Monday, December 9, 2013

Where Is The Trust?

It is said that trust can only come from someone who trusts themselves.  Likewise, it is also said that Love Can only come from those whom love themselves.  Although, these are true statements in my opinion, folks who look for trust, love, acceptance, and other virtues are often lacking in all or some of these.  Would it not be logical to assume that due to Sexual Assault, Rape, or any other form of attack, that one or more of these virtues are stolen away?  If that be the case, and since they are intertwined, would it not be logical to assume that one missing, make all of them to be missing?

Now in case you are wondering where that came from, Here is the back story, of the opening statements and questions.

A fellow co-worker came to me and asked me how and why could I be so cold, distant, brutally honest, and not care about anyone else's feelings.  She was asking due to an incident regarding another co-worker who had messed up and almost caused himself to be injured. I have to say, yes,  was very brutal and very cold blooded to the co-worker for being an absent minded.  But something else was triggered when the female co-worker asked me those questions.

Although I gave her a pointed review of a reason, I knew that was not the only reason, I did and said what I said.  However, A larger question entered my mind, about my actions and my re-action to the other co-worker.   For some reason, I wanted to quantify the reasoning for my lack of emotion, my lack of trust, my lack of connection; and most of all why I was cold and so brutal.

Now, I do not fully understand the answer I came up with, but it fits what I was sort of looking for; Thus, the questions of which I addressed in the opening of this post.  Here is what I came up with.

At 18 years old, and straight out of High School, I entered into the military.  I had fully thrown mind body and soul into my commitment, to my Country, My Military Brothers, My Military Sisters, and for either one of them, I would have put my life and limbs on the line for, if needed.   I was naive, and I was too open to do what ever it took to keep them all safe, within the powers given to me, by my God and My Country.

I had  put my trust in My Country, My Command, and into my Fellow Soldier At Arms.  I felt I had to, because I was to believe that they, meaning all of them, felt and was obligated to do the same for me.  At 19 1/2 years old, that was shattered when I was attacked by four Airmen, in my own dorm room and left to survive on my own.  No one came to my rescue, no one cared, no one acknowledged my questions or cries for help when I was able to ask for help.

Now, I was supposed to be there to have everyone's back, and when my back was turned, I needed someone to speak out, someone to come and help me.  No one did, no one gave a damn.  How in the hell can someone who just went through what I had, that weekend, say he would even lift a finger to help his fellow soldiers, who had betrayed his trust, the way my trust was torn apart?

When that attack was committed, I lost faith in myself, trust in myself, love of myself, security of myself, I lost respect in myself.  To me, I lost everything good that was once alive and well, within myself, due to the acts of other Airmen, who I was sworn to fight with and to die for, if needed.

The military is a sorority, a tightly knitted group of people, who are obligated to watch out for the other, and to keep secrets in the best interest of the "Mission", for which the military stands for and acts upon on a daily basis.  Secrets! The Military is riddled with them, from the top, downward to the field grunt.  Some you are aware of, some if you become aware of you can lose your life or freedom over.

The level of trust I had for not only the military and my fellow soldier, was nothing to lose; because then when the assault occurred, I had to question every fibre of everything I had ever known in life. I was put in a place where I had to question and distrust even my own actions, thoughts, feelings, motives and the love I had for myself.  Sadly, I still question a lot of the same things I did after that attack upon me, including my faith and own thought processes.

Now, over time, you build up your faith for certain things.  You gain limited ability to trust in what you have accomplished, you develop some level of connection with those around  you and yes, you even have a certain level of trust you vest with your co-workers and spouse.  But it is all conditional, at best.  One slip, you are able to justify disconnecting like the connection never existed and turn your back to walk away; without remorse or without any further thought or emotion.

Okay, now this may not fully quantify the lack of emotion, the coldness, the lack of trust, and all of the other emotions and feelings of security one would like to have, but it is a start for me. I hope it is for you as well.

You see, if in fact is was truly stated that one can only love, to the extent that they love themselves, where does that leave me and those who have and do feel the ways I do?  Since my level of trust is in question, by my own doing, how can I trust in the level of commitment, the level of love, or the level of any such emotions or virtue,, that is needed to find true happiness and security?

I have dealt with these questions and these emotions before; in fact, for most of my adult life, since my being Raped and tortured, in that dorm room.   Where does a man or woman find the answers to these questions?  is it with an institution who is ill prepared, ill equipped, ill qualified, like the Veteran's Administration?  Or in the hands of a Government who's past is littered in repeated responses which equal the "I do Not Give A Damn!" attitudes?

I wish sometimes this vicious "Merry Go Round" would stop so I could just get off, and seek steady ground..

Thank you for visiting

Sunday, December 8, 2013

There Is Not Enough To Help

According to sources, there are not enough counselors within the Veterans Administration to help the victims of Sexual Assualt; Especially, when those victims are male Veterans and Active Duty Personnel.   "Stars and Stripes", A Military News paper was quoted.

Of those victims, mostly have been women; but the thought is coming to light that the majority of actual victims are turning out to be men.  It is becoming more and more apparent that women are taking the background role on the actual numbers which are still ever-changing; as men are starting to come forward.  However, since programs for sexual abuse, rape and other sexual assault categories, which are being found to be contributing to PTSD, and also being compounded with other complex issues.

As It is, reports throughout the Congressional Hearings and other formal hearings, are showing that not only Is the Veteran's Administration not actually prepared for helping Male Veterans and male Active Duty personnel, to adequately treat or help; It is also coming to light that the current staffing of the Veteran's Administration is not qualified to assist male victims properly or even adequately.

Citing the American Legions reporting agency:

VA provides treatment programs for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to address the mental anguish associated with military sexual trauma (MST).  The problem is that VA doesn’t have a separate program to work with PTSD patients who contracted PTSD as a result of MST.  The reason this is a problem is because VA’s PTSD therapy is a co-ed treatment program that groups male and female patients together.  Trying to address sexual trauma issues in a co-ed setting, in many cases is serving to further exacerbate symptoms and in some cases discouraging patients from remaining in the program.  Some female victims have reported to The American Legion that this co-ed residential treatment program is not conducive to their recovery, and that there is not enough separation of men and women participating in the programs to feel confident they will not be victimized again even if sleeping areas are separate.

Jack Williams, a Military Veteran interviewed with CNN, a while back and his discussion fell upon one of the most prevailing issues within the already complex issue of Male Sexual assaults.. He, himself was raped by his Drill Sargent, on three occasions. He, Mr. Williams, asserted that after the third time, he tried to kill himself by hanging and was found in the shower at Lackland Air Force Base, in the barracks mob shower stalls.

It is estimated that suicides from Male Sexual assaults, are on the climb and at least 24 attempts and actually successful suicides a day, are coming to be the current estimates world wide, within the ranks of active duty and veteran military members.  This number again, was cited via the CNN interview with Mr. Williams.

Veterans Who Refuse To Report Rape:

CNN reports in an other related story that of the dozen or so facilities, which address Military Sexual Assualt, Nationwide, there is only one facility in the Veteran's Administration, that specializes in Male Sexual Assualt.   Citing or reposting that interview information,

It's men like Mr. Williams, who make up most of the military's sexual assault cases, even though they are less likely to report their assaults. The Pentagon survey found 13,900 male victims. But 76% do not file complaints.
"There's an assumption that rape doesn't happen to men, or they must have been weak and not strong enough to fight (an assailant) off," says Sue Garrison, a psychologist at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Florida.
Bay Pines is the only Department of Veterans Affairs facility in America that offers residential treatment for male victims of military sexual assault as well as women. Evidence suggests that men may suffer more severe symptoms and are less likely to get help, raising the specter of other problems, like suicide.

My Opinion:

Seeing and reading what Mr. Williams has stated and the statistics being shared by CNN, is being echoed throughout the nation and citizenship of statistics, being published and questioned in the United States Capital, to this date.  Every where I have searched for programs and for information, I see reports and interviews of persons who have been sexually abused, raped, and been the target of sexual misconduct or contact, while being in the military ranks, on active duty or on deployment while in the Reserves, serving in a war and in peace time.

It is, and has been, apparent to me the lack of willingness to help on the part of the Veteran's Administration at the Loma Linda, Ca. Veteran's Hospital as well as at the Clinic where I go for help.  Although the people there are wonderful as people, they are only versed in typical PTSD Treatments, or should I say "Generalized PTSD Treatments", and not specific towards inclusion of male Sexual Assualt/Rape Victim assistance.

As stated above in one of the CNN pieces, most programs are group and co-ed type programs, which are at minimal standards, ineffective and counter productive to the recovery of both sex's.  Often times, I have heard that re-traumatization of victims are all too often events, by VA policies and practices.   I am not sure of what the woman's program entails, but as far as I have seen and heard, the Veterans Administration lumps Male Sexual Assault Victims are having their treatment programs broken into two categories..

First, the men are being told to attend group sessions, which are typically co-ed, and based in Sexual Assault and Rape.  Both parties are claiming re-traumatization, on a repeated basis and then left to pick up the pieces, on their own after leaving the sessions.  In some cases, it has been found that within a short time, one or more of the counseling session participants end up seeking medical assistance for anxiety or severe depressive panic attacks.

The Second Treatment that the Male Sexual Assault Victim is subjected to, is PTSD Group Sessions.  These are also group sessions, which include not only other sexual assault victims, but also PTSD war time victims.  This is usually demoralizing and again re-traumatizing to the sexual assault victim. 

Typically, and In my case, It is demoralizing, humiliating, depressive, shamefully abusive, in these settings, as a sexual assault victim is made to listen to the horrors of the war, details of things that usually would stand as a Male Warrior Badge of Courage, being flown in the sexual assault victims face, and then to have the participants whisper, talk and even out-right degrade the fact that the Male Victim was weak or incapable of fighting off the attacks, from fellow service members or even one complete stranger. 

So, throughout the current standing of the Male Sexual Assault Victim is more repressive, sometimes, than the actual assault they were subjected to, in the first place.  The sum of this opinion is that the Veteran male, who is claiming that he was sexually assaulted/Raped, is worse off under the current therapeutic atmosphere of the Veterans Administration.

It is my belief that current therapists are scared, and often put off seeing those men who claim to have been victimized, by unwanted sexual contact, Sexual Assault and Rape.  So, Scared that they, the therapists, put off seeing the victim by shifting of appointments with out notice, or shortening meetings/appointment time frames; which again makes me feel like more of a Virus and less worthy, on top of the already low opinions I have of myself; and I am sure that other victims have of themselves.

It is beyond me, that the Veteran's Administration does not realize that they just do not have the programs and allow resources to other, outside programs to be funded with VA budgeted dollars, so we as victims can get the help we need. 

Your thoughts and input would be greatly appreciated.  Please join my mailing list, and also leave a comment.  Also, if you can drop me a message you can reach me at I have dedicated this email address for such comments and suggestions.

Have A Great Day
Gary Brents

PTSD And The Holiday Experience.

During the Holidays, I often become more isolated and less likely to want to spend time in large crowds.  Typically, groups of over 10 or 15 people, make me immensely uneasy and jumpy.  Since I still have issues with making connections, even family events are sometimes uneasy and some what un-nerving to me.

Now, I have not really identified what triggers my attacks, or what makes me more or less un-easy, I sometimes feel skipping events more of a comfortable setting than participating in family get-togethers, or company parties.  I live in fear of having an anxiety attack, or of something triggering an episode of aggression or even to find myself in an all out panic attack.

Holidays, bring with it a heightened sense of unease and hyper vigilance that really brings a demeaning tone, to family get-togethers such as Thanksgiving or Christmas; where family is usually holding events in close quarters, with people moving behind you, all around you, in a form of frenzy to get the holiday spirit and events to come off just so perfectly.

As I have stated previously, I have not yet started my counseling sessions, with the VA.  Unfortunate that Dr. Hun seemingly keeps putting out my appointments, and has not seen me since my being assigned to her, in the Corona, Ca. Clinic, over Three months ago.   Because now, most of all I feel the need for her attention.   Anyhow, despite my growing distrust of the VA. and it's ability to assist me, I am eagerly awaiting to get on the road towards living a better mental life with my PTSD and other issues.

Back on subject;

So, due to the lack interest on the part of the VA. I have not been able to find what triggers my symptoms, or have I found a means of dealing with those triggers.  However, during the holidays when I do attend functions, I pretty much deal with the event in sessions and take the event in doses; periodically excusing myself from the event venue to go out and to calm down.  I typically will go and seat myself outside or in a corner of a room; as not to allow anyone behind me or to the rear of my peripheral vision.  Once dinner is done, I will once again slip out of the room and get to a wide open space or in a remote location, where no one would likely look for me.

Sounds Of Celebration:

The sounds of any celebration, really sends me into a frenzy at times.  Manic does not cover the reaction of  my mind or body.  As others are sharing the past events, since they last had access to the people who are nearby, they are eager to share past events to "catch up" on the times.  I think it is great that they were reunited and are able to share, but for me; it's not enjoyable.

Now, I know for me to state that the conversations are not enjoyable, is in no way being intended to be disrespectful.  But generally, I hear nothing more than mass chatter and the words coming from ever corner of the room, fill my ears to a point that if anyone is talking to me it all blends together to make a low, unrecognizable drone of noise, being mixed  with other conversations.

The shortest version, for me anyway, is that these types of events just puts me further on edge and I have to distance myself from the people at the event, and I feel like I constantly have to watch my back and the movements of everyone in the room.  If I lose track of even one or two people, I get very nervous and start feeling dizzy and more mania sets in.

So, How Do I Handle The Loneliness?

For me, the holidays present a special challenge for me.  You see, I enjoy cooking and catering, to friends and family.  So, in some regards I enjoy giving or showing my feelings for family, via my cooking.  Since the holidays are all too often filled with cooking and catering, which relaxes me; I am faced with a conflict, I must face when it comes to family events.

So, How do I handle the loneliness and the confusion?  It is not easy, but I have somewhat figured  a way to deal with everything, I have control over.  It may not be healthy, but it works.  the easy answer is that I cook while I am alone, deliver the food; keeping some of it for my freezer and for about a weeks worth of dinners and meals for myself.  The remainder, I decorate  and present it to the place where the event is going to be held.  Then I leave.

Yes, I leave and plan a day at work, letting others go home to be with their families.  I have pretty much been able to do this, over the years, spending the Holidays alone and spreading the Cheer with complete strangers whom are stranded with their vehicles, trying to get home to family and friends.  Seeing the smiles on their faces, after getting them home, or getting their vehicles running safely, so they can go about their routines, is the most fulfilling thing I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

Sharing This With You, Hopefully Will Resonate.

I know that my wish to become active in bringing change, within the Veteran's Administration, on a Violence Free Basis, for male victims of PTSD and More specifically MST Victims who suffer PTSD due to Sexual Abuse or Rape.  I know this account of my story and past, will partially if not completely resonate with your experiences.  I know this, because I also know that this is bigger than I, and that I can not be the only one out here, who is experiencing and dealing with this in silence.

I am sharing this with you, because like myself, I know that there are those who wish they can find a connection with friends and family, once again.  No matter what I say, or write within these posts, I know that there are skeptically eyes, peering through the words and trying to categorize the emotions and feelings I have, into what does or does not pertain to them.  That is fine, and I encourage that as well.  But  the bottom line remains, for those who have been sexually assaulted or raped, Things have never been the same and we all feel like no one understands our pain.

Unfortunately, there is no one who can experience or recall the pain that each of us feel.  No one can ever match the level of pain we feel daily, no matter how close their experiences within being sexually assaulted, brutally or not, we all have our own reality of how much that pain has or will effect us individually.  But one constant seems to be alive and well.

Loneliness, Our Greatest Fear; Our Biggest Companion:

For those victims of PTSD, in general, we all experience loneliness and the inability to connect with once very close and intimate friends and family members.  Oh, we try to melt in and go through the motions.  However, for someone whom has kept quiet for any length of time, these feelings can be significantly more complicated and overwhelming.  Especially during the Holidays and during Reunions.

Suffering in Silence is likened to being in a "Self Made Prison" that could never be matched by a physical prison made by mere man.  Our imagination and our own perspectives on our assaults, is made more solid in building barriers, around us which can not be knocked down.  At least can not be knocked down with out assistance of therapy, and our coming out and admitting that we were victimized.

Even If You Can Not Feel Connected To Others;

Even if you can not feel connected to others, there is one suggestion I can make.  You see I work for a  Towing Company, Here in California.  Doing so, allows me to work with strangers within a structure that protects myself and protects the people with whom I work for and with.  To some degree, it is regimental and controlled which allows me to connect with the need of others to obtain help.  It also allows me to walk away at my discretion.

Working with Charities in which you can alter the roles of  your involvement, brings some of the feelings of becoming momentarily connected; as you and the person you are helping has a need.  You fulfill that need, and they walk away happy; thus you walk away feeling like you made a difference.  Even if for a moment, that feeling of giving something with no strings attached, is like nothing I have never felt.

Doing this or something like this, allows me to feel like I can make a difference, on my terms.  It also allows me to witness the feelings of rewarding fulfillment, as I see that difference is anonymous and the person is one step closer to being able to accomplish what their life needs.

This Year, Is No Different Than The Last 30.

I sat in silence over my sexual assault/rape, for the last 30 years.  Now, to some degree, I have started a discussion of my assault, to hopefully make a difference in someone else's life.   The only difference I am seeing in my life, is that after these last 30 years, I am finally able to come out and open up a bit about my assault, rape, and self mutilation due to the trauma I experienced within the horrors of my attack and there after.

Although I have not directly addressed the actual events of my attack, I have skimmed over for several reasons.  One because of the fact that I do not know what age group the reader of these blogs are.  The second and most important reason I have not fully disclosed what has happened during and directly after my attack (by my own hands), is that I am not fully prepared to disclose or even acknowledge the actual events.  I call it Not able to face my "Demons, or dealing with "Letting The Ghosts Our Of The Closet."

So, this year, during the Holiday Season, I will be on the highway and by-ways, looking for that one person, who is trying to get home.  I will use all the tools at my disposal, to get them home or some where safe, and then I will shake their hand, and see their smiles of relief.  And that to me, has been and will be the best holiday, I can imagine in my current frame of mind.  Because seeing my family, and being at company functions, are too hazardous for me right at this point in my life.

I look forward to one day, being able to share both; Time with my family while not feeling so our of sorts, and then retiring to helping others on the road; in perfect balance.  I look forward to a time, when I can do both and feel satisfied enough to find some level of happiness in experiencing both sides of that Holiday Experience.

Thank You For Visiting.

Gary Brents

One Final Note:

If you or a Family Member is a Veteran who needs help, the following will be of assistance:  Please take advantage of this.  It is quiet Helpful with dealing with depression and other issues.  If you or your family is in sever crisis and are fearful of causing harm, call 911 immediately.

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.                         

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Survivors and Family; A Misunderstanding Leading To Guilt

For many of us, who have experienced Sexual Trauma, we have had to find ways of dealing with life, almost on a minute by minute basis.  Trying to reach the next minute, hour, or day; on what ever basis we can dredge up, which will give us hope that one day the pain and the shame will go away; and lay in the abyss of time, and happiness will fill our days with freedom.  For others, it is unfortunate that they find that giving up, and taking their lives is a far better than looking for answers, to find peace within their lives.

I will be the first to say, I have searching for what seems like an eternity for peace, with none in sight.  Frustration fills, within myself on almost a daily basis.  For all of us, and the families who has lost someone due to depression, My heart goes out to them.  But off all the tragedy which encompasses our lives, past and present, we still seek out our peace from sexual assault, that will set us free.

In all of our suffering and looking, we fail to realize that there are other victims out there; and they are not so far away from us.  In fact, you can say they are probably standing right beside us, holding our hands or holding our memory in their hearts.  They are grieving with us, as well as missing a day past, when we will come home and fill them with the person they are and have been looking for.

The other victim's are our families and friends, who knew us prior to our becoming victimized, and who are looking for us to come home and to be okay again.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our own circumstances and lives, that we forget or do not realize are suffering themselves due to a loss.  They lost us, even though the figure of our selves remain right in front of them.   These victims do not even know they are victims of our lives.. They feel guilty, but do not know why.  They are hurt, and do not even know how, but they do know they lost someone very close to their hearts and their lives.

They Don't Understand:

It's ironic, I have said these words over and over again about people around me.  Now, I don't know if I can change 30 years of suffering enough to acknowledge my families or friends losses in my event. However, you and I are correct!  They don't and will probably never understand where we are and how we became to be where we are. 

There is so much that we perceive or assume other's capacity to understand, that we also give up something when we do walk away and not try to probe into the families perception of where we have been.  What I am suggesting is that, if we ask questions about attitudes or observe past and present attitudes in public, by those close to us, we better can assess whether or not someone can handle our stories, our accounts of what turned our lives up side down.

I am coming to see that not only do they not understand, we as victims also don't understand; thus making the mis-understanding greater than it should be, on both party's side.  A thought just popped into my head, as I was writing that last sentence or thought.  Are we just looking for an excuse to push someone away or an opportunity to not recognize the fact that we are ashamed of where our lives turned a corner and we became victims of a Sexual Assault?  is the basis for our assertion that someone or group of people will not understand?

Does Guilt Have Any Basis?

Listening to someone who knows of my background and knows of my attack it dawned on me, when I replied to their assertion of guilt.. Actually, I realized many things in statement that they felt guilt, for what I had experienced and how it robbed me of a productive and happy life.   It was funny that I replied the way I did, to their comments about their feeling guilty.  Actually, it made me feel guilty, but for another reason.  Anyways, aside of that exchange I was compelled to share the over-all picture I saw flashing into my mind, and a question of:  Does Guilt Have Any Basis for existence?

Looking at reports and comments, made in generalized discussions, Both the victims and their families are experiencing what they call "guilt," in trying to rationale individually their feelings and actions.  People who are close to us enough for us to share our experiences say they are feeling guilty because they feel some sort of contribution to the events up to and/or including the actual chain of events of our assaults.  Some contribute their guilt, because of their living better quality of life, than we are due to not having to deal with the aftermath of our experience.

We in turn feel guilty for sharing our experience with those folks, and having them make sacrifices for our actions and emotions, causing them to act or not act a given way; which by the way was fine prior to our sharing our assault.

 This bantering back and forth, results in more damage than good, is not productive nor positive for either party.  In some cases, losses of wives, children, and other family member participation in our lives are often compromised. 
This also leads to more pain and destruction, within the various levels in which we have all worked hard to re-connect with friends and family, leaving us feeling that there is and never was a connection in the first place.  So, What is the answer to all of this "guilt" and feelings of guilt, felt by each party involved?

We Can Not Un-Ring A Bell

In a previous post, I discussed that as a victim, there are obligations and responsibility that we are and have been endowed with; in relation to our lives and those who cross into and out of them.  Some people take that responsibility too far, and some not far enough. I myself have been on both ends of the spectrum, as far as where I took and have taken this responsibility.

But as we can not "Un-ring A Bell," our action or inaction, is out there and we shared the events of our experiences with someone who now informs us of their feelings.  Lord knows the pain they endured, Just hearing of our pain and anguish for however long, we decided to share them.  So, Where does it leave each of the two parties?

When my friend told me of her feelings of Guilt, I immediately came up with a truth and the reason to post this discussion.   Here was my analogy of things, which blew my mind when I shared them with her.

What Has Happened, Happened And Can Not Be Changed

Looking back at the circumstances, of my Assault, No one was at fault aside of the full responsibility falling upon the four attackers, whom brutally beat on my body and then raped me.  No one else, beside myself could have done anything to dissuade them from their goals and their actions.  I was too drunk to do what I should have, and They were going to take advantage of their position intention.  No one else, has anything to do with the actual acts which were perpetrated against me.

I neither asked, for what they did, nor did they intend on walking away from their commitment to do their deeds.  "IF" I had taken a few moments out of being drunk, "IF" I was not trying to be concerned about my dorm-mate's coming home after partying, IF I had not come back to the Dorms.  My point is that no one could have kept me sober, no one could have locked the door behind me, but me, No one could have stopped the four from taking the opportunity to do what they did to me.

Since those are the pure facts of the matter, no one should be feeling any guilt, towards my life nor the acts themselves.  A bell that has been rung, can not un-ring it and then prevent it from being rung again.  You see, most crimes are crimes of opportunity.  Since this is a "fact" of life, these four men saw an opportunity to do what they did, and thus committed the acts upon me.  I had at that point no control over the events, from that point.  Whether I was set up by my dorm mate, or that they just had been stalking me, or what ever their methods of making the final decision, they were intent on doing it.

Choices Of Family, Friends, or Those Around The Victim:

We are all endowed with the "God Given Right" to make our own choices.  I choose not to rob my family of their future, or of their happiness, and especially not their accomplishments and over shadow them with my life's disappointments and events. 

I am proud of many folks whom I surround myself with.  I am Especially proud of one person in particular, who moved on to help others and had to deal with her own circumstances which were handed her, while in the military. 

Yet, she has dedicated her life to helping others who are struggling in life.  She made some awesome choices, as far as I am concerned and merit recognition.  She is one reason, I am now seeking assistance to live past what life dealt to myself.

The problem with those whom are close, is that they care and they wish to vest in you so much, that events that alter your life negatively, they take personally.  God Love Their hearts and Them.  But all too often, their commitment takes them into territory that is sometimes counter productive, out of their "guilt."  It is not productive to them, most of all; but also is not productive towards the victim's recovery, in any sort of way.  Often the family, friend or how ever you classify the person, usually does something that destroys or alters their life's course.  A course that all too often, robs them of their position and in some cases their lives.

What Is To Come?

So, the question is: What is to Come?  I honestly do not know.  Although I have shared a piece of my life, with you and basically shared my feelings of a discussion a close person to my life shared with me, I only hope she continues doing what she is doing.  She is making a difference in my life, and far beyond myself, she is impacting and contributing positively to the lives of others, just by doing what she has been doing.

I also, hope and pray that the mis-understandings between other victims and their families, friends and those special to those victims, will cease.  The only way to do this, is for communication and for at times the victim set aside, as best as possible, to become the support for those who are supporting them.  To let them know that doing and acting in an unproductive way, in their lives, impacts not only them, but you the victim as well.. Let them know you Love them, as best and as much as you can muster, and to let them know that although they may not understand, you appreciate them for caring and for at least putting forth the effort; as well as express your thanks for them taking the time to try.

For those who are family members, or those who know someone whom is a victim of Sexual Assault, Just Love Them, listen to them, and most of all do not judge them; for they feel that they have been judged already; not by you or anyone else, but by themselves and their world.

 Final Thought:

I Do not have anyone in my life, that I have been able to connect to!  I know there is always an exception to every statement, like the one that opened this "Final Thoughts."  My only connections in my life is with my dog, and my friend Tracie.  I know that I have nothing to fear from them, and I know I am not being judged by them.  I know that I am heard, and my pain is real to myself and them as well.

I would hope that by reading this, as a victim or a family member/support network member, that you can reach out and understand that those qualities are the finest of all things a friend can offer, when a victim and survivor of a Sexual Assault.  Please do not put yourself in a negative position, by being supportive in a negative way.  It will do more damage to you and to whom so ever you are Loving and helping. 

A Needed Thank You, and Well Deserved Dedication.

Welcome and Thank you for joining today.

I am sitting here, in what seems to be an overwhelming setting reaching out for a method of sharing with you my progress.  You see, since leaving the military over 30 years I have been what most would consider, to be in a state of Homelessness.   Well, I was somewhat forced to find a place to reside, which was closer to my place of employment.  Somewhere that was at least somewhat permanent.  So, last week I moved from what most would view as a stable place (with a dead-line), and finally moved into a place of my own.  Okay, well I do have a roommate and my dog, I am not in a place that is all mine, but i have progressed to at least a place to retreat from the world with a great amount of privacy; which I have not had in such a long, long time.  

So, I am now somewhat situated after a week of trying to get used to the new place, and the quiet stillness that befalls this place.  A far cry from what I have been submerged in.  Hopefully it will all enable me to strike out towards a new chapter of my life.  A chapter, where I also can progress exponentially, towards bringing some sense of normal life, to my future.

Okay, moving on. It brings to mind something that I experienced years ago, and not too long after my returning back to my place of separation, to enter the Air Force.  I figured to go and visit a family, whom I grew very fond of and even moved in with prior to my entering the military.  The kids in this home, I had grown up with for a few years and their son and I became close, as so did their youngest daughter.  Yes, every story of influence involves a woman.  (In this case, A very good involvement, I might add.)  I also became quite attached to the father, as well and honestly looked up to him, despite his short-comings.  The two sons, Kinney and Paul were a blast to hang out with, although I mostly hung out with Kinney before and after my moving in with the family.

The Youngest Daughter had always been a source of encouragement in my life. Since meeting her, she had caught my eye and my heart in so many ways, today I still can not put words upon what she came to mean and still means to me.  After leaving for the Air Force, she also entered into the Air Force and was stationed across the country from where I was.  I got bits and pieces of information, regarding her progress from her family when I called to visit with them; and finally we were re-united and immediately started planning our reunion, down in New Mexico where she was stationed.   Well, eventually she was re-assigned over-seas in Turkey and we lost contact with one another.  I some what kept up with her, via her parents on phone calls I made until the time I returned back to California, after I was discharged.

After a year of her leaving to Turkey, I re-visited the family and the immense progress this lady made was so good to hear about.  Her parents gleamed with pride, as they related an update on her.  The problem that I had was that I found that the connection to the family was somewhat gone, and that made my heart ache tremendously.  Longing for the feeling I had for them, I left with the elation for my lady friend, and a longing to speak to her; but as I got into the car, I had to  drive off, fighting tears and heart break at the emotions of losing the feelings I once held for her family members, and losing the connection we once had.

Many years later, I was blessed to hear from my long lost love and friend.  She has been a blessing to me in so many ways, since my meeting her as far back as I can remember, to this date.  And now, she was reaching out to me. about four or five months ago;  and we have been speaking ever since.  IN fact, she was the reason for my starting this blog and working towards getting the help I so desperately needed and still now need and am looking for.   To say that I have not connected with anyone, was understated; HOwever, in this case when we was able to get back in touch with each other again, I can say we connected and clicked better than ever before.  She has influenced a lot of positive decisions, a lot of positive encouragement, and has put into place for me a means for me to work towards a future of regaining control over my life, and dealing with my "Demons."    Thank You Tracie for Living your life and coming back into mine, you are truly a Blessing and inspiration to me.   (Tracie, you are such an inspiration for me, not for what you have given me; but for what you are and have given of yourself to others.)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Are We, As Victim's, Responsible?

It's early morning, here in California, still dark outside and traffic is buzzing outside of my living room window, as morning traffic speeds by.  I am sitting almost completely in the dark, with just a candle and the screen from my ipad, glowing in the stillness of my newly acquired apartment.   As I too started to get ready for work, I had to pause and make this entry into my posts..  Please do not ask why this came to my mind, only that it did and I felt the urge and urgency to post this.

I, like so many others who served in the military, am a victim of Sexual Assault.  I suffered that victimization, while in service to my Great Country.  I have over the years and even at the time, after my brutal attack, am angry at the world and most definitely at the military and my attackers.  What I have shared thus far, within my posts, is only the surface of both the events during the attack and the events afterwards.  I have primarily addressed emotions and experiences with you and not the detail of the actual attack.  I am not yet ready to ride that horse down the parade grounds, yet.

However, My attentions go to accountability and personal morals.  Both as a citizen of this world and of my community; and how the sufferance of my attack contributes to decisions and my accountability of my decisions and actions, upon others around me.  Yes, I am a victim.  I am not in the mindset that I am a survivor of anything, but a student of my own life.

So many times, I hear and read stories of those whom perform an act, commit a crime upon someone else; and when being held accountable, they use their victimization as an excuse to shrug or powder coat their actions or contributions to the events.  All the while, others suffer and those folks go out feeling justified for what they did, and their part in what ever act they were detained for.

Although our own victimization has casted damages upon us to bear for the rest of our lives, we are still accountable for every thought and every action we commit.  Even if those actions  cause the ill fate or ill feelings of others around us.  It is unacceptable to me, to see someone who was victimized, to lash out in some form and not understand that one day, they will be held to answer, regardless of their thought processes.

We as victims, know that we lose a stitch of feelings, a stitch of emotion and we have alienated others due to trust issues and I can go on and on about this.  However, we are still accountable for how we handle the feelings and emotions, the safety of, and the general ideas of others around us, not to mention the actions we take against others as well.

We made the choices, due to our being hurt, to isolate ourselves for what ever reason.  Consciously or subconsciously, we all as victims have made those choices.  Primarily due to some sort of self preservation thing, or what ever.  IN most cases, as in mine, I am finding that the primary vocalized reason is because no one would understand, or would be able to relate to me.  I have also heard the reasoning being that I am damaged goods.  I can completely relate to both of these, because I feel them both and Also, I can relate completely with I can not allow anyone around, because I have trust issues.

There Is No License, Given To Us;

Being a victim also means that we are given some basic rights.  A right to pursue and attempt to cure the cause of our victimization.  It gives us the rights to exercise our actions of rather to get close to others.  It gives us an authoritative right to become vocal, about the crimes or wrongs that have been brought to our lives, and to warn others of what could happen to them; despite their denials.  IT does not give us a License, however, to go and extract revenge, or to harm others in the process of our lives and then to hide behind the fact that it was stemming from our victimization.

All too often people need help, in order to deal with their pain and anguish.  There is not any thing that can be denied us, in that vein.   However, it is also our responsibility to those around us, to ensure that we  are not the cause of collateral damages to them or their property.  It is incumbent
upon victims, to acknowledge that since we may feel no one will or does understand what we had endured, we must keep in mind that by our inflicting pain and anguish to equal ours, is also not understandable; nor acceptable.. There is no reasons for anyone to inflict the sort of harm that was done to us, as victims.

Are We Responsible?

Are we responsible for what had or has happened to us?  NO!  However we are, as victims, responsible to others concerning our actions and aggressions.   Although it may be true, that our victimization may have direct influences upon our decisions, it is also worthy of reflection upon how we felt when what ever act was committed upon us; Prior to our lashing out with anger or passion towards another innocent person.

Although we are not responsible, for what happened, we are in like kind responsible to ourselves and others, to ensure their safety; even when we feel no one can relate to our position and our lives since a traumatic event.

As a victim, and survivor of any crime; we are also responsible to do everything within our existence, to reach out and ensure that justice for someone else is sought after and achieved, to the best of our ability.  We would have liked for that to have occurred, in our instance, as well.  But since it may not have, due to our own silence, or just due to the mechanics of the Laws,  We are responsible to ensure that justice is sought after, on behalf of other innocent people who are being victimized.

Final Thought:

Although I am a victim of what I perceived as the worst thing on this earth, which could have occurred, it is my responsibility to speak out, on your behalf and on the behalf of others who may become victims, to do everything in my power to help them avoid the horror,, I felt and experienced.

I submit, it is also every other victim's responsibility to reach out and fight for those new victims, not to reach out to create new victims..

Take Care Of Yourselves, and Bless

Have A Happy Holiday Season.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Living On The Run, When Can I Stop Running?

Ever since leaving the Military, it seems like I have been running, from life, from myself, from so many things, I could not even begin to suggest what all I was running from.  Living on the run, as it seems, was and has been a tiresome journey in life.  I often stop in retrospect and find myself wishing that the running, could stop and when I could stop running.

Almost everyday, I am reminded of what happened to me while in the Air Force, at Altus, AFB.  The Tiny room, which will and has been my own prison, within myself, always appearing throughout the days, since.  From the time I wake, brush my teeth, look in the mirror and comb my now gray hair; only to see sadness and scars from events that happened to me, back in 2004, due to an episode of my escalating anger issues.

I have always looked for ways of dealing with the scars, emotional as well as the physical, over the years.  I have always looked for a place to belong and to fit; as to allow me to put down roots and settle down into a meaningful life.  Although to this date, this has not occurred, where I have been able to settle down.  No,  In fact, I have been so unsettled over the years, that I have been homeless, most of the time since my Air Force Departure.

Occasionally, I would get into a place and stay for a short period then something would trigger a need to run some more; so, I would just pack clothes and walk away with no thought of wanting to tell anyone.. Just up and run with no apparent warning or reasoning.  I suppose between running, and working in a career full of episodes of seeing death and dismemberment of the human body, also has not been too beneficial to my already distanced approach to any living soul wanting to reach out to me, and become a "friend."

You see, I feel that the attack on me in my Dorm Room took away everything from me to a point that it does not seem any one place is safe for long.  I feel like since my  dorm room was the place where I was assaulted, what more sacred is any other place?  I suppose that staying too long in one spot, places me at more risks of having any sort of security.

The Sexual Assault that was committed against me, took more than just my feelings, my senses, my relationships, my life and my identity, it was humiliation in it's purest form.  And atop of all of that and more, My safety and security was ripped out of my hands, when my four attackers did what they did in my dorm room, to me.

To Stop Living the Past

I often hear that I have to learn to let go.  Stop living in the past.  These comments would come at times when someone would ask if I was okay and I replied almost ceremoniously, that I am having issues with something in my past.  I fail to see how anyone could make an assertion so "flippedly" and still smile afterwards at you, like a friend.  Especially when they have no sense of what I was and am dealing with, on a daily basis.

How can someone who has not been able to find themselves feel like they are okay?  How can someone who has had every fibre of their existence ripped and torn apart, say they have survived occurrence.    I read about people who are survivors of rape, and sexual assault. I wonder if that is really possible.. You see I have been a Victim for so long, that I have been merely existing, over the last 30 plus years, since my departure from the military.   I would enjoy just knowing that I have reached survivorship status.

I Am Not Alone

 You see, I know I am not alone out here.  Feelings of what I have are also feelings that are being shared by a lot of Veterans, in like kind if not at times worse.  How can I honestly say this?  Easy, Because I know that there are things that happen to people, that in their own way they feel as intense anger and humiliation, shame and every other emotion including being of degradation in the worst way possibly imagineable.  It is knowing that there are others, others whom have been brutally attacked, far worse than I; that keeps me going forward.

Living this way, is not romantic nor fun.  It, in it's own right brings all the same emotions back to the surface on a regular basis.  Some call it "triggers,"  I call it a nightmarish hell on earth, with a feeling of being in purgatory.  A dark abyss of  distance and rebelling against almost any form of connection with anyone, or thing.  I call it, going through the motions of life and pretending;  just to exist. I do not call it, surviving at all, from anything.

You may wonder if I am in a "dark place" right now.  No, I am living life like I have for over 30 years, since my sexual assault.  Not Truly Happy, nor Truly emotionally connected.  Today, the only thing better is the fact that I have started this blog in hopes of helping others, while looking for a means to help myself get through this mess, so I can move forward and take my life back.

I Am Sure There Are Others:

To assume that there is only one, is to assume the world revolves around only you.  This is a saying, I have held my trust upon.  Since I am not truly one to have such ideas or thoughts of this or any other world revolving around myself.  It is just that I am tired of thinking that those others are not out seeking what is there to be sought after; that is assistance for what ill has befallen up on them, and they remain in silence. That is  seeking out the life, that is rightfully theirs to have.

Because I am so sure there are others, I am out searching them out.  Well, sometimes strength comes in numbers; and I wish for them to know, that there is a way for numbers to be accumulated by just reaching out!  I am certain, and without a doubt dedicated in finding assistance for myself; but I also am just as dedicated to share what I do know to be true, in hopes that it will benefit those silent suffering, merely existing and going through the motions of emotion, to find their peace.

I honestly feel that by doing this together, it will assist both myself and them, as well as their families, live better lives together.

You have seen me write that since my attack, I have had no sense of happiness or life goals.  I am not sure what you would call this effort I am putting out here.  But I am always looking for the answer to one basic question that appears in my mind;  Living on the run, when can I stop?  I will further this, and assert the question; When can we stop?

Take care and thank you for visiting my blog,


On The Right Track, But Looking Like Derailment Possible

Good Morning;

Well some good news, and some bad news.  I will start by discussing the good news first;

As of late November, 1581: Survivors of Military Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Act of 2013, was received by the Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs.  The date on the voting to see if this will pass this stage, is to be set, at a later time.  However, sources within the reporting agency, govtrac, stated that the prognosis for this bill, is bleak, which is set at about 20% to pass.

Not sounding too good?  Well I agree with you.  However the reasoning for not passage of course is not clear; but what is promising within this bill is that the bill addresses "Male Victims of Sexual Assault," in some pretty huge details.  The Bill also addresses the matter of establishing and maintaining a reporting system, which will allow the Government to start funding programs, for Male Victims, in like kind to what is already in place for Female victims.  

It appears that the Federal Government, or rather the bill authors are addressing Domestic Violence, within the bill as well and taking a good look at the rates of instances where one or the other participants in a domestic violence matter, somehow is connected to or stemming from aggressions as a result of PTSD and Sexual Assaults, within the Military, is what I understand. 

What If This Bill Passes

It leaves me to wonder, what if this bill passes?  What is the benefit to us, as victims, both Male and Female.  Well, it is my opinion, based upon my understanding of the nine pages I read of the bill (included in the preliminary reports on govtrac, that the Military will begin screening patients for possible Sexual Assault claims, and this will also filter to the Veteran's Administration as well for those seeking health benefits after separation from the military.

Once sufficient information is gathered, a reporting back to the Committees involved,  will increase funding or adjustments are to be made, to treat and investigate further the actual number of cases; and will allow for continuous growth within the treatment options, given to care givers.  this also means that improved and more qualified assistance programs will be instituted.

Basis Of Claims For Sexual Assault And PTSD Related to Sexual Trauma:

Here is the "Catch 22" on this!
Now if this bill passes, it requires that all administrative and treatment records be openly available to claimants, to allow them to present a case of, and substantiate a valid case of Sexual Assault, Rape, Sexual Misconduct, etc....

Without reading on whether or not Commanders will be left out of the loop, was unclear to me.  However, It is funny and has been reported that the standard of PTSD claims, are different for those claiming PTSD due to Sexual Trauma, than it is for War Time, Non Sexual Assault Claimants.

From my understanding of the bill, and all of the research I have done, all that a war-time Veteran has to do, is say he was in a war zone, or experienced difficult situations within a war time atmosphere, and he automatically gets benefits.    On the Flip Side of this bill, we as victims now have to make a humiliating claim, be scrutinized, be put under a microscope and then have to prove what we are saying is true and correct.

Well, to me this is not fair and not equal treatment.  We were traumatized, while we served our country.  In most cases, on a military installation, while on active or reserve duty status.  It seems to me, that liability instantly attached the day we all vowed our allegiance to our flag and took an oath to defend our  Constitution, Laws, and our Nation's borders and Citizens.

In Some Cases, Sexual Trauma Victims Do Not Speak Out For Years.

Okay, so I like so many have not spoken about my attack, at all for over 30 years.  Let's see if we can recall dates, times, people's names, people we spoke to and also what clothes our attacker's wore.  Can you, as a victim recall all of this?  Probably most of your assault is quite rememberable, and probably can even recall the smells, the voices, the words and even the emotions you were feeling, if you remained conscious, during your attack.

So, let's look at the people you can properly connect to your claim.  The people you tried to discuss this matter with to try to see what could be done.  Okay, Great!   After 30 years, are they alive to be called upon to testify competently?  Are they even alive?  In my case, most of my superiors were almost 25 to 30 years older than I was at the time.  

Then even if one or two of your former superiors are found to be alive and well.  Great!  Then we have to rely upon a stale memory, if any at all, because they blew you off and told you that they were going to destroy your life, should you utter a word to anyone, including a psychologist you were sent to, in order to address anger issues.

Is it my imagination, that first of all the "Statute Of Limitations" has ran it's course?  Even if not, do you think that superior is going to do, or say, anything to jeopardize his retirement and benefits, not to mention his "so called" good name?

To add one more item in this discussion, let us see if our attackers, sold tickets to their attack to allow for it to be put onto Youtube, for the fun of it.    Because it would have to bear to reason, the Veteran's Administration is going to ask for the attacker's names and possible witnesses.   What are we to do, if we were "blind-sided" and do not have any idea of who was attacking us?  Further, how are we to detail how we fell in and out of consciousness, during our being attack?

With All That Is, And All That Maybe:

With all that is, and all that will or maybe coming, we as victims of sexual assault and down right Rape, in some cases, are still left unarmed and untreated, according to what I have read.  It is an apparent "Snow Fluffing" attempt, by the Government to allow them to say they are becoming more sensitive and more pro-active, in pursuit of treating Sexual Assault Victims, Men and Women alike.

It is sometimes unfathomable to me, to see how those who are remaining in the walls of the shadows, can actually get treatment and have that treatment and diagnosis, stated under the classification of "Service Connected" Disability,  under this bill and under the pretenses, of what is before these committees.   I do not know about you, but I feel like, since we served our Country, We Took An Oath of Office, We dedicated our Lives, we are service connected.  To further this, while on active duty we were attacked, either on or off base, we were serving our country.  In some cases, attacks happen on Military Installations, like mine was.  So, again bears the "ear marks" of Service Connection.   And in most cases, our attackers were Military Soldiers whom were also serving their country.  

Final Words of Thought:

In some ways, this bill if passed, is a step in the right direction.   In others, it may be the wrong step to make, with all the stipulations which will come to bear on us, as victims of Sexual Trauma.  I believe that it should pass, but be amended to address specifically the issue of "Burden of Proof" which lies heavily upon the one person(s) whom have had been made to suffer, to be shifted upon the Military to prove it did not occur, or could not have occurred.

Hope you enjoyed today's installment, of this blog post.  As Always, I encourage remarks, comments, tips and even most appreciate it if you would come aboard and follow my posts, on a regular basis.
I wish you and your families all the best

Take Care Of Yourselves,

Monday, December 2, 2013

Will They Get It Right?

I have been watching the progress of both the Senate and the House debate much of the policies and bills concerning Sexual Assaults in the Military and Honestly, like most, I am torn on some of the provisions within the Military Justice Reporting System Revisions.   But one question still remains; "Will They Get It Right?"

I suppose that only time will tell us, whether or not our representatives will get it right, and have this piece of Legislation put into effect.  However, I myself, am split on the bills and provision changes; which now sit in the voting side of the political machine.   Should Commanders and Superior Officers decide who goes before review or Court Martial, when another person claims they have fallen victim to Sexual Assault?

Here Is a man, I can speak very little of, who goes by the name of Brian.  He stood in front of our congress, from my understanding, only to do what I have started to try to do.  "Hats Off To You Brian!"  He stood and testified, and in his statements, he not only recognized that he was in the minority, but that other men also was in the same position he is in.  "Forgotten in the Processes of Legislation and Recognition." (These are my words, not his.)

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Brian Lewis pauses during painful testimony on Capitol Hill last March. Lewis told the subcommittee not to forget that many victims of sexual assault and harassment in the military are male.
There is some portion of conflict in my opinion, as to whether or not Commanders should be taken out of the loop, as far as having authority to pursue actions against an accused Soldier, on the allegations placed upon him or her.  However, despite this conflict within myself, I have to recognize my own experiences in the inquiry that I made, with my Commander, First Sargent, and my Section Chief.    
Threats were instantly made, almost like they were "Pre-Writing and Coached."  There was not one bit of hesitation on part of either party, in asserting their power over my position, as a Military Grunt. It was an automatic assertion, almost uniform from the top to the bottom.  The appearances of each saying and forcing silence upon me and my inquiry, was in an attitude of "Not On My Watch" type of tone.
So, what if there were some triggers that caused for them to react the way they did?  I am sure there were, but in spite of that; there should have been some added inquiry on their part to ferret out where I was heading on my line of questioning, and there were not.  No, it was a "Cut and Dry" response with nothing more to add or subtract, which by the way sent me spiraling into a proverbial "tail spin" which allowed them to find reason to force my departure from the military.
Okay, So what! I handed them the tools due to my "Acting Out" to gain attention, which led to my departure.  It is my opinion that if they could not handle the questions or the assertions I had made, there should have been a "check and balance" follow up of some sort.   What I mean is that the Commander and/or First Sargent should have been forced to forward a written statement to JAG or the OSI, and have their position made clear to them, as well as to allow those agencies to become involved to investigate.
Yes, you can say that it was all happening in an era where having to report one of your subordinates were asking about "male on male," sexual assault, and that it was just "taboo" to speak of.. Maybe, but I am not buying that.  There should have been a system, even back in the 80's, where some sort of oversight should have been in place to allow even the slightest assertions of victimization by Sexual Assault or misconduct, should have been double checked.
The Washington Post's article, a few days ago on the matter stated that Military Commanders were approaching victims and other soldiers to assert that they should not be taken out of the loop, or taken from having authority in such matters.  It was stated in part that doing so, will cause problems in the way they control their troops and undermine quick response to the assertions of Sexual Assault. 
I somewhat agree, but based on my experience I have to disagree.  You see, I feel that everyone has a feeling and an agenda, when it comes to the Military Chain of Command.  Depending on how you look at it, yes, taking this out of the Commander's hands is taking control away and compartmentalizes the matter from the actual norm of command control.  However, by leaving matters, such as this in their hands, brings it under suspicion as each commander wants their command terms to have a "Clean Sweep" of superior service and somehow feelings of that being attacked is over-shadowing the issue of Sexual assaults within their command.
Now, Personally, I do have an issue with any commander going to troops and deciding who can and can not participate in Legislative hearings, concerning Sexual Abuse and Assault based on them being agreeable to some agenda, to keep the matter within the Chain of Command, as it currently is.
As some of us know, Military personnel are not suppose to bring bias to any side of the political issues to bear, upon any subordinate or action which is taken.  The military is supposed to be an unpartisan entity. (Which we all know is a bunch of garbage, and politics play a huge role in the military, and always has; in my opinion anyway.)
In Closing, I have to say; We all have to make up our minds as to how we wish to look at this matter.  NO one should or can make that up for us.  I urge you to take what ever bias's or feelings you have, and jump on a search engine for some research and soul searching.  Especially if you are, a Sexual Assault Victim.  Neither myself nor anyone else should have the power to dictate what you believe is right. Not to say, they don't have the right to try and logically or fairly persuade your thoughts or feelings.  And this goes for the Commanders and Politicians, most of all.
Have a Great Day, and Be Blessed

Saturday, November 30, 2013

All Too Often, When Things Become All To Surreal

All to often, when things become all to surreal, we all have to sit back and watch ourselves try to make sense out of what is seemingly insane, and in some cases is really something which makes no sense.   Facing tragedy and trauma, is one of those times that everything seems to be so pointless and so unimaginably crazy, that nothing makes sense about the events that cause the human mind to become traumatized.

It is almost unbearable that someone has to chase their emotions and trace the paths which they were taught as children, were taboo.  In discussions of Traumatic events, I have found even the simplest of emotion become so out of sorts and context, that It is almost difficult to articulate what is going on in my mind.  It's almost like the mind and vocabulary does not mesh with the actions of communication, and a barrier begins to build. 

I am sure anyone, whom has suffered a traumatic experience and who faces pain, at the mere thoughts of recounting the events understand what is being said here.  I am sure that there are those who read this, whom will not only identify with what is here, but has actually lived it, as I did and do daily.   The shame of it is, is that one may not be able to put a proverbial finger, on what triggers it all to cause a given emotion or recollection to come to the surface, to wreak havoc upon the victims.

Depression, Anxiety,male sexual trauma

I was consulting with a friend of mine who stated that I was not forthcoming enough, in relating my experiences with Military Sexual Assault, and the relating PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress).  I do not really feel that I am ready to face my "Demons" in a full and outright account of what happened in that hot June night.  I have not really sorted or faced my emotions in over 30 plus years. 

A Pound Of Flesh Is Taken With Each Word:

I can relate that every time I come out, to discuss Military Sexual Assault and pieces of my brutal attack, not to mention my self mutilation in the shower a day later, which lasted what seemed a life time, I just fall apart on every word that stumbles from my trembling fingers.  After my previous post, in this blog, I have had to face a portion of my attack that knocked the wind out of my sails.  It seems that a Pound of Flesh is taken with each word of my re-account of my assault.

Tears streamed while I was writing and editing the post, and I could not cry out for anything.  So, I continued writing and spewed out what fell upon the page.  After writing  of the post titled; "How Many Must Fall, Because Of Their Want to Serve?"  I got away from the computer, and was feeling ill to the stomach.  Not to easily, I made my way to the shower and took a hot, hot shower; almost as if I was in the beginning of repeating the hours in the shower, that Sunday Morning. I found myself scrubbing up again, minus the steel wool and scrubbing brush..

 Dragging myself out of the shower,   I was feeling quite overwhelmed and almost paralyzed and dizzy.  I slowly walked the kitchen and for some reason felt like a ton of bricks, had befallen upon me; Pulling me downward upon the cold, imitation marble tiled kitchen floor.

I sighed and then put my head down as far as it would go and braced my head into the palm of my hands, unaware that my dog had been watching me and that he had come over to me and started sniffing upon my hair.  I slowly looked up with tears in my eyes, and saw something that really got to my heart strings.  My dog, a Basenji Mix, had tears in is eyes as he began licking my chin and cheeks, and began to whimper.

We Have Served Longer Than We Should Have:

You see, in hindsight of that post, and in reflection of what I think I saw in my dog was something real special, but can not bring it to words; even at this point. But it gave me strength to share this story with you.    I know from my own experiences and my own life, that there has to be more people out here, that have suffered being a Sexual Assault Victim, while serving in the Military.  Not just the women who have been all too often highlighted in the news of late, but also Men who are being stuffed under the carpet and kept all but silent from the system.  And to make it worse, those whom are still suffering in silence.

It bothers me, that we whom have suffered so deeply and so significantly from our wounds, both physically and emotionally.  Wounded Veterans go home with honor, from war.  Sexual Assault Victims go home in shame and with remembrances of horror, tragedy, loss and self doubt coupled with feelings of being defeated.  Heads hung low and with no apparent voice.  IN so many cases of Male Rape and sexual assault, not only do we suffer for the duration of our lives, we remain in silence with out our voices being heard.  It seems to me, that we have served longer, than we should have to serve, and in most cases are still serving with our silence.

Now, I know the common thread of our situation is being brought out by women whom have been victims, with a slight sweeping flight over the plights of the men. Almost like a mere "Side Notation" of the matter.   It is the matter of which many surveys and many revelations about male on male sexual assault in the Military, has been discussed as being more prevalent than our sexually assaulted counter-partners.

We can change this together, but not as a "Solo-Act" in search of a positive change. But like anything, we as men need to help each other to come to some form of support, to other men who are in my position and worse, whom are also trying to scream out and make this an equal field of battle, to get programs put in practice and place; to address not only generalized topics with generalized treatments; which are also designed for war time trauma victims.  To get specialized treatment to address those things a male needs to feel complete and whole.  Just in contrast with the programs of which are typically designed for women.

Yes, I Am Asking!:

The Benefits of knowing that this is larger than myself, is what has brought me to write this blog.  Despite the anguish, the public display of shame, anxiety, frustration, heartache and not matter the amount of tears I may let down my cheeks, to find a place upon the floor; I know this is larger than just me, and I know that there are still those whom need the same amount of (if not more than) the help a growing mass of male and female victims can seek out and help.

Yes, I am asking for you to join me in my pain; as I wish to join you in yours.  Let us join as brothers and sisters, and help each other find and gain the benefits we deserve from our extended service, as well as obtaining the assistance in dealing with our wounds, so we can move forward.

Yes, I am asking for you to join me by simply following my story and my blog; and let us gather united and bound by our own prisons, to simply voice what we need as one. 

Yes, I am asking for you to show me that you believe we can make a difference by simply filling out the email form in the right border, and follow my post; and if you wish join me in the Google + circles.

Yes, I am asking for peace.. Peace not just for myself, but also for you or a loved one whom is suffering in silence. 

One Final Word:
I have poured out more than I can handle, in one day, on this blog.  I will once again retire to deal with my body's attempt to extract another "pound of flesh" from me.  I will do this, as often as I have to; to let someone else know, they are not alone.

All My Best To You And Your Family.


How Many Must Fall, Because Of Their Want To Serve?

I wonder how many of these male recruits must fall victim, to male on male rape, or MST, before the military and the Veterans Administration take it seriously and do something productive, to come to the aid of the survivors of Military Rape and Sexual Assault?

I am sure that no one wants to join the military, to offer themselves up for victimization, at the hands of not only predators, but also suffer extended consequences of reporting the matter.  I am going to try and "skirt" around the statistics of Sexual Assaults, within the ranks of every military branch, in the United States.  Why?  Well not only are they not truly accurate, but they are at best just an estimate of those instances which were reported and where action was taken. Also lumped in those statistics are the ones which are reported and then discounted, to nothing more than a false allegation.

What Is Being Forgotten? Or At Least "Brushed Over." In All Of This)

The largest amount of data that exists, on the subject of Military Sexual Abuse, and all of the "lesser Offenses" included in such charging of those who commit the abuses, is at best scantly covering this issue, but talking about it to keep the public informed of the so called "Pro-active" stance that the military is taking on less than complete or accurate information supplied by commanders and actual court marshals that have occurred.  So, I beg to question; What is being forgotten?   Well the answer, in my opinion is "MEN" are being forgotten.

Men, according to the military's own records are supposedly the more assaulted group in the military.  However, the military and advocates are really unsure of just how many men are or have been subjected to assaults and rape, during their military service.  Why? Well mainly because of the fact that men are just not reporting the assaults to their commanders, or to their health care providers for fear of not just retaliation, but also fear that they will have to live with the stigma of being a victim.  In my case, I did not report the issue until just recently out of fear from having to face the proverbial "Ghost in the Closet."

Women, Traditionally Have Always Been The Victim's Model.

Women have always been the more widely reported victim group, in as far back as I can remember.  Not, to be disrespectful of that in anyway. In today's society as well as the culture of the American Male, it has been widely hidden that sexual abuse had or has become a part of their lives.  In many instances, it is now coming to light that more males, who serve in the Military, are victims of sexual abuse across the board; even with the current numbers being known this is becoming a nightmarish fact of life, within the Military Culture.

Again, I am not trying to be disrespectful here..  Women are and always have been coveted in our society as sacred and the male tendency which has been ingrained in most men, is that no matter what we must protect women at all costs. This is, again in my opinion, what should be happening.  We should be protecting our women from such assaults.  We should be protecting them even if men find that their wives, daughters, nieces, and lady friends have fallen victim.

With all said to this point, I am personally disarmed at the lack of attention that comes, when a male suffers a similar befalling.

A Reverse Of Rolls:

Is the Culture, in which we live, so set in "Roles" and expectations that when there is a variance from those "roles" that we just turn our heads and walk away?  Well, it seems this is the case; at least in my view and perception of this particular matter.    It appears that no one wants to admit that they have been sexually abused, Not even women.  The stigma of becoming the perpetrator, or instigating the events that lead up to the assault, was our fault and that we put ourselves out there..  My lord what were we thinking?   In most cases, the answer was and is, that we were thinking and had a right to think we were in a place that we were safe. 

It is now a reversal of roles, that men must suffer the consequences of those men, who in the past have scowled at women whom had been victimized.  Regardless of what our beliefs or our up raising has taught us about protecting the women, we as men have to recognize that we can become the victims as well.  No, I must rephrase that last sentence.  We must recognize that we have also been victimized by such assaults, and hiding from this fact,  is not going to bring our sufferance to any less of a reality.

Yes, as it is being viewed by the Civil Liberties Advocates as a "Reverse Discrimination" issue, within our protected and lightly viewed world today.  Advocates for Civil Liberties have coupled with Swan, in their attempts to bring more gravity to the fact that Men are being victimized in never perceived numbers, while serving their country and are being turned away from assistance and justice, in what appears to be the same manner women were, and are being turned away from since the civil war era and probably before that time.

There Are So Many Reasons:

There are so many reasons men are not coming forward, to talk and disclose their past assaults.  I could not even begin to speak on their behalf.  I know the reasons, in part, as to why I did not come forward with my attack, when It Occurred.  In fact, the one largest reason is the threats I received early on, when I even mentioned the matter to my superiors and was told they would destroy me and any chances of a career in the military.   In one instance, that threat included my future in the civilian world as well.

I knew once I started to try to pick up the pieces, of what was left of myself, I knew nothing in my live's past, would ever be the same.  I knew that I could never truly return "Home" and expect the same level of relationships, I left behind when I enlisted in the Air Force.  I knew that was all gone, and any hopes of sharing this disgusting secret, would fade as no one would be able to understand me, or what my attackers did.  I knew that at that point, I would forever be locked in a self made prison of secrets, facades, and excuses; to lead everyone away from bringing up the subject.

So, what is your reasons for not coming forward?   I know that is sort of out of context and out of what you may have expected, from this article or commentary.   But if you are a victim, what is keeping you from at least coming forward and putting your story on record, with the Veteran's Administration, to seek what is rightfully yours?

 Shame, And What It Took From Me:

Shame is not something to take lightly, nor is it something that is not worth exploring.  I know only that up to this point, I have not received the responses for help, from the Veterans Administration, here in Corona, CA. nor Loma Linda Veterans Administration's Hospital.  So, I have not received any counsel or help from them except for their desire to medicate, medicate and to give more medication.

So, I am not really sure how to face all the emotions and "ghosts" in the closet that have been chasing me over these 30 plus years, as I suffered silently in my own prison of shame and denial.

I look back at the raising of my step children, and their children, over the years. I look back and reflect on how I handled the times, in which I saw shame cross their faces.  I look back at the advice I shared with them to help them live in a better view of the world.  I suppose that is why I am working so hard to get this blog out there and get the word out, that Men Need to Be able to express themselves in such a way, they can deal with their own shame and disgust.    I started looking back at this, only a few months ago; giving credit to an old friend of mine, who urged me to get assistance and start the healing process.

Lord I know, it is not easy!.. I am battling with emotions, I have never known and the one's I have known about, are significantly multiplied in their intensity, to a point that I am over-whelmed most of the time, and go into panic attacks and every emotional break you can imagine. (and some I could not have imagined.)

Last Words For The Day: 

In closing of this post, I have to say; this post has turned out a lot different than I intended it to.  I am however, not going to edit it or change one word or assertion of this post.  However, I am urging those men and women whom have suffered at the hands of others, to reach out and let your voice be heard.  Put it on record, and know that no one can judge you, in doing so.  I am going to urge, Men Especially, whom have been wronged by your former or current commanders, or superiors, to come out and shout to the roof tops, what you are suffering with.  They may not want to know, but they need and have to know.

For those Commanders, First Sargent's, Section Chiefs out there, listen and don't judge because of your own narrow minded views.  These folks need to be heard, even if they are a Male subordinate.

Lastly, I want everyone to take care and Thank You For Visiting.