so not having a close friend to take to makes it even worse…..that’s why I appreciate your friendship, your support and kindness means a lot to me, even if it’s through the Internet”.

This is another veteran-who enlisted in the United States Military to PROTECT and SERVE his fellow countryman-and to defend the Constitution of the United States.

Read what he is telling us! He has been wronged-criminally abused by fellow military personell…and is being told there is a rule that says he cannot seek his own representation against the Veterans Administration? What is WRONG with this picture America?

I too have been told this-I have in my hand a letter sent last year-it came from the Veterans Administration…it says the attorney that I selected to represent me was not approved by the VA and therefore disqualified to represent me in my disability claim for PTSD. So-I am supposed o trust the system to provide me with unbiased legal counsel…the same system I an any of us are going against-and yet forced to use their attorney lists? I don’t get it-please…someone explain this to me.

We were proud to serve our country-in my generation we were taught we were defending democracy….but what is democratic if we cannot find a person who we trust to defend our rights?

I said this the other day….how can we sit back and let this happen? I DID NOT enlist to suffer the way I do because of MST…I would be more proud to have been wounded in combat than to be wounded in the way we survivors have been wounded-and our wounds are unlike those received in combat…they are wounds of shame as much as they are wounds in our physical being and souls.

I did nothing wrong-why should I be treated as if I did? Why should we be isolated into a line of insensitive rules that do nothing to ease the pain-instead multiply it?

We need to stand up-fight those who attacked us and strike back…or we can just sit back and take it!

This is wrong…read the fear and pain in this mans words-and also see how his rights are also gone.

believing in government:class one

February 5, 2009

drawing by-jay herron
Originally uploaded by jayfherron
 

 

There is one thing I can honestly say-I know little about the government.Maybe I can say it even better-I don’t believe in the government.

I tried,I wasn’t always like this. Growing up in the era of the 1950’s one couldn’t miss. The pledge of allegiance was probably the first thing we were taught in elementary school.

As a boy I remember how on Memorial Day we kids could find a  ceremony of some sort  going on in the cemetery up behind the baseball field. In school we learned about our Presidents. At home we all sat in front of our televisions in absolute shock as we saw our President assassinated in Dallas that Thanksgiving season in 1963.

As boys we were given the suggestion you wanted a machine gun just like Vic Morrow as Sgt.Chip Saunders used on the TV show ‘Combat’ The TV commercials enticed us to be warriors,making sure we grew up to want to be real warriors.

It was the big thing as a kid going to stay part of  summer with my grandparents. They lived in the city of Washington DC. As always the trips to the museums were common-and in awe we would wait in the line to view the original Constitution. It was amazing even as a boy to have stood in front of something that old-and yet something as important the guidelines and rules of government that it is.

We were taught by the veterans parades that being a hero and defending the Constitution and the flag was proof that Sgt.Saunders was right on.

I lost all sense of what I was taught after my discharge from the Navy.  I wanted to believe like it was before I went in the Navy,but my experiences going through my life in barracks D failed to revive that belief.

I had once found hope in Jimmy Carter. When he ran for office there was an offer for amnesty to many who were discharged through Nixon’s drug amnesty offer back in 1970. Jimmy Carter’s son was among the veterans that fit that bill. I registered to vote and pulled his lever in the voting booth. The only time I ever voted in my life. The promise he made did not reach me. The letter written to him-by my mother-was returned with a rejection accompanying it.

When I began writing to offices of elected Congress people these past few years for veterans rights-for the rights of MST survivors (military sexual trauma) I wanted to believe again.

I had thought I had reached the peak in my search to find someone in Congress that would hear me-would hear us. I wrote the other day that I received an invitation to contact them months ago,urging me to make arrangements to talk about the issue.

I was contacted just the other day. The apology was made that the Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite was no longer on the committee that heard veterans issues. The offer was made to supply me with the information on the new committee-or at least the link to monitor when a new  committee was seated. I was also told to contact the Representative from my area. All this stuff I do not understand.

I don’t know how it all works. The desire to stay interested in it was broken right about the moment the officer I reported my rape to said to “get used to it”. To defend my Constitution was why I enlisted in the military. I was 17 years old when I signed up-that’s how much I believed. I left my military service feeling ashamed and broken.

Why should it matter? If an American citizens rights are being violated-why should it matter what committee someone is sitting on-a person in office in the Congress should want to seek justice and right the wrong. When I enlisted in the United States Navy-I did not do it as someone defending just my neighborhood,I did it to defend my country-I was not going to ask what region one was from,I was doing it for all.

I believe the civil rights of an MST  survivor are violated. I believe this because of the extreme distortion of our injuries in comparison to the legitimate war time injury. Not that I mean any injury is legitimate-but we enlisted to put our lives forward to defend our country,not to be assaulted sexually by our own.

A soldier or sailor or airman who has been in combat and return and are offered benefits due them for honorable service-and because they’ve been injured have an understanding ear to hear how these wounds were received.  The expected stories of combat related injury are not the same as the stories of an individual who has been raped.

Because of the severeness of the way rape effects a survivor-to report it has an immediate hurdle,who do you trust to tell? An immediate reaction is to tell the one you trust…in my case that one had little advice to offer…”get used to it”! Hardly anything that would compel me to trust again.

30 some odd years later when I thought I was able to trust again it was suggested to me to seek validation and justice through the VA system-to appeal for benefits said to be due me because of the nature of my injuries and what they had done to my life.

I went to one of those men who are able to understand the complex nature of war injuries-but never should have heard the nature of the injuries of a rape survivor. This is where our civil rights are being violated-because the way the system is set up is to understand and help a select group of veterans,but have no business hearing the sensitive details of a rape survivors life.

We have no where to go-and no one to trust. The man I was supposed to trust had no idea what to think about being seated in front of a male rape survivor. He could only associated it with remarks about homosexuality-rude remarks,and words that showed bigotry. He assumed my attackers were black.

To me-we should not have to be on a committee to be upset about something like this. The comments the Veterans Affairs Officer made  showed absolute predjudice towrds me and my case-a case eventually proven,but I hired an attorney who was capable of understanding.

It does not matter what committee you are seated on-the rights of many veterans are being violated. MST survivors are expected to sit back in silence because they have fears of coming forward for exactly the reason I state. Too many of us have heard the words “get used to it” it one fashion or the other-already the trust factor is defeated.

How can we trust again when no one is there is offer safety? And how can you trust when the country you volunteered to defend offers no defense for you? It should not matter ,Congresswoman Brown-Waite, what district I am from. I believe I am speaking for veterans that come from your region too…I am speaking for veterans from every place in the United States.

Veterans rights are being violated-survivors of MST have a right to be heard in privacy and in peace of being revictimized by ignorance. Veterans rights are being violated….hear us and give us justice!

 

 

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