Posts Tagged ‘VA Hospital Gainesville Florida’

the Gainesville VA lie-or-let us ice a stale cake

July 21, 2008

my kind of design
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


I finally heard it on the local news this morning-the Gainesville Florida Veterans Administration Hospital broke ground Saturday for the new BED TOWER.
They lauded it as an improvement to better serve veterans.Can’t be so… to have to ad a 250 BED TOWER is not an improvement-it is a sign of what is coming back from our problem in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The funny part of this story is that I’ve known about this BED TOWER for well over a year…my  connections in the local construction industry have brought it up adding that the entire strip of buildings on Archer Road surrounding the VA are all medical towers-the construction of these over the last few years have kept the trades busy.
The construction pal’s I have are not the sole source of the fact the VA building was being added to,besides the fact I have been treated there I also have long time friends that work in various parts of the hospital.
The grumbles from some of them are how the moves have interfered and complicated many of the routines…because to make room for the construction the VA has leased outside buildings around the city. Some of my friends had many extra miles added to their morning drive.
The local story’s on the radio have been icing on a stale cake.
They applauded the opening of a ‘new’ center on 23rd Avenue as an ‘advancement’ in health care for the veteran….it is a lie-it is not an advancement when the move is temporary and only to get one floor of offices out of the way to ad a BED TOWER.
And…it is not just one floor!
Prosthetics-which was once in the basement,where it has been for years….it is now way out on the edge of the city on a street behind a nearly derelict shopping center.
Tell Care-which was once up on second floor…moved to the same location,which makes better sense because ‘tell care’ is a telephone contact only service-so the vet from out of town hasn’t got to spend a part of his day trying to find the place. The other places for the out of town veteran are a trick to find if you are’nt familier with the city.
Mental Health….it too has moved-and was the move that received all the attention several months ago of how great the stale cake was-how ‘wonderful’ it was they were offering such an improvement to the veteran.
It is wrong to hide behind a cheesy false smile like that and expect the rest of the city and nation to believe it…and they do! I had one of my committee members point out what a wonderful job the VA has done to expand as they have…growing,and spreading out to better serve the veteran.Cheesy smile…
They never seem to look at it as where a veteran comes from…what has made the veteran who he and she is….it was such a cheery news report this morning…it too lauding the champion job the VA is doing.
That is NOT an improvement-it is a sign that we are soon to see the influx of returning wounded.
That is NOT an improvement. It is a lie! It is icing on a stale cake.

I am curious how my friends who work there feel-almost like going along with the charade.

Military Sexual Trauma-exists!

June 5, 2008

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


I remember the days when my sons were still in high school and the times they inquired about the future and college.
I can fairly say my income at any time was not going to be able to send my sons to college-but I knew enough to suggest the military,more specific-the United States Navy.
I actually encouraged my sons and several of the young men they grew up with to enlist.

My own few months in the Navy ended with me feeling ashamed about myself-all I really saw was my failure and my discharge was not offered the way that I wanted it to be…my hope was to follow the directions my ships education officer and finish school and go to one of the schools the Navy offered.
I was taken another place that many don’t hear about our service men being. A place called barracks D.

Barracks D was a detention barracks.
My crime? I really make no sense out it it when I try to explain it…there was no crime.

In barracks D-really only hours after I arrived,I was attacked and raped and left unconscious in a urinal trough.
The following morning an intelligence officer inquired as to why I was so bloodied up and bruised-and when I thought this man was going to help me,instead he chuckled and told me to get used to it.
I was 18,weighed about 120.

I thought this was because of where I was. There wrongly-I had done nothing to deserve being locked in with these men…it was my sense of redemption to assist my sons to enlist,to ensure that my failure was mended through my sons. I did not fear the same things happening to them because in my mind I was a the bad one and that is why I was sent to barracks D.
Yet,I had done nothing wrong.

It is hard to believe the rapes took place nearly 40 years ago. I am amazed at how the memory of the days of my Navy life have never gone away. It is almost as if it happened just the other day. I believe sometimes it is because I am locked in a time zone that was stuck in place for the time that I really missed-being a good military man.

To be honest-I thought my situation was an isolated thing-circumstance made it happen,and…it was not really anything to do with the military. I thought that for years-never really considering that my safety was never cared about while I spent my time in barracks D. I just thought it was the way it was…just like the man said “get used to it”.
After answering a few questions at the VA several years ago the interest in barracks D grew from just being a time that will always haunt me to the interest of the Military Sexual Trauma team at the Gainesville (Fla) VA ,where I met and spent nearly three years with Charlotte-my therapist.

I never once considered that rape and assault’s of personal violation took place in the military….I always thought my incidents were only because of where I was.
I was just 18…a life of normal sexual exploration had never been mine to try-to experience. What some deem as ‘sexual’ is not exactly of the way the nature of sexual intimacy is made,having someone force themselves on your person and rip your anus to a place it is often sore and always a reminder of what was once happening (which mentally happens each morning on my toilet)….that is not sexual intimacy,nor any other kind of gentle contact.
I never really got to explore that in the true sense of how it is supposed to be.
To this day-it affects me.

It was only at these meetings at the VA that the size of the problem was understood-this happened to others and in various situations to active duty military persons. Enough so that there are two full time VA facilities that treat only MST -military sexual trauma. One is here in south Florida.
During my meetings with Charlotte it was suggested that I file for a claim against the Navy for the wrongs that were done.
That process was like re-opening a big wound so that it will never heal.
The veterans advocate who was to be in charge of taking me to the hearings to attempt to earn me something of a compensation (how it will replace what has taken is not sure in my head) had such a bigoted mind he thought because I lay there and allow several men penetrate me-with force….that this was somehow homosexual conduct,and actually expressed such thoughts.

It was then that my attitude changed and that I needed to say more-to speak up and fight this. Hey….my case was as I said-nearly 40 years ago….and stayed in me alone,in silence. It might have been better to keep it in silence,but when the veterans advocate made jokes at my expense it pissed me off as much as it made me sick.
I began writing-and writing and as I wrote and had to research for my topics I learned that my case is not isolated at all…MST is a serious problem and it is growing.

Just the other day I wrote about Demetrius Busby-an ROTC instructor that had been assaulting a teenage male in his charge. In my research just to learn about Demetrius Busby I was stunned to see the numbers of ROTC so called leaders who had been arrested just in the last six months,for sexual violations against students.
That worsened the feelings in me-even at the high school level,military sexual trauma exists.
It is trauma…the sexual indicator deceives us.


The above article is among the most recent numbers to come feely to the people-I’m not sure I can say “to the public” as not many folks in civilian life are going to be reading Air Force Times or Army Times or Military times….so the information is not really published to edify the community in general…we in civilian life are not too observant to the whole of the problem. Me? I too had no idea until I started writing about how large this is.
I don’t want you to take my word-I suggest doing research of your own….seek out the truth,and then join me in my campaign to change as much as we can for the survivor and earn as much help for the victim as we can,because they are not recieving the proper care-only a number…that is all,only a number.

As with my sons and the many many others who walked into the recruiters office-they do so with a feeling of honor and a sense of doing the right thing-standing up for our country. We send our sons and daughters into the military with the thinking that this is a place of great leadership and disipline and do not expect to learn that the criminal element is even filtered into the troops….rape and sexual violation no matter where you are is a crime.
I am perplexed at the problem that exists and that not only are the crimes commited-they are often shoved aside.
That is so wrong.