Posts Tagged ‘male on male rape’

the conference-attended!

May 24, 2008

the hall to the banquet room

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

As I had written the previous post-I attended the ‘sexual battery’ conference in Gainesville.
I was not too sure if I was going to attend-my anxiety of crowds and large places was paramount….but afterwards I am glad that I got through it.
The conference was held in a church. The church was large as any small college-actually,I never even saw the ‘sanctuary’ because the campus was that large.
The only seminar I intended to sit in was presented by two doctors from the Gainesville Florida Veterans Administration Hospital. The topic-Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

The VA doctors were’nt expecting me.
They showed a slide presentation to enhance their points-the points of self praise in how good a job they are doing.
I could not help to get stirred up when the speaker said that they were going to concentrate on female victims as the number of male victims was in a lower percentage and was insignificant.
They showed a figure of 2%….I offered a figure of 6% in which the speaker counter reacted with these are VA numbers….which I counter reacted with “so are mine,and since your numbers are from 2002 and mine 2006-my numbers were more up to date”.
I expressed that a difference of 4% may not seem significant…but is very significant.
To say it best-the VA doctors presented a sexually biased presentation-completely leaving male victims out of the picture as if we hardly even made a difference.
And…they insisted the health care in supporting survivors was upper scale-I only wished I could have asked how completely severing survivors from the only one they had come to trust-our therapist,was good health care?
And,again we were treated to a ‘wag of the dog’ by them saying the newer facilities they had moved into was proof they were doing a good job.
They failed to mention almost every department in the VA is being moved to outside locations to make room for the additional construction that is going to be underway at the VA Hospital….not a sign of improvement-a sign the problems are growing with the return of Iraq wounded and Afghanistan wounded.

I proudly stood up for other veterans who survive the silent wounds that they received while in military service-the wounds of rape and personal violation to ones body….I stood up and said I was a survivor of MST to a room full of twenty or more persons-strangers to me,a mix of professionals from law enforcement to doctors to mental health care practitioners.
I stood up and refuted the numbers and asked the doctors what the VA was doing to prepare for the fall out from the military enlisting over 100,000 convicted felons and how they were planning on dealing with the down hill effect that will have when these felons (among them over 4000 sexual offenders) commit a crime while in service-for example,repeat offenses in sexual misbehavior are very possible and should be expected.
There was no answer.

I know my questions and remarks were well accepted by the rest of the audience-several came up to me afterwards and told me so.
It was too easy to see how generic and UN-informative the VA presentation was. Something straight out of elementary school.
I cannot believe intelligent people bought very much of it-the slides were old…and as I said,so were the numbers. And worse-the suggestion that the ‘male numbers’ were insignificant was insulting.

The morning began at a breakfast with a keynote speaker. Although the speaker is telling her story of survival across the state-I wish to respect her privacy and not say much about the crime she endured.
I do need to say-the hours she spent being victimized made my two months in barracks D seem easier to accept….but they were words of a survivor that said the same thing I have said all along-I will never forget the incident. This woman was blinded by her attacker…she lost so much,but yet turned around with it and is now a deputy director of the Division of Victim Services for the Office of the Attorney General in the State of Florida.
A survivor who took the crime against her and turned it into a full time job as an advocate for others.

The moment I heard her speak I knew that I had found someone who could help me find the way to reach those in powerful places-like the state senate….to edify those in charge of laws ans systems that there is a problem with in the Veterans Affairs officers who no training in ‘sexual assault’ cases. I expressed to the deputy director that we need to provide survivor’s of MST a sensitive and trained individual for the MST survivor to be able to assist the survivor in processing a claim for compensation for the damages done while being victimized at the hands of those who are in the same ranks as the victim.

I felt like an angel from heaven has coordinated my going to the conference-for these past years of writing these installments of my personal account of being a survivor is so I can reach those who can make a difference in the survivors future…and by being handed this one survivors business card has said there is value in patience and faith,and I know there is soon to be a newer level to my activism for veterans-survivors of Military Sexual Trauma.

The USS Vulcan AR-5

October 1, 2007


USS Vulcan AR-5 at James River

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It was right around this time of year when I first saw the Vulcan. My heart had to have been racing with all of the thrill an 18 year old kid could muster…I was going live on this ship. Often times today I can go by a certain kind of equipment-something loud…and it takes me back to hear the sounds of the ship.
The Navy was going to be a chance for me. A new start-a hope to get back on track with my father,and the beginning of my life as a man.

I woke up about four this morning. Every morning I’d wake up and feel the failure and remember what happened and this morning was no different. It is really very strange-even to me…all of these years and that is what I wake up to-the memory of the failure and the regret of how it all went wrong.
I am feeling defeated. Back then I trusted what the USS Vulcan stood for-defending my nation and standing up to do my part for my country and constitution and I was so proud of my uniform .
My brother mutilated my uniforms.
Yes…that was another part of it-my brother. I was given the opportunity to serve with my older brother. What a mistake that was.
In the Bible there are countless stories in the old testament about the relationships of brothers. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery-that because they were jealous of him,and the relationships of sons with their fathers. They all seem like just plain old stories but in reality they mix with the contents of our own lives and become real.
My brother treated me like dirt when I came aboard the Vulcan-as I said,he mutilated all of my uniforms-so I was unable to work in areas of the ship…or stand watch,or stand out in an inspection. Instead I was placed with him in his station…the ships laundry-and was treated like shit.
I did not have the proper pay to replace my uniforms-so I had to wear what I had….my shirts with sleeves cut off of them and the moniker ‘Lil Herron’ over my shirt pockets to identify me as my brothers subject.
It was’nt what I was expecting. I could’nt understand why my brother rejected me-of course,we hardly knew each other…but that was the point.
Somewhere in this catalog of my life I have written about being caught in the snow storm and the way things went from there. I never really considered it that my brother had much to do with my being put into barracks D,but I think he did…maybe to teach me a lesson?
Frank was jealous because the ships education officer was treating me with certain specialty. He had given me some tests and I was qualified for further education to go to school and be given a degree and all I had to do was trade some of my life which was an easy trade because already loved the Navy and this was going to be my world….it still is,but not way I expected it.
I did nothing wrong-so it all goes to show that innocence is not always treated fairly.

I cannot go through it all-again,here…but in these past years one thing has been very certain-I have a hard time with trust. That because it was taken away from me many years ago…shown to be a thing of little value because every time I reach out for it my hands get switched-smacked like the old elementery school teacher used to do when you were’nt behaving well and she’d hit your hands with the edge of a ruler.
I really do not know how to explain myself-I really dont know how to tell you how it has been to live me since those days and nights in barracks D…the lessons of ‘trust’ learnt there have endured from the moment they were given. They will never be pursueded to change-I can see that now.

My recent experiences with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Gainesville have shown me that.
I adjusted. I did life in ways others do not…drank until I could’nt stand up. Did lots of drugs. Tried to act the bad ass,then it all caught up with me and I had a stroke. This whole thing was mine…my past. The events in barracks D had molded the way I live-yet after the stroke things changed around and the other things kicked in (my rattle snake bride-and the Americas Most Wanted incident…) and one day I get asked by the VA clinic if I ever get depressed. Yes…yes yes. That is for certain. The response was medication…drugs. I’m pretty sure that would have been the extent of it all-the treatment…aka pills that make you jolly! But what a slap in the face…should’nt drink to erase your woes. Shoud’nt do drugs to erase your woes. Have woes…take one of these-drugs. Its all the same. By the way…I’m still depressed,its worse now!
I thought I found a place to trust at the VA. I wrote a letter back then to protest the use of the drugs and outlined why I was in the state I’m in…the results of the rapes-the results of seeing my brother Carl go sliding under the wheels of a car…seeing Mr.Hoke blast his brains out….hearing my mother tell me it should have been me and not my brother that died…over and over and over.
There is only one place of trust-this I know,and that is the grave. How I wish I could go there-I wish it had been me in that hearse that carried my baby brother.
The VA responded to me and gave me an island. I was so full of doubt that I would not be able to remain on the island…but I was told that I would be there as long as it takes.
That is not so. So there it is–trust….trust….where art thou trust?
To be honest with you…I thought there was going to be good in this. God how wrong I was!