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 g.brents@aol.com.. I have dedicated this email address for such comments and suggestions.

Have A Great Day
Gary Brents
g.brents@aol.com