Posts Tagged ‘sexual trauma in the military’

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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!

WHAT NEXT?

July 1, 2011
088 by jayfherron
088, a photo by jayfherron on Flickr.

I am at a roadblock!

I have made promises to continue this blog in effort to continue to raise awareness of MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA and that MALES are victims too! Lately I have failed to keep my promise!

It is not that I am moving on…no,but that I am stuck! I have had acquaintances say to me that I have repeated myself…they not understanding that to keep the information current I need to repeat myself! However…I am no longer involved in the legal matters of my own claim/and case and have a total separation clause in my final paperwork from the VA…the VA no longer has jurisdiction over my life or mental health care! Therefore I am not connected in a way that I can be critical of the VA and VA hospitals.

I am still trying to survive myself!

Lasting living facts that will not go away is that there are issues in concern of those survivors of MST that have yet to have ANY justice in their lives as a civilian,a survivor…and a veteran! Pointing at this moment towards “what is being done to help the MST veteran?”

To repeat myself and my past and what had happened when I was told that I should file a disability claim…I went to my local VSO officer (veterans service officer) to describe the events in 1969-70 that changed my life forever. I explained to a male…a male unknown to me,but had all the suggestions of being an advocate…I explain how I was raped! To do this was not easy but was made even worse by the comments the VSO officer made regarding a rape between men as homosexual behavior (and therefore was sexual play) and equally were the comments of racial stereo typical ignorence….the man assumed that my attackers were black men,almost insisting such.

The later visits at the VSO office were not improved. So…how can justice be met in this scenario of ignorant bigotry?

It is no doubt that a change in how the VA meets the needs of an MST veteran must happen! Soon! Because we are negligent to the survivors…very negligent!

I am negligent too! Leading this voice along for several years and then seeming to drop the lead! I am stuck!!

I apologize. (although…apologies seem a dime a dozen anymore!)

There are many of us out there! There are so many who are still silent and the need to support and offer guidance is so important…but there is something else,the need to know the MST survivor veteran is not just ‘one’ alone…there are many!

Through this blog I have come in contact with many! I remain in telephone contact with about a dozen MST survivors! Some of these have decided to open a claim against the VA for post-traumatic injury due to MST incidents. Several have succeeded in seeing the claims to satisfaction where the VA admits the MST took place. That is a huge hurdle to leap for the survivor…the veteran,to at least have acknowledgment that this is a fact!

One of the veterans recently contacted me about wanting to post their own story and experience…and I encourage that idea very much!

It is not my story alone,although for a long time it seemed I was the only one this had ever happened to. I know now that there are many storys to be told.

My e-mail address is jayfherron@yahoo.com

Any survivor of sexual trauma is welcome to post! Any MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA survivor is encouraged to tell their story!

I PROMISE no one will ever have your email contact…as one may know,as one comments on this or any blog,the commentors email address is shown to the blog moderator in a personal part of the site…so,your email address would also be kept in privacy if one was to write me directly…I will copy and paste your words for encouragement to others!

We are clearly seeing more changes in the discussions of MST in the media…but not enough,and change may be happening in teaching that MST exists,but not enough change in how to see the survivor safely and swiftly find justice!

Please tell your story! You may help someone…one of the ‘silent wounded’ find a path worth following!

PEACE

better is little than great treasure…

May 18, 2010

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Originally uploaded by jayfherron

 

Another Proverb?  No…this is not a bible study…it is understanding what truth is!

A week ago I was in Washington DC-my trip was intended to speak  on behalf of veterans of military service who have suffered at the hands of fellow service members because of sexual trauma.

My fears of large buildings and public restrooms had to be put aside but my anxiety prevented that from happening…that is up until I found the dime in my suitcase when prepping for the trip.

The dime-as many know-has become a symbol to me from an experience some years ago. The symbol of safety and almost as if it were a miniature shield.

The sign of the dime was not perfectly clear until the end of my trip.

I had gone to DC to hopefully draw attention to our SILENT WOUNDED with those who can make a difference-our legislatures. I learned quickly the person I had partnered with was not who I felt very comfortable with-and I departed ways.

The feeling I had been that this was not right and the conversations we were having were not fully in the interest of MST survivors. I could hear the other man speak but my ears were going into a mumble-my heart said to exit this place swiftly and to separate from this other messenger as fast as I can.

Following me to the street was the photojournalist that is documenting several MST survivors, she asked if I felt I had made the right decision? I had and told her I made my decision because of Spiritual guidance and instinct…better is little than great treasure,was my explanation!

That is not hard to understand! It meant to me right then that it was better to cut and run before any more of these meetings took place. I held in my hands the responsibility of the words in statements from other survivors-and I was not going to mingle them in with this individuals agenda!

But…what about DC and seeing the Senators? Or seeing members of Congress? wasn’t this trip about seeking the hope of change?

The DIME! There was a significance in finding that dime! Great significance-which took the shingles from my eyes so I could see the purpose.

Some of the veterans who wrote statements for this trip are also men and woman who I have telephone contact with. I promised I would keep each step of my trip up to date with them. One of the veterans I spoke to mentioned the name of an attorney-her office was right there in the city!

One only needs to do a ‘google’ on the name Susan Burke PLLC to learn the power in what took place! The dime began to shine!

sburke@burkeoneil.com is seeking the written statements from Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivors. Susan Burke is writing a class action lawsuit against the Department of Defense (and hopefully the Veterans Administration) to force them to be accountable for every MST survivors case-properly!

I am invited to sit at round table discussions as to how to express every detail. This will require many more trips to our Nations Capital.

The dime? Ah yes…this was the reason I found the dime! Remember how my story went about finding my first spiritual dime? I explained that when as a boy visiting my grandparents in Washington DC (my grandparents are now buried in Arlington Cemetery) my grandmother would give us ‘car fare’…which was a small hand full of dimes. That is what it cost for streetcars then-and we would catch a car to the museums and travel all around the city. Peculiar to me…Susan Burkes office is directly behind the old street car barn on K Street NW ! Another good sign to me!

Why is this better? Why better is little? Why not the great treasure? Better is little than great treasure!

I could have continued my trip to Washington and The Hart Senate Building and the buildings that house Congress and canvassed through the halls-making unannounced entry to the many offices. It is our right-these are our elected officials, as they say-our employees!  I was also invited to speak at the Congressional hearings-just two days away!

I learned more-just yesterday! I learned more about better is little than great treasure!

In anticipation of being expected to travel back to DC I telephoned Susan Burke and asked if my money was better spent by attending her round table planning sessions-for the lawsuit…or should I come to the hearings? The answer was perfectly easy to understand!

She responded by saying more good is going to come from her firm rattling the very cage that holds the answers for MST survivors-the Department of Defense. Her opinion is that the hearings will be political-she plans to attend but told me that there should be no expectations that any changes will come from them-she said none has come from the previous hearings. Why? Because many of those who sit on these committees are seeking re-election or have other reasons NOT to rattle the cage of the Department of Defense.

I had lunch yesterday with a retired professor from the University of Florida. He is interested in my quest for MST survivors hopes and I told him all about the trip-beginning to end. He affirmed the power in better is little than great treasure! He agreed that trying to sway the politicians will be a long trail to travel…his feelings agreed with what Susan Burke told me-they may listen,but the hope for change from them will be a long way away! Because…they may not want to step on many toes, but Ms.Burke makes it her practice to do so!

She has sued and won settlements for the Abu Garib torture survivors-against Haliburton and Blackwater. No small task there! Yes…yes yes I see the clearer picture now! I see the dime in Susan Brurke-I see the message of better is little than great treasure…I see exactly what is the truth!

I believe ALL of us who have survived MST will agree that monetary payments will never suffice to return our lives and our piece of mind and spirit…no payment can ever heal the trauma my mind endures each day from an event 40 years ago,so I know it most likely can’t heal yours.

What will make a difference is if WE can create a movement to change the values of the Department of Defense and the policies that have shoveled our cases aside into a corner-if we can change the way MST veterans are responded to through the Veterans Administration-if we can change this for future survivors! Yes,sadly human nature and the deviance of others will never really ever change. There is no way our society will ever see an end to these crimes…even in our military. But we can change the way MST survivors are responded to!  We can force the Department of Defense to handle every MST case with sensitive care for the victim-and we can force the Veterans Administration to uphold its end too…we suvivors have a legal right to permanent treatment-they do not give us that,and WE CAN change this!

 Write Susan Burke-add your statements in testimony and believe me-this IS the correct path to follow! Be a WITNESS against this crime and be a part of the change!

sburke@burkeoneil.com

Proverbs 15:16