Posts Tagged ‘veterans policies’

a conference and the anxiety

May 22, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This morning begins just as any other morning does with me-the mental inventory begins… the moment I awake I feel an anxiety and a memory of barracks D. I feel the poorness of the way I live and know it is a direct result of the way things happened back then.
I’m not too certain what I can pin point what sets it off-I just know that it strikes me as soon as I can think,as if it just had happened a few weeks ago instead of 37 plus years.
The trip to the toilet marks it for sure-I never miss having to think about it when I do the toilet.

This morning the ‘Sexual Battery Committee of the Gainesville Commission on the Status of Woman’ is presenting the 27th annual conference on ‘sexual battery’ (there we go with that sexual title) -which this years conference is called ‘Pathways to Healing:From Trauma to Recovery’ and involved in this conference is a ‘workshop’ (such interesting names) which is titled ‘Understanding Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
I am trying to build up the mental energy to attend.

I am a a member of ‘The Alachua County Rape and Sexual Assault Advisory Council’ and why I sought to be enlisted to join this group was to seek a stepping stone towards whom can help facilitate a change in how veterans who have been sexually (oh gawd-even I’m using it) assaulted are provided with the proper care when they depart the active role of military and enter civilian life.
My hope for being in this group is to bend enough ears to earn the audience of yet more ears to educate that there is a fault in the Veterans Affairs Administration where those who have been damaged by this crime while in service to the United States military-and citizens.
I am incredibly ashamed to be writing about this. My heart thinks of those who have done battle and have sustained  unbelievable injuries and deservedly should be provided with special care and help through their lives.
But yet,those like myself who walked up to the recruiters office with out any other thought but to enlist and do our part as Americans…we did not anticipate being hurt in this manner by the violence from the hands of one of our own.

There is no way to explain the humiliation it is for me to have every morning begin with the reminders of barracks D. To attend something so personal as ones hygene in something so general and usual as going to the toilet and come out of it with such guilt and emotional hurt….to have every morning begin that way.
And this morning-my anxiety level is on extreme high because I need to attend this conference and sit among a crownd and try to concentreate on the speaker and learn as much as I can.
I need to do this because of there being other veterans who need these changes so they can have justice.
It is ‘homework’ for my building up towards what I hope to present to this ‘advisory council’ I am on.
I don’t think that I’m going to have an easy time. I don’t know where the place is I’m going-although I know it’s in a church,I am postive it is a large building-ugh. But I am extremely hopeful that my mind can concentrate on the task at hand and not fail (and….I can fail).

My experience with the system the Veterans Administration has in the avenue of veterans advocacy is not arranged for the benefit of those who have experienced the crime of rape-or the crime of unwanted advances and touches….there is nothing it appears in place for these silent injured.
My hope is to try to bring awareness that we have a large number of vet’s who have have been harmed and keep quiet because there is no advocacy available for them.

I would have kept all this bottled up and to myself. I sometimes wish I had-now there sets a computer in my house and I am hopeful my words touch the hearts and minds of others and they think about what I am saying and will help bring this voice to a higher set of ears and seek a change in this poor system.

I was sickened when the reality set in as to whom I gave my lifes private history to when I was sent to by my local VA to report the rapes to a veterans advocate-employeed by my local government….the stupidity in his comments about how amazed he was to think that “homosexuals had a need to rape each other”….a comment of great ignorence.
How many more survivors are there?
How many more have to seek the advocacy of someone that bigoted?

I have to shower now-to get ready to attempt to go.
Another place where the reminder comes,the shower-the clean up of my days in barracks D will never stop.