Posts Tagged ‘veterans rights for military rape incidents’

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.


MST survivors-front and center

April 25, 2010

American flags
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


May 10-11,2010 may not be the exact venue to stand up for MST survivors! That will not matter-what will matter is-there will be a voice! I will be there in Washington DC to stand up for all survivors!

If I can carry your message to Congress:

MST /9950 NE 132 Terrace/Williston FL 32696



Even if a lone banner stood out-a garden begins with one seed!

I know I am not alone-and I know there are many,who like me,thought that they were the only one. I still can’t imagine it at all to where it could make any sense. I lived for 35 years before any attention came to the fact that I was raped while in the US Military. I had reported the rape the day it happened-but because my attack happened in a detention barracks it was shrugged off. I kept it to myself since.

Detention barracks? Yes…I was trying to get home for a holiday and was caught in a snow storm. I was unable to get back to ship for roll call,my bus was stuck at a terminal. That was my crime!

My post traumatic disorder of a life came to the care of a therapist at the VA hospital in nearby Gainesville,Florida. During that care I was told that I should find a sense of validation and appeal for disability benefits.

I reported my case to a Veterans Service Officer ( VSO ) in my home county (as is the way the process is to run in order) explaining to a man I had never seen before in my life-someone who is to be trusted as my advocate-how it was that I was raped and repeatedly abused for nearly two months.

The VSO nodded his head in disbelief-his comment after hearing my story was: “Gee…you’d never think homosexuals have a need to rape each other”! and he seemed to think this was something that only black men do – to rape young whites in a detention center. My attackers were white men.

I am angry at the ignorance of this man-his comments made the crime of rape sound like a sexual encounter…one I must have enjoyed-although it did not seem so at the time. Rape is not a sexual encounter. Rape is not anything of any kind of pleasure. Explain where getting socked with closed fists is pleasure-or having someone wrestle your legs with force…pleasure?

This kind of ignorance is everywhere-the way the appeal procedure is organized for the veteran to appeal for disability benefits. The veteran must apply for his or her claim in most cases an office staffed by those experienced in combat related or natural related injury. In most cases-there is no training regarding the sensitive issue of rape…no one wants to accept that it happened anyway!

The appeal process is carried to the Veterans Administration by the VFW or AMVets…again,someone who has no experience dealing with the sensitive issues of rape! The veteran is required to be sponsored by one of these organizations…perhaps the greatest for legitimate veterans-but those like me do not share that same honor. I’ve never felt right about any of my military service since the rapes-my life completely changed forever. I had begun my Navy life with the desire for a career-those dreams were shattered.

I am going to Washington DC! Whatever it is I have to do to draw attention to the poster I will carry-I will do. My poster will be the banner…


The lobbying events scheduled for May 10-11 are centered around ‘Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell’…I am going there despite that our issue is not company with that-I AM going because our issue is one of grave consequences on the effects of the suffering of an MST veteran.

We NEED to raise awareness…I will attend these two days in Washington DC to stand up for MST survivors!

If you have a message to Congress regarding MST and the Veterans Administration’s treatment of MST veterans-the disability claim process…a statement about MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA that you want hand delivered-send it to me and I WILL deliver!



March 20, 2010

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


The following words came to me by email-from ONE MORE – MST survivor seeking justice:  “It is always great to hear from you, more so knowing that your support is genuine and from the heart. The Attorney didn’t take my case because the VA changed the entire scenario concerning claims, he said that unless the claim was denied the Attorneys can’t take cases, therefore I would have to wait until then in order to get legal advice,…go figure! My life hasn’t been easy, alone, scared most of the time, can’t sleep cause of nightmares, anxiety, etc…..more so not having a close friend to take to makes it even worse…..that’s why I appreciate your friendship, your support and kindness means a lot to me, even if it’s through the Internet”.

This is another veteran-who enlisted in the United States Military to PROTECT and SERVE his fellow countryman-and to defend the Constitution of the United States.

Read what he is telling us! He has been wronged-criminally abused by fellow military personell…and is being told there is a rule that says he cannot seek his own representation against the Veterans Administration? What is WRONG with this picture America?

I too have been told this-I have in my hand a letter sent last year-it came from the Veterans Administration…it says the attorney that I selected to represent me was not approved by the VA and therefore disqualified to represent me in my disability claim for PTSD. So-I am supposed o trust the system to provide me with unbiased legal counsel…the same system I an any of us are going against-and yet forced to use their attorney lists? I don’t get it-please…someone explain this to me.

We were proud to serve our country-in my generation we were taught we were defending democracy….but what is democratic if we cannot find a person who we trust to defend our rights?

I said this the other day….how can we sit back and let this happen? I DID NOT enlist to suffer the way I do because of MST…I would be more proud to have been wounded in combat than to be wounded in the way we survivors have been wounded-and our wounds are unlike those received in combat…they are wounds of shame as much as they are wounds in our physical being and souls.

I did nothing wrong-why should I be treated as if I did? Why should we be isolated into a line of insensitive rules that do nothing to ease the pain-instead multiply it?

We need to stand up-fight those who attacked us and strike back…or we can just sit back and take it!

This is wrong…read the fear and pain in this mans words-and also see how his rights are also gone.

believing in government:class one

February 5, 2009

drawing by-jay herron
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


There is one thing I can honestly say-I know little about the government.Maybe I can say it even better-I don’t believe in the government.

I tried,I wasn’t always like this. Growing up in the era of the 1950’s one couldn’t miss. The pledge of allegiance was probably the first thing we were taught in elementary school.

As a boy I remember how on Memorial Day we kids could find a  ceremony of some sort  going on in the cemetery up behind the baseball field. In school we learned about our Presidents. At home we all sat in front of our televisions in absolute shock as we saw our President assassinated in Dallas that Thanksgiving season in 1963.

As boys we were given the suggestion you wanted a machine gun just like Vic Morrow as Sgt.Chip Saunders used on the TV show ‘Combat’ The TV commercials enticed us to be warriors,making sure we grew up to want to be real warriors.

It was the big thing as a kid going to stay part of  summer with my grandparents. They lived in the city of Washington DC. As always the trips to the museums were common-and in awe we would wait in the line to view the original Constitution. It was amazing even as a boy to have stood in front of something that old-and yet something as important the guidelines and rules of government that it is.

We were taught by the veterans parades that being a hero and defending the Constitution and the flag was proof that Sgt.Saunders was right on.

I lost all sense of what I was taught after my discharge from the Navy.  I wanted to believe like it was before I went in the Navy,but my experiences going through my life in barracks D failed to revive that belief.

I had once found hope in Jimmy Carter. When he ran for office there was an offer for amnesty to many who were discharged through Nixon’s drug amnesty offer back in 1970. Jimmy Carter’s son was among the veterans that fit that bill. I registered to vote and pulled his lever in the voting booth. The only time I ever voted in my life. The promise he made did not reach me. The letter written to him-by my mother-was returned with a rejection accompanying it.

When I began writing to offices of elected Congress people these past few years for veterans rights-for the rights of MST survivors (military sexual trauma) I wanted to believe again.

I had thought I had reached the peak in my search to find someone in Congress that would hear me-would hear us. I wrote the other day that I received an invitation to contact them months ago,urging me to make arrangements to talk about the issue.

I was contacted just the other day. The apology was made that the Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite was no longer on the committee that heard veterans issues. The offer was made to supply me with the information on the new committee-or at least the link to monitor when a new  committee was seated. I was also told to contact the Representative from my area. All this stuff I do not understand.

I don’t know how it all works. The desire to stay interested in it was broken right about the moment the officer I reported my rape to said to “get used to it”. To defend my Constitution was why I enlisted in the military. I was 17 years old when I signed up-that’s how much I believed. I left my military service feeling ashamed and broken.

Why should it matter? If an American citizens rights are being violated-why should it matter what committee someone is sitting on-a person in office in the Congress should want to seek justice and right the wrong. When I enlisted in the United States Navy-I did not do it as someone defending just my neighborhood,I did it to defend my country-I was not going to ask what region one was from,I was doing it for all.

I believe the civil rights of an MST  survivor are violated. I believe this because of the extreme distortion of our injuries in comparison to the legitimate war time injury. Not that I mean any injury is legitimate-but we enlisted to put our lives forward to defend our country,not to be assaulted sexually by our own.

A soldier or sailor or airman who has been in combat and return and are offered benefits due them for honorable service-and because they’ve been injured have an understanding ear to hear how these wounds were received.  The expected stories of combat related injury are not the same as the stories of an individual who has been raped.

Because of the severeness of the way rape effects a survivor-to report it has an immediate hurdle,who do you trust to tell? An immediate reaction is to tell the one you trust…in my case that one had little advice to offer…”get used to it”! Hardly anything that would compel me to trust again.

30 some odd years later when I thought I was able to trust again it was suggested to me to seek validation and justice through the VA system-to appeal for benefits said to be due me because of the nature of my injuries and what they had done to my life.

I went to one of those men who are able to understand the complex nature of war injuries-but never should have heard the nature of the injuries of a rape survivor. This is where our civil rights are being violated-because the way the system is set up is to understand and help a select group of veterans,but have no business hearing the sensitive details of a rape survivors life.

We have no where to go-and no one to trust. The man I was supposed to trust had no idea what to think about being seated in front of a male rape survivor. He could only associated it with remarks about homosexuality-rude remarks,and words that showed bigotry. He assumed my attackers were black.

To me-we should not have to be on a committee to be upset about something like this. The comments the Veterans Affairs Officer made  showed absolute predjudice towrds me and my case-a case eventually proven,but I hired an attorney who was capable of understanding.

It does not matter what committee you are seated on-the rights of many veterans are being violated. MST survivors are expected to sit back in silence because they have fears of coming forward for exactly the reason I state. Too many of us have heard the words “get used to it” it one fashion or the other-already the trust factor is defeated.

How can we trust again when no one is there is offer safety? And how can you trust when the country you volunteered to defend offers no defense for you? It should not matter ,Congresswoman Brown-Waite, what district I am from. I believe I am speaking for veterans that come from your region too…I am speaking for veterans from every place in the United States.

Veterans rights are being violated-survivors of MST have a right to be heard in privacy and in peace of being revictimized by ignorance. Veterans rights are being violated….hear us and give us justice!





February 1, 2009


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Tomorrow begins the first weekday of a new month,another business day. The month has ended a two month visit with the holidays and the business of swearing in our new President. Everything had been busy but now we have begun to settle.

I was very pleased to learn this past week that there were Congressional hearings taking place on the very topic I write about-MST (military sexual trauma). I was sad to see there was nothing written in the news.

I learned of the hearings by coincidence-I emailed a partner in veterans advocacy who at the very time she received my email-she was sitting in the gallery observing the hearings. She emailed me back-and I am looking forward to further conversations towards bringing attention to MST and the veteran who survives,the silent wounded.

I was sad,though,by not learning about the hearings from someone I have made many efforts to contact. I received a letter of interest from Ginny Brown-Waite from the House of Representatives. She also is on the Committee on Veterans Affairs. Her letter from September 2007 encouraged me to contact her office at my earliest convenience to arrange a meeting. September,October,November,December,January-has passed,we had one meeting arranged-oddly enough,it was election day-and that date was finally canceled by her staff.

I really would have been willing to stand in front of Congress and tell them what life as a male survivor of MST has been like and what it is like for all survivors. The fears and phobias and nightmares-those along with the loss of a real life,productive-sober…none of those were possible because of post traumatic stress.

I am disappointed that Congresswoman Brown-Waite has not been informed personally about the many times I have emailed and written  formal letters telling her that the civil rights of MST survivors have been hidden away-if not vacant altogether-asking her to invite me to sit down and explain how that is. Otherwise I feel like she would ask.

It would have been a moment of achievement to be able to stand in front of Congress and say to them what I have been saying in this journal. To be able to speak out for every veteran-and every MST survivor would have made a million differences in my life of trying to heal.

Our civil rights have been violated. This should be of interest to every American. We have been victims of a violent crime while doing our duty to serve our country. The reaction from our superiors and comrades was the beginning of this violation-many of us were told to keep it to ourselves,or to get used to it. Afterwards-we have to walk in our own silence,there is no one  safe enough for us as a veteran to report this to. Usually the knowledge a veteran has been the victim of a rape comes by accident. We have no one sensitive enough to understand our issues when we decide to hold the military accountable-and to file for a claim for benefits as the legitimately injured soldier does. The advocates in position to help the others have no idea or training to understand what an MST survivors life is like. They have no understanding that sexual assault is not a pleasurable accident.

I would think someone who is on the Committee on Veterans Affairs would have notified me-and invited me to participate after the many requests I’ve written to be heard. I am thankful for the testimony of the female MST survivor-it such courage,but we need to also show the male survivor hurts too-and that we are a part of the numbers.

what’s next…?

December 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

We come to the end of the year. To those of you who have read my writings you already know that the marking of the new year know that my life was changed forever on December 31,1969-about 0200 in the morning. New Years eve.

The things I relate in my story here are about my life as a male rape survivor. They aren’t just a journal about the attacks-there was life in between then and now….it just wasn’t particularly normal. What I hope for them to be is to express what it is like-to educate about one mans life with PTSD.

I never intended to come this far-to write about it. Once upon a time I vowed there would never be a computer in my house. I see that has changed. Still, I never meant to come this far. It seems it is not over.

What stayed silent in me for 30 plus years came out by anger over being prescribed drugs for my having bouts with depression. I had spent much of my adult life fighting drugs and alcohol-trying to be sober…mostly because I found the drugs and drinking my way of hiding my life,yet each morning-there it was. I had spent too much time trying to live life more clearer-to work at being drug free and free of drinking every day.

I was prescribed anti-depressant after a routine visit at the Veterans hospital in my area. They asked a question…”are you depressed”? and I answered “sometimes”. They gave me a bottle of pills-those pills made me feel high.

I wrote a letter to the VA Hospital explaining that I was not going to take the medicine-I told them why, just like I said here-why hide the problem with a drug? That was the first time I ever mentioned being raped.

My rape and continual sexual assaults happened while I was in the US Navy.

Because of this connection-the VA offered therapy and through that therapy I learned that I should appeal for disability benefits. I was told that I deserved them.

When I met the Veterans Affairs advocate who was to represent me in finding  justice-the man made comments that concluded being raped and male made the whole scene a homosexual event-he commented that it was “surprising that homosexuals needed to rape each other”…he also concluded my attackers were black and showed surprise when I said that was wrong.

After that I could not remain silent. I felt  violated once again. I remember the officer that interviewed me the morning of my rape saying “get used to it” when he discovered that I had been attacked. It wasn’t hard to notice-my uniforms were damp with urine-my face bruised and obviously afraid.

I could not believe the ignorence that came across from a man who was supposed to be my advocate and stand up and speak for me. How could he be sincere-he knew nothing of what I was telling him.

After calming down-my anger about this remained. How many other veterans-survivors of sexual trauma-have experienced this bigotry and ignorance? How many stay away and never say a word all because of the fear this would happen?

My anger made me buy a computer and learn how to use it to reach others-to tell my story, and to tell the story of countless others. I also learned how to use the computer to reach those who should hear us…the silent wounded.

We have made strides in our goal. I look forward to see how the coming year will turn about-how since I first bought this computer three years ago has found being invited to Washington DC. It is in Washington that I am hopeful to convey our story to those who can make change.

Just three weeks ago I spoke with Joan Esnayra who founded PsychDogs, an Arlington Virginia based foundation that teaches veterans with PTSD to train service dogs to assist them in daily life. I explained to Joan my experience with rape and PTSD and the experience I had with the Veterans Affairs advocate-I told her my ideas for change and how wrong it is to know there is a large number of military veterans suffering because of PTSD resulting from sexual trauma. Military Sexual Trauma-MST.

I also explained to Joan that I am hopeful to meet with Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite and her Chief of Staff to discuss this and how those survivors who are silent and suffering – have also had their civil rights violated.

Through this conversation Joan introduced me to Steve Robinson-via telephone. Steve understood everything I said-and hears us! Mr.Robinson will prove to be a valuable helpmate in our battle-he is the former aid to Donald Rumsfeld (former Secretary of Defense) who exposed the scandal at Walter Reed Veterans Hospital in Washington DC.  Mr Robinson has promised to pick up the rod with me after the holiday season returns us back to normal-and after the hub bub of the inauguration is over in Washington.

What is hopeful in all of this is that we can make a change in the Veterans Administration to provide those who are the silent wounded a sensitive ear and advocate to assist the veteran in getting what is rightfully theirs-justice, and equal rights!

To be among the silent wounded-to know the shame and guilt that comes along with the memories. I never thought my hurt would work towards this direction. I always thought it would be my secret-kept shut up with in. I never knew my anger would erupt like this-from the very facility that’s in place to help veterans came hurt.  But it has made me see the need to change this for every survivor of the humiliation of MST.

jumping the gun!

November 7, 2008

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Yesterday I wrote about ‘patience’….it seems I could have exercised more. If I could have waited one more day.

I actually find myself with out the words. I am in awe of the news that came yesterday at noon. I awoke this morning feeling different for once, so much can change in a moment.

The news that came told me that I am an injured veteran,injured during active duty-and that the Veterans Administration agrees that I was wronged 38 years ago…they agree with the facts and admit that I was raped in barrack D.

There is so much missing. The years…and my father. I will never have them the way I would have liked.

The energy in me is depleted. Yesterdays news had me on an high that had me completely exhausted by the time I fell in to bed. I woke this morning trying to think of what happened, and then I remembered the envelope that came from the Veterans Administration in Washington DC. The envelope contained the decision that had been hoped for since a year ago today. I have been given the truth in a just way.

It hasn’t sunk in all the way. I still feel the high that I felt yesterday as the news grew on me. I had to read the papers several times over to fully comprehend. The most important part-I feel like a legitimate veteran now…it has been officially agreed  that I am.

What this means is now we can go into a new direction. The decision by the VA Judge opens the door for others. We all have been given something by the letter in my mail. By ‘all’…I mean every survivor of MST (military sexual trauma).

This is good news for each of the silent wounded-that we can hold the military accountable for this violation of a persons rights and body.

I wrote yesterday about patience. Patience is easy to practice when it is waiting for something that you have never had. Patience is more valid when you use it to wait and trust in something for a long long time-when you believe in yourself, and you know the truth-and know the truth is always,and cannot change,then you will be rewarded by faith in the end.

I’ve always known the truth about my life. I’ve always known the truth about what happened. I did not know that the truth would prevail 38 years later-I just knew it was so. I’ve woken up everyday with the memory of barrack D for 38 years with shame and guilt in my soul. This morning I feel different-almost as if I’m somebody else.

I am unable to find words as this moment has me so emotional just thinking of what has happened. It is so long over due, why that had to be I am not sure….why any of it had to be, I have no answer.


today,and a year ago tomorrow and in between

November 6, 2008

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


I wish that I could write today about hope. I wish even more that I could write about the changes that are going to come. The only thing I can say is-patience.

I received a call last Friday from the Secretary of Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite. I know the call was sincere-she called from an airport…I could hear the noise in the back ground.

My meeting with Brown-Waite was postponed. I was even curious myself about the original date…today! After all, it is two days from the national elections. It was explained to me to be scheduling conflicts. Well, I suppose running for re-election is a scheduling conflict, and one I accept, especially since she was re-elected.

I was asked by the Secretary if I had contacted any other Congresspersons from our area. I told her I’ve been contacting representatives from Congress and the Department of Defense and who ever else would hear me for the last three years…and the Congresswoman is the only response that has come with an invitation. That invitation was to arrange a meeting-and we are going to meet.

Patience. Patience is hard to endure sometimes.

I would like to have written by now that there is hope in promises that people might hear your story and realize you have been wronged-and deserve validation. I wanted to share this hope with others-specifically other military veterans who may also be survivors and sufferers in silence. The hope would have been that there is a line of justice out there-you can be heard and responded to. That has not happened yet-I cannot write about it and  change the direction of what I write about in the future. Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of my hearing with a Veterans Administration judge. I would to like have written more about that, but there is nothing to write-unless you want to know that nothing has happened. No one has contacted me and said yes or no. It bothers me-because it is something I never had for all of these years. It bothers me because for 37 years it was kept within and regarded with nothing,no attention at all-in my silence. There was nothing to wait for…what it is was already there, and now it is topped with the need for patience.

I’m not even sure why this is. I do not know why it happened. I know how it happened. I just don’t know why it happened to me. It seems like much of my life has been a car wreck, but the experience I had in barrack D has lasted like a permanent injury.

I don’t know how to explain any of it. I was asked once what the difference was for me being a male rape survivor from a females experience. I don’t even know how to explain that-I only know my experience and have not not been able to understand others any more than I do my own. I do know-it has never left me.

I had hoped that tomorrow I would be writing something else. I could have told you that my visit with the Congresswoman was a positive meeting. I wanted to say she heard us…the silent wounded-and that we can see some hope in the way we are treated as veterans. I wanted to write that we will see a change in who hears our story and how they respond. I wanted to explain how our civil rights are being violated-and so because we have been violated. But,I must be patient.

I do believe the Congresswoman’s Secretary will contact me again. I do believe there will be a meeting. I believe what I am have been talking about in these pages is being heard-not only from me, but also by facts that can’t go away. The knowledge that MST (military sexual trauma) survivors are in numbers up in the thousands cannot go away-it can only get larger, and stronger if we continue to come forward and demand that they deal with it.

Little did I know as a teenager at 18 what life was going to dole out next. I stood in a great crowd of men at Fort Hollibird in Baltimore Maryland and took my oath to do my duty to serve my country. The Viet Nam war was in its peak at that time-at least in the knowledge of it and how it reached our youth. Many rebelled and many transferred their citizenship to Canada to flee the war. I stood in a great crowd of men that were all standing up for their country and were heading all branches of military service. The way I was raised and the era that I grew up in-we were taught to honor flag and country. That’s what I was doing. I have to be one of the few guys in life that actually enjoyed ‘boot camp’. I had tried to join the Marines. After boot camp I returned to the Marine recruiter and thanked him for his advice….”you’re too skinny to be a Marine”….”go try the Navy”!! I did not know that one day I’d be writing this.

My career in the Navy was less than a year long. My memory has been all that I ever know. Every day I wake up and what happened is still there. I can’t ever seem to remember a day that began with out my remembering. The details are so so vivid even yet.

I lived all the years since with a guilt and shame that was miserable. I battled self destruction-and ‘damage control’…where I would go out and seek the harmful contact of others. I drank and still skirt alcoholism. I abused drugs of all description. I abused myself. I felt that I failed and lived like I had. The list gets longer from here.

In all the times I battled drugs-I confessed to the Veterans Hospital that I was depressed. The answer they had was in the form of a pill…it was like a drug-it made me feel high. It really troubled me-my fighting to keep from being a drunk and illicit drugs was not easy, and the answer to a question that identified the need for help was given in drugs. I became angry about that and instead of keeping quiet I spoke out. Many times I wish I kept it to myself.

As you can tell by my writing that this is not something easily explained. It is so complicated because of how I know it and it has affected my adult life. It is complex in how detailed it is in m mind. Because…it is my life.

What I couldn’t explain about the difference between being a male rape survivor is that what the entire scope of things did in my life-how it has lived itself a lie in parts of my family, how it restricted my everyday existence because of fear and anxiety. I couldn’t explain why I couldn’t hold a job. For all the years that no one was interested-that no one knew, I couldn’t explain. I cannot explain why it hurt and deepened an old wound by hearing comments that assume I might be homosexual because men raped me-and the hurt worsened when jokes were made of the color of pen I was using to mark pages of a statement I wrote. The jokes alluded to my assumed homosexuality and they came from a man who is supposed to be my advocate towards final justice in that I was a rape victim.

I don’t know why this is. I was sent by a trusted person to give my account about barrack D to a Veterans Affairs advocate. This man was to take my information and walk me through the process of justice. Justice now 38 years over due. It was this advocate who made me afraid because of his ignorant bigotry. It was his comments that made me want to bring as much attention to this as I possibly could. And now it is the reason why I write about it here.

I had no voice before. The only thing I knew that I could do to reach others was to set up a computer and try to reach others via this electric wonder.

We that have survived MST deserve a voice. We deserve a lot more…and through this channel I hope to raise awareness and interest and support towards change as how we are shown the path towards our justice-to get what belongs to us…help!

I wish I could say more today. I think more is coming…so we must be patient.

finally at the door!

October 28, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It seems almost as if it has been planned this way-next week on November 6 I will be meeting the Honorable Ginny Brown-Waite,Congresswoman from Florida. It is one day day short of a year from having my hearing before a judge who heard the details of my rape and assaults. That hearing was 37 years over due….the answer is also over due.
I am not going to meet with Congresswoman Brown-Waite to talk about me.
My meeting with her is about the ‘silent wounded’…the silent and the scared.
The topic I want to discuss is what happens to those like me-the fears and anxieties that consume the life of a trauma survivor. Sexual trauma. Military Sexual Trauma.
I want to explain that many of the numbers that the Department of Defense offer as known offenses are incorrect-and only a guess. Many are afraid to come forward-many men and woman remain silent out of fear.

I understand that fear. Over the years I had to learn to live around it. It never goes away.
The Naval intelligence officer I reported the rape to the morning it happened responded with a chuckle,nodding his head and telling me to “get used to it”. That I have never been able to do.

What I want to tell the Congresswoman is that after living the way I have for all these years I finally found help through the Veterans Administration Hospital (in Gainesville Florida). That help was the first time I found a place of trust-that trust taken away by the VA Hospital…abruptly,as it was for a number of other veterans,also survivors.
I want to explain how during the few years that I was being seen for my ‘post traumatic’ issues it was suggested to me to appeal for a disability compensation. These appeals are handled by filing with the local Veterans Affairs office.
I trusted that idea. I was wrong.

When I met with the Veterans Affairs officer I was also met with remarks that were bigoted and racial. The ignorence of the man was too deep to fully reach. He was perplexed that “homosexuals had a need to rape each other” and was seemingly disappointed that my attackers were not blacks. A few weeks later more remarks came almost as if they were teasing me and I was going to get the joke-this time the room was full with others laughing along.
As you can guess this horrified me-and then angered me.

I want to impress upon the Congresswoman the need for a change in how the ‘silent wounded’ are met when they return to civilian life. We already know the numbers are high-but what has happened is too many remain silent out of fear of the same things I just described.
To be harrassed with the insensitive manners of an uneducated individual who’s job it it to hear the details of how a soldier was wounded is wrong. Perhaps it is so they possess the qualifications to take the reports of legitimate injury. By legitimate injury I mean those sustained while doing your duty-not those sustained while being forced sexually by a fellow service man…or woman.

I want to express to the Congresswoman that when such veterans do come forward and reach the proper health care area of VA Hospital that thier case should and must take a more sensitive route to be resolved.
To willingly enlist n the United States Military-to volunteer to do your duty to the country you love and live in…to do somethng honorable and yet to find yourself treated in the worse way imaginable,and then to be blamed for it-forever! It is wrong. And then to be unable to come forward out of fear-and unable to say that we are disabled too is a part of our civil rights being restricted.
It is those civil rights I am going to talk to the Congresswoman about.

This is for all of us. Let us hope God loosens my lips so I can say everything and say it properly.