Posts Tagged ‘military sexual trauma’

March 7, 2014

Today-actually-at this very moment while I am writing these words-a veteran aged old enough to be a Viet Nam era veteran…is also a MST veteran, and is being interogated at a Compensation and Pension hearing to defend…again…his truth and matter of fact that he experienced sexual trauma-and suffers post traumatic stress disorder- while on active duty in service to our country!

Today the newspapers reported that Senator Gilllabrand’s Bill did not pass Congress; still-the military is in charge of the injustice of protecting rapists, and shoveling off the victims.  Still a veteran this moment sitting in a chair in a small brightly lit room with a non-believer that the fact MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA even exsists.

I have never known any where else where a victim of a crime as violent as rape must prove every other year that indeed they were a victim – and still suffer from the memory with the nightmares and social fears; I have never known any where else where the criminal is protected for the sake of a uniform, and the victim must endure a lifetime of shame and loss, and-if able to claim a disability from the VA must continue to endure more abuse by having to repeatedly defend that claim!


Pray for our brother; pray for all of the Silent Wounded!


more words are opening up!

May 26, 2013


October 7, 2012

General charged with sodomy

An Army brigadier general who served five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan has been charged with forcible sodomy, multiple counts of adultery and having inappropriate relationships with several female subordinates, two U.S. defense officials said Wednesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide details on the case.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair faces possible courts-martial. Sinclair, who served as deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, was sent home in May because of the allegations, the officials said. The 82nd is based at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Sinclair was informed of the charges Monday but has not been placed under arrest. The next step will be an Article 32 investigation, including a preliminary hearing to determine whether the matter should go to trial. No date has been set.

September 13, 2012

I was speaking to a veteran yesterday and he was explaining how his conversation had gone with his DVA officer-this conversation was about the veterans claim for post traumatic stress and directly connected with MST. I could not help to remember my first meeting with a public paid DVA officer in my home county. The man had no clue any more than a rock would have about what I was telling him!

I sat across from a former Marine. The office walls behind his desk were crowded with decorations from active military duty and Congressional awards because of his dedication to US Military veterans.

I have no doubt of this mans experience and success in aiding disabled veterans filing claims. He just had limited experience only capable of understanding the needs of a veteran that has legitimate injuries…as for this desk Marine-he lacked understanding!

No-there are no legitimate injuries! But speaking to this particular former Marine he would have never been able to accept the fact that ‘military sexual trauma’ exists in his military! He made jokes, his staff made jokes-there was no seriousness taken in what I had opened up to tell him.

The VA mental health clinic had made the suggestion to report my rapes to the DVA for validation. What happened at the DVA office was unacceptable for any survivor.

So when the veteran was talking yesterday my mind kept drifting into my local DVA office and getting a visual of whom my friend was trying tell his story to in his home area. This has been what I have felt is insensitive treatment to this type of claim and to expect any sexual trauma survivor (we actually just limp along) to go to ‘any ol’ Joe’ to fill in the details of the criminal act of rape!

This is re-traumatising…and this is not right!

Honestly my friend was not complaining but you could sense the reserve in his voice as “what are you going to do”? but it isn’t just him or me alone, it is the countless silent wounded who have  the same concerns-after all, this is not an injury one easily speaks to anyone about-especially if ever trying to report the crime in the first place and being told to “snuff it up” or “not in my battalion”! From the moment of the attack the victims self-esteem is shoved into the dirt…it keeps on being pushed into the dirt from then on! So-who is welcoming going into the office of the local DVA and follow VA procedure on filing PTSD disability claims?

There needs to be a more sensitive solution to ease the burden of filing a claim for post traumatic stress when the filer is a survivor of MST! We shouldn’t have reason to file at all-sexual trauma is not how the enlisted person expects to be injured and no one expected to gain a lifetime of suffering-silently! We stood up to defend our flag and our national security-and we are veterans, but it is not the same sense of being a veteran who can speak proudly of their service-because there is a very black and missing piece that cannot be told! I know this is so because I can never erase that I spent time in the military-and wish that I could erase all of it-but in fact, it comes up in conversations here and there and especially in unexpected moments. I have to leave the blank every time and so often I am so ashamed. And, I am not the one who should be ashamed! I am a veteran from a war-time and I enlisted months before my legal age… I should have a different story to tell. All of us should!

But-what troubles me is when we do want to talk about our military life, and what happened, when will there be someone the veteran can feel confident the person they are telling this history to is quailified to understand the trauma?



August 25, 2012

I began yesterday to say something else-it had to do with accomplishments and my lack of! I have pondered this problem about myself for all the years of my life since release from the military! And, today I have on my mind what it is I feel has pushed me to return to this blog.

I had been advised by my psychiatrist to stay away from it-but my feelings are that of abandoning a lot of work! I also was beginning to carry a lot of other problems-the weight of the VA determination on my disability claim-the constant defending of my case-all the time knowing how the attacks in barracks D had eaten away at a normal life, a sober life, a life free of  the demons of remembering. All of that took a toll.

I went off to the sea for three months with hope to try to relive what I might have had as an 18-year-old sailor-before everything went askew.

When I returned-I found myself in a hypnotic trance-able to function but limited by having the world eliminated for three months straight…understand, there was no world other than the eighteen crewmen on the ship. 72 days on the oceans-only 11 hours on actual turf!

I had thought that I would finish my book while at sea but became mesmerized by the constant attraction of the white caps of the waves-and I had fairly much concluded this blog should come to an end. The ‘break in’ and theft of all my ‘Yahoo email’ stuff had maybe pushed that idea off the edge to be certain, but in my heart is the thought of my lack of accomplishement…after all, the blog may be about me-but it is not only just about me…it is about any person who is effected by sexual trauma, military sexual trauma-or not! I only know it from my perspective but can say that I am likely accurate on many survivors feelings!

I finally got off my seat after the recent comments by the congress guy who so full of authority spoke about a topic he obviously has no clue about!  It is that kind of ignorance that pushed me back a few years ago to begin writing this blog….a DVA representative taking the initial report on my rape listened to my details as I told him of the attacks-his comment was “gee, you never think homosexuals have a reason to rape each other”-his comments made me sick, and the comments of Todd Akin are just as ignorant and evidence of how UN-educated our society and our leaders are about sexual trauma! Worse off is the case of former Idaho Senator Larry Craig! Remember him? Arrested in a Minnesota airport mens room and pled guilty for soliciting sex. This man actually has the nerve to bill our government for his defense fund….an excerpt from one news article says:

In its complaint, the FEC contends the three-term U.S. senator’s campaign account, Craig for U.S. Senate, paid at least $139,952 to the law firm Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan in Washington, D.C., and $77,032 to Kelly & Jacobson in Minnesota for legal services related to his guilty plea to disorderly conduct….HE WANTS US TO PAY FOR IT!

You see…. many of you who are sexual trauma survivors-are afraid of people like this! I AM! Worse is-to think they are ‘leaders’ and representative of our nation, but they do not know everything!

Sexual trauma is not understood! The confusion of sex being in the line of thought-somehow makes it less harmful sounding, as it is known to the normal, sexual intimacy is to a comfortable and pleasurable moment in two people’s life. Being beat up or having a knife of a gun held to your head-or stuck in your body, and having your body ripped open along with your soul…is not a pleasure-I promise! Todd Akin used a phrase that determined a rape would have to be legitimate (and all this has to do with abortion-I am not going there) and for the life of me….what is a legitimate rape?

I prove this by the statements of the DVA jerk…gee, you never think that homosexuals need to rape each other! He is only a small fleck of the ignorant…it grows-as I recall my first open discussion about my rape(s) was several years ago in the office of a local Baptist preacher, telling him of my assaults he replied that “God has forgiven you!” almost as if that should completely wash away the filth of the memory! The associate pastor of the same church admitted to me that men my age revert to homosexuality as a part of our sinful nature! The idiot has no idea! His head-and their heads-are stuck in a sand-hole….I have not been sexually active in many years-realizing my own intimate contact ability had been broken along with everything else in barracks D….and yet, with out conviction, these men relate rape as a sexual activity-and a sin on the victims part as much as it would be on the attackers. These are church leaders, supporters of nit wits like Rep.Todd Akin!

For those of you who do not know…barracks D is where my assaults took place!

Around my home are many unfinished projects! Some only just begun, some just at the slim brink of complete, but not quite done! It has always bothered me that it is this way! I was not able to finish high school, and then the military…and once my DD214 was in hand-the truth in code to notify potential employers of my conduct…jobs were never available for me-until I learned to drive long haul trucks! What jobs were available my personality and fear of others would see to it the job was temporary, it is a fact-my work history was sporadic and spotty, I’ve had more jobs than industry! I believe the unfinished projects are a part of the tail wind of PTSD, it seems normal to me to keep things unfinished…but-

This unfinished project-the hope to facilitate a change in the VA and DVA system of representing MST veterans-must continue! I am afraid that I do not know how to procede…many of the contacts I had made over the past few years are deleted when my YAHOO account was wrecked-and robbed…and as I mention over and over…my connection to the VA medical system is over-a clause in my disability statement, no more VA health care for me!

I want to welcome-even beg for-guest writers,survivors of MST-PTSD, and supporters…this is your story too-and your justice, so please write as you feel free to do so!

My hope is to try to understand who really in Washington DC is interested enough to hear us!

PEACE…and-if you are willing to contribute, post your story in the comments section and specify if you would want to post it on the blog as a headline-post! I will copy and paste it for others to read! Thank You! and-may the heavens bless you!

veterans parade

June 13, 2011
veterans parade by jayfherron
veterans parade, a photo by jayfherron on Flickr.

I am inspired by a conversation I had this weekend with a fellow MST veteran. He said things to me that helped me tremendously,he told me things I had not considered fully. I did not realize how many I have reached,not for me,but to find a hope for a change in how Military Sexual Trauma (MST) veterans are received,and treated,when they are returned to civilian life!

I expressed to my friend that my blog had taken a dip from my own interest because I have no more connection with the Veterans Administration Hospital and therefore have no ground to raise issue . I’m not a real brite guy!

There are still issues! Serious issues!

I am very proud of this veteran,the man who inspired me. His conversation lifted me back on the track I was trying to leave!

Why I am proud for him is because independently this veteran appealed to the VA for disability due to ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ related to injury directly related to MST….and he was awarded 100% disability.

There is some justice,in fact!

But then in this case the VA holds re-evaluation rights every so many years. There are still issues!

This veteran and I both agreed that this was an insult. We both agreed the damages to our souls were too deep to ever heal, and PTSD is forever.

Of course the veteran can appeal and hopefully will. But why? Why should this ever be? We were the victims! This veteran was a victim to a crime where the only convictions were always on him, never was anyone convicted for the crime,never was the crime taken seriously, and as typical the blame was placed in the veterans direction…and it stands there! In the veterans possession is a paper saying “after some 40 years of your suffering steadily and full-time we finally agree you have been 100% injured,but might improve in a few years”!!

What an insult to think that could ever be so. While a criminal walked free the victim has to continue to defend themselves? It is hard to comprehend how we can say there is justice in these decisions as many of them have come years too late. And that perhaps all will change in a few years. I wish I could encourage somebody to hope for that, but I can’t.

I spoke to a lady from a non-profit group that is gearing up to expose more of the facts of MST. She gave me praise for my courage. I have no courage-it is more anger…but, I don’t believe it about the courage. You see, even if the VA approves a claim for disability in your favor it does not mean you are finally free of the past that disables you! I am in a life long battle to remain sober,and yet my knees still have scrape marks from the times I fall down. And,I fall down. And then reality glints a ray in my heart and I try to pick back up again. And I do…for a season,maybe two! But I fall. I have been determined 100% disabled due to PTSD related directly to MST. Still…everyday,even this days beginning I remember the events that led to my rapes as if they took place yesterday. Why the reel must play over and over and over is something I can not answer. I don’t want to be drunk. I don’t want to be drugged. But I do indulge in these manners of escape…thankfully now not as frequent as once was, but then there comes a trigger of some kind that causes me to seek escape.

It is an insult to any survivor to assume things have gotten better! On the last day of 1969 I was told by the officer who saw my injury from being beaten up while being raped to “get used to it”. He did not offer any help, he merely chuckled at the fact of my demise, and expected me to just live with it. I have never been able to live with it.

So much was taken from us. We intended to serve our country, to defend the Constitution of the United States and our Flag. It was a ‘boy-hood’ must in my era! We grew up playing Army games with great pretend wars. We were enlisting to share the freedom of democracy to lands that had none. Freedom! And rights! It add’s to the power of the damage to us because we were there to be defenders, instead we are sore with shame. It is nearly impossible to speak of my military time without feeling the shame. Many of my friends served in combat, real combat unlike anything we could imagine as kids at play. One of my friends disabled from stepping on a land mine.

It is hard explaining our military time with veterans like that.

No. It won’t go away, and it won’t get better.

But despite it all…here is an MST veteran who lost a career and went through the mishaps of life because of PTSD’s help, who after many years of suffering has taken on the VA on his own, and was successful in at least the recognition of MST being a valid connection to PTSD.

All MST veterans should applaud the courage that took! And…should take the same issue in their own lives, because this veterans achievement is powerful.




river and stuff

February 26, 2011

river and stuff 034

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

These things are hard to understand.

The only way I can figure it is that over the past few years my mind was deeply concentrated on the final outcome of my disability claim against the VA (Veterans Administration). That concentration was apparently strong enough that it began to soften the effects of other aspects of what goes on. Last night as now for many nights,I have lost count,I slept a short while in my bed but the fury of dreams and restlessness due to pain but ended  up sitting the night out wrapped in a blanket and sitting up in a chair.

I believe what had happened was my mind was so deeply involved with getting the disability claim process behind me that the power it had consumed me with softened other sense.

I noticed a strange peace and rest began almost immediately after learning the claim was final. That has subsided. The nights have become worse for me.

My body is in pain. It has been for a number of years,but lately it has seemed more progressive in its manner of keeping me feeling bad all day. I believe that too has taken race for the blank space left behind after the claim was settled.

My dreams lately have taken a shift in size. No,that is not the right way to beginning to describe them,it more reminds me of being in one of those ‘crixmix carol’ stories Charles Dickens wrote,the one where the ghosts take old man mean out to show him what for! I am in these dreams and present as a bystander and witness. They always,always are in a prison scenario of the most hideous bizarre description. I wake from them four or five times,or more,as how can I count? I look at myself in the mirror days and seem to look so tired. I feel tired.

Nothing has changed,and nothing has improved.

Validation is what I was told the awarding of a disability would offer and likely bring.

There is some. I guess really it is the awe of the thing to have lived all these years with it (PTSD) and then to have it be made aware to yourself and to so many that it is what is wrong with me and to share with so many as why. The true validation came from inside, a Spiritual validation that I trusted faith and not a system of men.

Still are the same old things. I drink less,but that is because of my physical pain and I don’t feel like sitting up in a chair all night feeling drunk. The fears are the same. I have made and excuse each day for several why I don’t need to leave the property to go to the grocery store,or even take care of smaller errands. The anxiety is still exactly the same. I still have to prepare myself mentally for certain excursions. I hate finding myself in a place needing to pee. Restrooms are like entering a chamber of horrors for me liken it to being afraid of snakes and every restroom is a den of vipers. Each snake head is really a hand,and all hands are out to grab you.

Let me tell you the truth. I am thrilled to have the VA behind me…not as a back up,but as a past that I no longer am required to respond to. But let me also be honest, Other than being glad the process of the disability claim being over nothing different is in my head to remove the memories of barracks D and what followed.

I wish you peace.

the news regarding the class action

February 16, 2011

American flags

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

class action re:MST

February 13, 2011

freeze dress for Florida

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Last May I traveled to Washington DC by thinking there were meetings arranged with several Senators to discuss MST (military sexual trauma)…and there were but the companion in this was a let down and I separated from his company.
Later in the week I was introduced to Susan Burke (a Washington,DC attorney) and I wrote about the visit and was excited about her plans to file a class action lawsuit against the Department of Defense (DoD). This action takes place Tuesday this coming week.

I really have no knowledge of what the wording and the case foundation is about other than that when she explained it to me last May it sounded that the action was to hold the DoD accountable for the way rape cases are handled if they are reported to superiors and how they are followed through from that point. I assume to place the superior in a criminal position for not finding facts and convicting the criminal. Yes,if the superior officer keeps silent about a reported rape…that is a problem.

MST is only titled such because the event of a rape or sexual harassment was directly involving a fellow soldier,or superior officer,on or off the military base or station of duty. Otherwise a rape is just as devastating on the civilian side of this. Sexual trauma is a deviants assault,it happens in homes and in parks and churches and in prisons. There will never be a way to stop the evil heart of a sexual predator,so far as I can know.

It is true! There needs to be some standards changed in the military ranks beginning by making it rule number one that a rape charge should be immediately investigated to fullest extent. The time of telling the victims to hush up and get used to it should be long ended. I don’t think it is. I agree,if the superior that takes the account of the victim and puts it aside to hush it up,yes…that person should be held accountable.

Frankly I am not an authority of any kind to discuss exactly what a class action law suit is. So my words here are based on a layman’s thoughts. I have no room to be critical at all as far as the message the class action will convey towards an eventual change in the future. I am proud to know that someone is shaking the doors at the DoD about military sexual trauma.

The only problem is…the suit is limited to the past 11 years. This would exclude the Gulf war veteran,the Viet Nam war veteran and Korean war veteran and the World War veteran. I am just sad that it is so. I hope that there is something that just don’t understand about this. How many thousand of  veterans have kept silent of thier victimization over 40 or 50 or more years could benefit to be included in the acknowledgement that MST does indeed happen and there is a large number of veterans who have endured a life of silence and shame and guilt and despair that is a part of the post trauma that affects us since the day the crime took  place.

The military is a society just as any,there are all walks of life. There those who came from wealth and those who came from the mountains or the plains or the streets. There are the educated right along with many who finished school with a GED diploma. Smart folks and folks that have never seen a lawn mower. Good guys,and bad guys….leaders and followers,it is a society.  Just as much as we wish to stop crime in  the civilian society,the equivalent is in the ranks as well. There are so many parallels. As we do here in our community when a crime occurs there is an investigation and hopefully a conviction,which is a missing part of what happens in the case of MST. Mostly.

There is a difference too…as who do you tell and can that person be trusted to help. The military is divided by levels of  those you can’t speak out about,who would listen? The fear of ranks and the fraternal divisions and personality. Fear.

There needs to be an accountability.

But it goes deeper than that. A long time deeper,a long time deeper after the uniforms are folded away and civilian life returns and the nights are filled with terror in our dreams and our days are filled with anxiety and stress all  because of PTSD. It would be great if things went different in my case 41 years ago….if people heard me and took my assailants away and protected me and gave me medical care and held someone accountable. But it never happened,and I never will know if it would have helped. But it would have made some difference, it would have to.

What needs to be introduced is a new way to receive the MST veteran on the civilian side to guarantee sensitive care to the MST survivor.

An additional accountability ought to be assigned to how the MST veteran is taken care of on the VA side. The veteran will be a part of the VA system likely much longer than as a soldier and with out a doubt suffer longer than that!

Sexual trauma should never be divided into levels or lifestyles or considered a past event that would be better off forgotten,although I wish I could forget it but woke even this day with the event fresh from my dream.

Yes…the criminal needs convicting and held accountable.

 The MST veteran will be injured for a lifetime longer than a conviction will cover. There needs to be an accountability that covers the survivors life span as much as there needs to be an accountability that ensures swift and true justice.


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!