Posts Tagged ‘Congresswoman Ginnie Brown-Waite’

barracks D drawing

November 20, 2009

barracks D drawing
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


This is not easy to do. Trying to relate everything from the past 40 years into just a page of words-the right words….and,to tell the things on your mind in just a few hours of just a few days-to relate the pain and describe the losses or explain the fears. No-none of it is easy.


I used to leave the visits with my former therapist (Charlotte-at the VA)
and would feel like I was walking through mud about waist deep.The feeling came from the exhaustion from the work of telling my story…to the first person who ever wanted to listen. You have to understand carrying over 35 years of personal torment by yourself-to finally release it was the work and the results have been difficult but there.


I am tired like that today-I spent the past Tuesday and Wednesday telling my story again, being recorded and filmed, and learning some had not been recorded, so…telling my story again,being recorded and filmed. Today is Friday and my body is feeling better. Yesterday I could hardly move. Today I still feel worn-but I also feel power in what has just happened this past week.


I have never found trust in anybody in my life until I met Charlotte B. (my VA therapist) I know it took a while at first but the way she remembered such odd details about what I had began telling her showed me this was someone who cared-for real cared!


All of that has been broken somehow-as if it is a must in the usual way my life goes. An odd thing is as is all of the ways the road turns is-while visiting my Navy son in Pearl Harbor I learned of a woman who was doing an article for National Geographic. Her topic was ‘military sexual trauma’ and how it effected woman veterans who have been traumatized. I telephoned her and asked “why just woman”?


Unfortunantly…the artcle went along the wayside because the magazine lost interest-but the journalist did not. She and her photographer friend have continued the project out of pocket…and out of pocket they traveled here to Florida and now I must say how proud I am to know these two ladies.


They came here and listened. They came here because they know wrong is being done and silence is there because so many are afraid to come forward.


I was raped in a detention barracks-and no one cared. I lived for 30 some odd years before anyone did. Feeling good about this person believing me I followed the suggestion that I deserve veterans disability for PTSD due to MST (military sexual trauma). Reporting the circumstances to the DVA (Division of Veterans Affairs) officer in my home county I was responded to with comments of bigotry and ignorance. I felt violated again-and by now knowing I am not the only veteran this has happened to…I began writing about my life as a veteran who has felt no honor and about the life I have had. Good or bad. It has not been all that good,but there are places!


I also began writing to anyone who could help make a change. I cannot tell you the feeling the body and soul of a rape survivor has-the shame and guilt that should not even be there-but is. And the filth…it is always there in memory. I wrote Congressman and woman-and Senators. To the best of my ability to find contact information. Some responded-Congresswoman Ginnie Brown-Waite was going to meet me and talk about changes for veterans rights…veterans of MST. She does not have a seat on the veterans committee any more-as it was conveyed by her office to me. Veterans civil rights are being covered up and a US Congresswoman says it is no longer her job?


I wrote Senator Bill Nelson from Florida. His Chief of Staff contacted me-we exchanged telephone calls a few times and a few emails…and then a few emails he had not responded to. And…no more contact with Senator Bill Nelson.


Two woman hear a persons story one day. That persons story was about MST and that persons account of how life living with the troubles PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) that make the lives of us survivors miserable. I am in awe as to how that has become a personal project of these two-to me they are heros. Our Congress are elected to serve us. Our Senate is elected to serve us. MST survivors are not a ‘big interest’. We offer no cash return. We are not deserving of a parade or any recoginition…in fact-I think they’d rather us go away-we are not the returning troops they want to laude and salute. We are wounded-but expected to stay silent. We have not had service from these elected Congress persons and Senators like the service we VOLUNTEERED to do!…and to do for our country.


I ramble when I am tired. I am tired today-but this wave of fatigue is so worth it. The story of MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA must be told-the problems that come with it must be exposed…and all of it must be changed. It is wrong for a young man to grow up in a foreign country and all of his life to desire to be an American…he grows up and enlists in the US Marines-there the prejudice of others led to the attacks that changed his life. A young man giving of himself for countryman of a country not yet his because he hopes to earn his citizenship in exchange for volunteering to defend the country he wants so much to be a citizen of. And this is what he earns? I weep thinking of this mans story-it breaks my heart so.


I too wanted to serve. My draft card was returned the day I volunteered to enter the United States Navy…I wanted to do my duty and once in the Navy-I wanted to be there forever. Another form of prejudice ended that…a form of jealousy-perhaps it could be called brotherly hate. I never will be sure. Months after my enlistment I was discharged with an ‘honorable discharge’…except I’ve never felt any honor.


I am very thankful for these two ladies…Lynn and Ann. They weren’t elected-no one hired them….they just heard one story of MST and from that one story came a seed-and that seed is growing into a vine that is soon going to grow into a tree-a solid solid hunk of timber,un-moveable-unable to ignore. The wind going through the leaves of this tree will be the voices of survivors and they will not be unheard-I know this.


I just have one last thing to say-I want to remember the lost on the USS IOWA and how the US Navy tried to cover up and twist truth to blame one man-one sailor who loved the Navy and was dishonored by them(the Navy claimed falsely that the sailor was ‘homosexual’ and detonated a bomb to seek revenge for a jilted love-ALL FALSE)…. 47 men died at the fault of poorly maintained equipment.If they can try to cover up this…you know they will do it elsewhere!

The Navy acknowledged the explosion was an accident due to faulty equipment-but they NEVER apologized for falsely accussing the young sailor-he died in the explosion too.



what’s next…?

December 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

We come to the end of the year. To those of you who have read my writings you already know that the marking of the new year know that my life was changed forever on December 31,1969-about 0200 in the morning. New Years eve.

The things I relate in my story here are about my life as a male rape survivor. They aren’t just a journal about the attacks-there was life in between then and now….it just wasn’t particularly normal. What I hope for them to be is to express what it is like-to educate about one mans life with PTSD.

I never intended to come this far-to write about it. Once upon a time I vowed there would never be a computer in my house. I see that has changed. Still, I never meant to come this far. It seems it is not over.

What stayed silent in me for 30 plus years came out by anger over being prescribed drugs for my having bouts with depression. I had spent much of my adult life fighting drugs and alcohol-trying to be sober…mostly because I found the drugs and drinking my way of hiding my life,yet each morning-there it was. I had spent too much time trying to live life more clearer-to work at being drug free and free of drinking every day.

I was prescribed anti-depressant after a routine visit at the Veterans hospital in my area. They asked a question…”are you depressed”? and I answered “sometimes”. They gave me a bottle of pills-those pills made me feel high.

I wrote a letter to the VA Hospital explaining that I was not going to take the medicine-I told them why, just like I said here-why hide the problem with a drug? That was the first time I ever mentioned being raped.

My rape and continual sexual assaults happened while I was in the US Navy.

Because of this connection-the VA offered therapy and through that therapy I learned that I should appeal for disability benefits. I was told that I deserved them.

When I met the Veterans Affairs advocate who was to represent me in finding  justice-the man made comments that concluded being raped and male made the whole scene a homosexual event-he commented that it was “surprising that homosexuals needed to rape each other”…he also concluded my attackers were black and showed surprise when I said that was wrong.

After that I could not remain silent. I felt  violated once again. I remember the officer that interviewed me the morning of my rape saying “get used to it” when he discovered that I had been attacked. It wasn’t hard to notice-my uniforms were damp with urine-my face bruised and obviously afraid.

I could not believe the ignorence that came across from a man who was supposed to be my advocate and stand up and speak for me. How could he be sincere-he knew nothing of what I was telling him.

After calming down-my anger about this remained. How many other veterans-survivors of sexual trauma-have experienced this bigotry and ignorance? How many stay away and never say a word all because of the fear this would happen?

My anger made me buy a computer and learn how to use it to reach others-to tell my story, and to tell the story of countless others. I also learned how to use the computer to reach those who should hear us…the silent wounded.

We have made strides in our goal. I look forward to see how the coming year will turn about-how since I first bought this computer three years ago has found being invited to Washington DC. It is in Washington that I am hopeful to convey our story to those who can make change.

Just three weeks ago I spoke with Joan Esnayra who founded PsychDogs, an Arlington Virginia based foundation that teaches veterans with PTSD to train service dogs to assist them in daily life. I explained to Joan my experience with rape and PTSD and the experience I had with the Veterans Affairs advocate-I told her my ideas for change and how wrong it is to know there is a large number of military veterans suffering because of PTSD resulting from sexual trauma. Military Sexual Trauma-MST.

I also explained to Joan that I am hopeful to meet with Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite and her Chief of Staff to discuss this and how those survivors who are silent and suffering – have also had their civil rights violated.

Through this conversation Joan introduced me to Steve Robinson-via telephone. Steve understood everything I said-and hears us! Mr.Robinson will prove to be a valuable helpmate in our battle-he is the former aid to Donald Rumsfeld (former Secretary of Defense) who exposed the scandal at Walter Reed Veterans Hospital in Washington DC.  Mr Robinson has promised to pick up the rod with me after the holiday season returns us back to normal-and after the hub bub of the inauguration is over in Washington.

What is hopeful in all of this is that we can make a change in the Veterans Administration to provide those who are the silent wounded a sensitive ear and advocate to assist the veteran in getting what is rightfully theirs-justice, and equal rights!

To be among the silent wounded-to know the shame and guilt that comes along with the memories. I never thought my hurt would work towards this direction. I always thought it would be my secret-kept shut up with in. I never knew my anger would erupt like this-from the very facility that’s in place to help veterans came hurt.  But it has made me see the need to change this for every survivor of the humiliation of MST.