Sunday, December 15, 2013

Interchange at the End of my Career

I wanted to save, for posterity perhaps, this interchange between
 myself and my then Vet Center Doc.  This is the end of my 
statement to the VA that I then mailed to the doc, and her 
response. 

My letter to her was followed by my statement to the VA which is 
one of the first links here.
====

Dear Dr. L..

I had a very rough week.. and felt like I needed to write you a bit about it too.  Seemed if you have
 time to read this then it will save us some time and my having to say it all over again.
 I hope that's okay.

I have been working on my statement for the VA.. I'll paste it below since I'm not sure that you
 can get an attachment at this address. I did something of a Hemingway and decided to hole
 up with my laptop and some decaf coffee on Thur nite to get it done.  And I did. 
Until 2:30am.  All 10 pages,although its 14pt font. But now.. its done. 

The next day, I had to work with the severely disabled man I've been working with since Aug. 
 He is very unpredictable and had been known to have violent temper outbursts.  It takes all
 I can to focus and keep calm to work with him the past few months, but I've managed. 
 Fri though, I was very tired and feeling a bit beat up from the recounting of the whole ugly
 mess. Anyways... Joey suddenly started poking me and growling and roaring at me loudly
 in the movie theatre on Fri. It startled me and I asked him to stop and he did for a bit. 

Then after the movie, at lunch time, he started doing it again. Every time he poked me, I couldn't
 help but jump, and it took all I could not to just run away.  I told him to stop that he was scaring
 me. *sigh* That was the wrong thing to say in retrospect.  But I was jumpy and scared and he was
 throwing bad energy at me.  Then when I was driving me home, he poked me again several times
 and roared, growled and barked.  By the time I got him home I was totally shaken.  My back isn't
 the best, and when I'm stressed like I was, I have an even harder time with his wheelchair. 
 I got him in, wrote about the poking in my daily notes, and when I stopped at the office afterwards,
 I told the secretary about it It was hard to hold it together, and when I got to the car, I lost it and
 just shook and sobbed for a bitbefore I could get home. 

 My husband was at the house getting some things, and he was upset at how upset I was.  He said that
 he hated seeing me that shook up and that one of the last things he was going to do as my husband, 
was tell me that he felt I needed to quit immediately.   He didn't want me to have to go back and work
 with Joey even one more time.  He said he'd try to get some money to help us get thru till I am able to 
move at then end of Feb.  So, I called the office on Sat morning, and got the same secretary I had seen 
the day before. I went into more detail and she could tell how upset I was.   She apologized for Joye's
 behavior and I told her that he knew now that he could scare me and that I just couldn't handle him
 anymore. She said she could see that I was traumatized the day before and she hadn't wanted to 
make it worse by prying too much. She said she was sorry, that I'd been an exemplary employee and 
if I ever came back from Texas, to see if they had any suitable clients. 

  I feel like such a failure doc.. i can't even handle this guy... but. I do feel better that I don't have t
 go deal with him anymore either.  I hope you feel I made the right choice.. 

One of my friends suggested that I add a note to my statement about what happened and
 my having to quit, so I did. 

Looking forward to seeing you Tue,
Romana

----
----

End of my statement below:

It was of some note to me to realize after talking with Dr. L, that indeed
,  I have not been able to hold any job where a man was my direct
 boss, or even interview with men bosses since I left the Navy.  I 
thought I was just a failure and a loser like they told me I was.  
Turns out, I am not those things, but I was and still am severely
 traumatized by them beating that into my head, heart, and body.
 Only my soul remained true to me, and by God’s grace,
I have survived.



NOTE: Jan 7, 2012
Yesterday was a terrible day. on this statement all night. And then,
 yesterday morning, the severely disabled man I have been working 
with kept poking me, suddenly barking and growling loudly at me.
 I kept asking him nicely to stop and told him that he was scaring me. 
 He did this all during the movie I had to take him to, during lunch, 
and then while I was driving too.   He is totally untrainable and
 unpredictable..  After my shift, I sat in the car and sobbed, totally
 traumatized.  I wrote it in the daily notes at the end of my shift, and
 then I talked to the secretary at Indecare and then had nightmares all 
nite.  So this morning I called and quit my job working with him. You can
 also call and talk to Indecare ###-####, ask for Cheryl.  She can tell
 you how upset I am.  I just can’t make myself go back and face another
 day of it. I just CAN’T!!!

“I hereby certify that the information I have given it true to the best of 
my knowledge and belief”

 I emailed the full document above, with the added note in it to my
 Doc at the time, and I love what she wrote back.  
Made me feel like I had finally made the right decision.

from Doc L
1/9/12
to me
R, it sounds like quitting was the right thing. Having a man, even a disabled one, physically 
touching you without your permission (and after asking him not to) would obviously trigger your
 PTSD. I read your account. I knew there were more incidents but I had no idea how frequent or 
severe they were. I am so sorry for all you  have been through, and the toll it has taken on your
 life. I am here for you, and hope I can help you to get through this. Thank you for trusting me
 with this intensely personal information.  I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.

-----

 God Bless the Doc, she was an awesome lady for sure!

Over and out, 
Myst

Post Pension and Compensation Eval Catchup.

Greetings Friends and Readers,

So, on Dec 4th, I had my appointment for the C&P.  My friends J and D came to take me since K was out of town and I know I can't go to these things alone.  It was also decided that D would stay the night in case things went sideways.  One never knows how its going to go.

So I was fine until we got there.  What is it about those places that trigger the hell out of me????  Knowing I'm gonna have to tell the whole ugly story from beginning to now.  We sat down, and the tears just started falling as I felt the past sweep up and over me.  I could feel D holding my hand, and J, rubbing my shoulder.  Do you have any idea how mortifying it is to be sitting in a Dr.'s office weeping uncontrollably??? There were only a few folks in the office, but one of them a man, sat across from us, and stared at me.  I wanted to fall through the floor.  The tears got worse, and since we had gotten there plenty early, I sat and wept for about 45 min.  The man looked sympathetic and said "They ought to give you a pain killer for that".... well. I looked up, smiled wryly I think and said "Well, this is from PTSD, no painkiller for it"  He blanched and nodded and looked sad.  Sigh.  

Finally I got called in. The doctor said she would give me a diagnosis before I left.  Okay.. I've had a series of those before for the same thing, by the VA themselves, but I guess they feel they have to pay someone outside the system to verify what they say inside the system.   Seems like a waste of money to me, but, I suppose I can see the point.    

So, yes. I had to tell it all. From childhood though that morning.  It was... as hard as it always is.   My Veterans advocate Wendi had told me to feel that day as if it was my worst. I didn't have to do anything for that to happen.  In the blink of an eye, a good day can send me hiding under my covers, doing my best not to cave and drink myself oblivious like I used to.  I try to hang on through it.  So. I told her all.  Answered all her questions.  I could tell I had shocked her a few times.  Yes, the barbarianism of our own troops to their own brethren. She told me that I do indeed have severe PTSD and depression. Ya think????    She was very nice and kind and that was helpful.  These things I never even told my family or closest friends, I now have to recount to a complete stranger.   Sighs.  Well, now it's done thank goodness.  She did have some good things to day.   She told me that I should continue getting therapy, and working to move from victim to survivor to advocate.  She felt strongly that the advocacy for myself and other veterans would go a long way to helping me heal.  And I agree. 

So right now, the Military Justice Improvement Act will come up for a vote in January.  I spent time yesterday composing a letter, and looking up my local Representatives to ask them to support it.  I tell an abbreviated version of my story with a link to this blog.  I hope that if they do see fit to look into the true story of one survivor, it will lead them to help others by supporting this act.   

Other then that..  I've had a harder time lately with emotions being out of control.  I lost it during Hunger Games 2.  Donald Sutherland's character was such an asshatlying and changing rules, that he reminded me of the Petty Officers and Chief's that I knew while I was in who did the exact same shit to me.  And my life was threatened. I was told numerous times that I could easily get lost on a base that had hundred of acres of woods to disappear or be lost on. So it all really trigged me.  Poor K, he felt so bad, but it wasn't his fault of course.  The first movie didn't affect me that way at all. But I was crying so bad we had to go home after the movie as I wasn't up to having dinner out and being stared at.  

Then, this Fri, we tried a reboot of last weeks dinner.  And I was fine, till I mentioned a fellow MST survivor for whom the system has gone all wrong. Annnnd dang it.. found myself awash in tears again.  DAMN!!!   And the waitress gave me that look of both pity and not knowing what to do, so she just ignored me.  I woulda felt better if she'd asked if I was okay and I could have mumbled about service connected PTSD.  Sigh.  Again.  The past screws up the present.   As least I got myself together enough to go along for grocery shopping.  Thank goodness that K is so sweet and patient with me.  My ex could never handle the waterworks and made me feel bad for being so emotional.  But we never knew the cause like we do now.  And knowing sure does help!!!

So, now we wait. And see how long it will take the VA to make a decision on my unemployability.  I pray they grant it so I can get my teeth fixed and be able to be more independent financially. And to feel like I've gotten a tiny bit of reparation for the decades of insanity caused by years of hidden beatings and rapes.  

I don't feel at all Christmas'y this year.  Just... wary.  And waiting.  And hoping that my Representatives will do their part to change the injustice of the current military justice system.  I do wish everyone else a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

I am still here. I am still trying.  That's the best I can do.. but I hope to be free soon to be done with tests and trying to prove the truth.  It is what it is. 

Over and out, 
Myst

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What IS it about some folks that triggers us???

Greetings, RAMBLE WARNING...all over the place so just go with the flow.

I was at a party at an establishment last week with a couple of friends in a group of larger friends.  My twisted ankle was still hurting so I wasn't moving around much.  I was wearing my lovely black ankle brace.  Anyways, folks were circling around meeting folks and hugging friends.   And a lady friend brought a lady friend with her.   This lady is a AF veteran and worked for NASA.  She has her own issues with the VA.  The thing is... that she triggered me something TERRIBLE.  I have no clue what it was.  I found my eyes suddenly welling up ( she was talking about some of her military career.. but she had been a he during that time) and I began shaking badly. I squeezed my friend and 'service person' D who had ridden down with my other service person J, (they are both going with me to the Dec 4 evaluation and D is spending the night with me goes with me just in case I get triggered.)  But she had never seen it happen before.  Her face blanched when she looked at mine, and she said she needed to go to the restroom.  Sweet friend, giving me an easy escape.  But.. the doc say.. I HAVE TO SPEAK MY TRUTH, not cover it up like I did for 35 years.  But.. it is soo ssooo hard sometimes.  oh.. So.. I softly thanked D (no one else had noticed yet) and told her no, I was going to have to say something.  It was much like last year at the Vet Center Christmas dinner when the Viet Nam vet asked me what 'war' I had been in to qualify being at a Vet Center (since they were once for combat vets only until they added us Military Sexual Trauma folks, but lots of the vets don't know that, even though they SHOULD!  Our counselor Miss C says she always tells her male clients that there are MST folks here.  <grins> She is awesome... and so I am sure that she does.  Group is on Mon by the way, so I know I'll be able to talk about this incident with my sister warriors who show up, and that will help.  But.. for here and for whatever comments I can get to .. help.. I just don't understand what it was that triggered me.  As I examine it, the best I can say is that it is the energy.  Something about it just triggered me.  She said she had been in anger counseling.  <nods> yeah... i could tell.  Because I am a Reiki Master, have been since '98.. I am extra sensitive.  My sister friends whom I have spoken with privately have both told me that this particular individual has had some real problems in the past.  I would have liked to get to know this person, but I'm terribly afraid that she is someone that just triggers me too bad.   Oh. yes. what happened.. well... I had to share with this fellow veteran my own experiences.. and as I knew that, before I spoke, my crying got worse and a dear sister friend sitting directly to my left reached out her hand to me and said "Are you alright?" and I said "No, no.. I'm not... "   I looked up at the lady - C  across from me. and told her that I was a veteran too. a Navy veteran.. and that I had been raped and beaten all four years of my enlistment, and that I couldn't have kids after the first rape, when I was 17.  And that I had buried it all.  Well.. she was immediately very sorry as were my friends  and those sitting there.  But.. it was.. so hard to say the truth. rather then sit quiet.  I don't' know why she triggered me like she did. But neither of my two friends had ever seen me being triggered. By the way, dear K was at home that night and not with me.  C expressed great sorrow for my experiences and said she had worked for the VA as something like a caseworker I think.  Some of the evening and what she said got very fuzzy.  She offered to help me. She said I should have gotten 100% and not just 70%.  That I should appeal my 70% and press for the100% for my PTSD. I told her, I have an apt for my unemployability on Dec 4 and that could just fix it all. Else wise, I'll appeal that.  She said I should go ahead and appeal my 70% if I lose.  I don't know.  I have heard too much that trying to change your rating can cause it to be less.  We fight so hard for every point of percentage, that I was happy to be believed, happy to be granted 70% for PTSD from MST.  That was landmark to me.  So I don't know. I'll play it by ear. I am only visualizing this being a good outcome.

I am Praying for my Christmas Miracle. Not just for me.. but also now.. for my dearest of all sisters, Ani.  I can help her, her daughter and ailing mom have a much better Christmas the sooner I get the money.  And. I can help her on a monthly level just a bit too. The heck with other charities. I wouldn't even be here if it weren't for Ani.  I stepped out on this path for her.. and God has blessed me more then I can say.  Her journey has not gone nearly so well.  Because she came forward after being raped by her patrol partner and was thrown out dishonorably on trumped up charges.  She is working to have her discharge changed and it was denied the first time. She sent me a txt last night though that the VA service person she is working with has uncovered some 'irregularities' in her file as to her dishonorable discharge when it should have been honorable.  <crossing fingers and toes!!!>   But.. I want to be able to help her just a bit.

Anyways... <sighs> I am learning that as much as I might think I like someone.. my body reacts to some folks in ways that I just can't control. And that spooks the hell out of me.  To start crying and having a panic attack right in the middle of a room of folks.  Granted we got there early and I was in a far corner where I am protected by friends.  Its when a friend brings a friend.  There  was another pair of friend who met up with a friend of theirs, and the 3 of them came and sat with us for a while. Their friend didn't trigger me like C did... but.. I didn't' like her energy or attitude one little bit.  I've seen her at get together before, didn't care for her then either. But this was the closest she had been to me.  How do you ask friends to not bring certain folks with them to your table because they trigger you.  Can I get over it maybe?  I dunno. Seems overwhelming right now.

kk.. think that's enough for now.. Gonna go build something in Inworldz.

Over and out,
Myst

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Got a Date..

For my Compensation&Pension evaluation. 1200pm Dec 4, 2013.   For a point of reference, I filed for this back in August of 2012.   Its take a long while to get here.   
Now...I am .. nervous.  This is for the 100% unemployability.  I keep going back to that last day of work, when my disabled client kept poking at me, barking and roaring. In a theater, till I had to remove, him, in the car doing some shopping errands, during lunch, and all the way home.  The only blessing was that he was confined to a wheel chair. But he could also had seizures, so I had to stay close.  That day, he knew on some level that he was terrifying me.  He had no idea that it was because it was just like those four years of hell in the Navy, when the different asshates that harassed, beat and raped me.. like to do the same sort of thing to me.  Keeping me jumpy and scared. I've been having that nightmare where the client gets out of the wheelchair and attacks me like the guys in the Navy did.  So then I get up and eat chocolate in the living room and drink milk and try to get myself back from that terror.

I did get my letter back from my last employer that the VA said they didn't get, that went out in the mail on Tue along with a copy of a letter from my first Vet Center doc, because even though they have it for my PTSD claim, they want it all yet again.  They wanted the dates and address of the Vet Center I went to. Sooooo.. I included the great letter that Dr. L wrote me with the address there circled and stapled it to the require form with the letter from my last employer.  I will.. be so .. relieve when all this is over.  It has felt like life is on hold until this is done.  The first week in Dec is when I had planned to go to CA to see family and friend, but that did not work out, and since that's now the date of the C&P .  I am.. so emotional and feeling like I am on the edge of something.  Beth... is the first name of the Evaluator I'll have to talk to.  This appointment is not at the VA, but at some place run by Lockheed Martin?  And there was a note in with the appointment letter saying that 'This is not the doctor treating you so realize that they will treat you differently.'  WTF?   I know this isn't my doctor of treatment.. but just that note.. feels so threatening.. that it got me spinning in circles.  Deeep Breath.. Deeep... breath...

So.. now as far as I know.. the VA has everything they want.. today on Ebenifits, Under "Things we need from others' it has the C&P company listed. That wasn't there yesterday.  So.. now.. we wait I guess... till the 4th... I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about the appointment and how its gong to go.  

Please think of me that day, and wish me the best.. and that I get a Christmas Miracle of my 100% unemployability.. and then.. they can finally fix the teeth broken by those asshats all those years ago, and I can also relax a bit.. and have a decent income to live off of. Not justice excactly, but.. recognition and compensation. yes.. compensation.

Time for another cookie....

Myst, 
Over and out.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Prisoner of War


  


During a recent conversation on FB with some other MST veterans, I wrote this and it seemed very appropriate to post it here.  The discussion was about us being in a 'war' and how we were treated by the 'enemy'. 


As we WERE harmed by the ' hands of the enemy'.. it made me realize that I was a POW of sorts for most of those four years. I never realized it till right now, but that is how it felt. I was trapped. There was nothing I could do unless I wanted to be thrown out in disgrace and lose all my benefits.I had to walk a careful tightrope. Take the beatings and the rapes on an almost daily basis and pretend life was grand. Had to be friendly to my attackers to keep them playing a sick version of being 'nice'. The saying from all those years ago is still very true. "POW's NEVER have a nice day." Those of us that were and are still being harshly abused by the military 'justice' system and the VA to some degree are STILL POW's today. Because our war hasn't ended - yet. The battle rages on. Everyday I wait for the VA to decide on my claim, and my jaws and teeth ache with no dental care from the VA, I can't help but be triggered by the memory of the beatings much of the time. I'm still waiting to be freed from my 'prison of war camp'.

The more I thought about it, the more apropos the comparison is to me. And what the differences were.  I did not have anyone else I could talk to.  No POW buddy to vent with, or even hope with.  I had no hope of rescue. I had no hope of escape.  I had to cooperate with the enemy to survive.  I never knew when the next attack was going to be until I got my job assigned by the perps. Then I knew, they would be coming for me based on where they sent me to work so they could get to me. I knew there were others... but instead of as in a POW camp, where you have some sympathy and comrades that were on your side, we victims ignored each other, trapped in our own versions of hell and there was nothing to do but go along with the perpetrators.  Not even just 'get along', but to cooperate to avoid more physical and emotional damage.  I saw what happened to others who fought it or tried to get 'justice'.  It was worse then the attacks to a large degree.  At least I was in my own private hell, not a public humiliation like what those who tried to get justice went through. They were vilified and harrassed terribly and I just didn't have the wherewithal to go through with it. I knew the mean fucks that were attacking me would carry through their threats to destroy me if I tried.  As I said, I saw others try, and what happened.  I thought.. once I was out, it would all be behind me and I would get over it.  Humph.  Little did I know.

The only good aspect, was knowing I could get out after four years.  What I didn't realize, what that those four years would destroy much of the rest of my life in one way or another.  I picked all the wrong people to have relationships with. I drank and drugged to kill the pain.  I got mean and bitter for a long time, and didn't even realize why.  I anguished that I could not have children and raged inside that I was forbidden to tell anyone because of 'national security'.  On Dec 5, 2011, it all came home to roost and my life and career blew up.  Turns out one can only keep secrets for so long, and the longer you keep them secret, the worst it is when it all comes to the surface.  
 

Now all this is coming out more and more, and yet, the military still says 'they can handle it'.  Noooo.. they can't. They haven't in the 35 years since my attacks, and the numbers keep going up.  Time to take the power AWAY from the asshats and give it to someone who has both legal training and is neutral about the case. When your career may depend on you sweeping your buddies 'indiscretions' under the proverbial rug, then you've got no place in deciding the outcome.

NO MORE DESTROYED LIVES!!!!! 
 
 Over and out,
Myst

Friday, May 3, 2013

People Triggers





WARNING:
 This post will be a bit wandering, may contain bad grammar and typos. So if you are a word snob - go away!  If you have a heart and can read past that and understand the MEANING someone is conveying and be COMPASSIONATE enough to still CARE about what they are saying or cause that they are promoting then you are welcome here! 

I have always felt that if I can understand the gist of what someone is trying to communicate, then that's what matters most.  Everyone has their own level of education and literacy.. I worked with disabled folks who had a very hard time with writing and communicating for over 20 years.  I was a 'communication' specialist and what mattered was the content, not the way it was communicated.  If you listen with your heart... that's what matters.  I am most likely hyper sensitive to this particular subject, but ~shrug~ that's me and that's okay.


I had a bad night last night. Worst one in months.

It started when I was having a hard time taking a pill.  The VA sends me these 800mg Ibuprofen pills I have to cut in half mos most of the time.  I have to take a full one to get through the night pain free though..  Because of all the times my throat was squeezed and I was choked, it has spasms sometimes that I can't stop. When it happens when I need to take a pill, its worse.  Last nite was a really hard hard time to swallow the full pill.  So there was the reminder of a terrible time. 

Later at night, my insomnia had me up, and a comment went by on on FB that triggered me.  It wasn't the first time that a comment this person had made triggered me. And it won't be the last, but it's getting there.


It all comes down to keeping someone as a 'friend' when they post mean snarky stuff that is very triggering to me.  I have been keeping this 'friend' (who started out as the friend of a friend) around on the social media sites so that I didn't hurt her feelings by removing her.  I've sat by and watched her snark at my bestest friend till that relationship was destroyed. I wanted to unfriend her then.  But she had been nice to me, and I didn't' want to hurt her feelings as I said.  But - I've come to the final conclusion that I don't feel like she is good for me.

I'd posted a couple weeks back about snarkyness on one of those sites and was very close to unfriending her at that point.  Then last night, she made a honest but triggering comment about being a kind of snob which struck me as terribly mean last nite (which she may or may not see as such), but it really hit me hard and  I finally unfriended her from one site. And I did a short 'status update' about how I felt.  But I did nothing about the other site. I WANTED to erase all connections with her.  I didn't.   


When I went to sleep, I had a terrible nightmare.. I was being chased, and was cornered again.  And one of the asshats had me by the throat again, choking me - again. I was trying to say 'STOP!' but could only gurgle because of the choking.  Then thank goodness,  K woke me up from it.  I lay awake, gasping and terrified, and of course.. very very relieved that it had been a dream, and not me back there again today. After a while I manged to go back to sleep. 

My dear kitty slept curled up close so I didn't feel so alone. He made me feel better, as I slept, but I woke up still scared and shaking.  The dream still fresh as those terrible days when it was real.   

This morning there were a couple of kind remarks to me by friends about my status and the unfriending.   And I felt better that I had been proactive in doing so. But there is still one other site I still need to do that on.  So far, I have been afraid of causing a bigger uproar when I do. But friends, I am feeling like I really really need to.  I don't want to be friends with this person, and I don't want them to be friends with my family.   I had a good chat with my Sista, returning her 9am call I slept through.  She has never said anything to me about defriending this person, even though they have hurt her badly.  And... as I wandered in a daze this morning, I reflected, that after having read the past few months of snipy stuff, I would have resisted being very close to this person.  Its IS that passive aggressive shit I HATE HATE HATE!

I feel like a coward at this moment, trapped in a way, afraid to do what I feel is best for me to do.  Like I need someone else to give me permission to unfriend this person and to bear the uglyness that may come from it.  But not doing it makes me feel so out of control.

And... do I write and tell her way I am doing this? or do I just do it?  I would sure be open to any POSITIVE comments. 

Over and out,
Myst   

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Invisible War and Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This month, on April 22, my vet center hosted a showing of The Invisible War.  I was the guest speaker.  I've done lots of speaking events in my past as a fund raiser for a non profit, as well as a volunteer coordinator and some other jobs.  But this was my first public talk about MST.  My new therapist had helped me prepare for it.   

There was not a large turnout, and I was disappointed to not see the two men who work at the Vet Center present.  Their support by being there would have meant a lot. One showed up to deliver fans to the room, but then left.  But my family of Choice showed up and that was great!  

There were also some other survivors who showed up to see it, and I thank them.  I hope to get to know them better and be of help any way I can.

I spoke after the movie, and below is the text of my speech.  However here, I have added links to the two requests I made to folks present.
 ----

 
Ladies and gentleman, fellow veterans.

First I want to thank the Harris County Veterans Center for hosting this showing of the Invisible War.   I also want to thank my family of choice who have turned out in support of me. 

It was Dec of 2011 when I finally came forward after 35 years of hiding some terrible secrets.  I didn't do it for me, but for a dear lady veteran friend out in Colorado that I had met online.  She was covering a sick friend's duty watch in Desert Storm so he wouldn't be AWOL, when her security partner for the watch attacked and raped her, telling her she couldn't tell or he'd turn in her and her friend and destroy both their careers.  She tried to report it anyway, and was thrown out on a dishonorable discharge for having 'borderline personality dishorder'.  The military said it was all made up.  She hadn't made it up though.  She stil has terrible nightmares and flashbacks. She is the first person I ever told the whole story to.  I knew she needed help, and she said if I'd go for help, then she would too. So I did.  I had no idea how badly I really needed that help. 


My story is much the same as those you saw on the screen tonight.  I was attacked and raped by four different fellow service people while I was in.  I was told to never tell or I would be set up for court martial and my career would be destroyed and I would be thrown out dishonorably.  I saw it happen to others who told.  How they were harassed and ridiculed and told to just 'suck it up'. I knew I'd get the same treatment.  In my case, it was my supervisors who also controlled my work hours and made sure I was the one closing up the shop or working at an isolated location. They were predators who had done it before, were doing it to others at that time, and I'm sure they went on to continue.  They had finely honed skills. Command turned a blind eye and ear as it was their buddies doing it.  I know my first Chief had a good idea what his first class was doing, and as he hated women in the Navy, he had told me he would do anything he could to get me thrown out of 'this man's Navy'... so I assumed this was one of those things. I could not fight him, but I could survive, and as crazy as I might have gotten in years later, I hung on tight and did survive.  But it destroyed my career anyways, because I gave up. I didn't even try to advance in rank after the 2nd attack because I just wanted to get out.  the devastation it made in my life has lasted for three decades. 

When I got out, all I was was the proud veteran. All the ugliness was buried deep, so I thought.  I never told people the real reason I couldn't have kids, that I'd been beaten so bad I couldn't. Or that when my throat seizes up, its because CB2's idea of foreplay was to choke me into compliance. Or that I've got this gap between my teeth because they hit me in the jaws so many times my teeth fractured and as they've come out, my teeth have slid around.  PTSD like I have from those years is invisible to most eyes, but not to those of us behind the eyes.

I want to say that I also met some wonderful people while I was in, people I knew I couldn't tell or else they would do something that would hurt their careers, and would only make me feel worse.  I love the Navy, they just need to change the atmosphere.  You don't see IBM or other companies with rape rates like the military.  It all comes back to Command.
What you can do to help...
There are two things right now I'd ask of you. Number one is to sign the petition linked off of Protect Our Defenders web sight, on Causes..
To: Chuck Hagel, United States Secretary of Defense
Last month with a flick of his pen, Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin set justice aside and overruled a jury’s verdict convicting Lt. Col. James Wilkerson of aggravated sexual assault of a civilian contractor at Aviano Air Base. As his punishment, Wilkerson was dismissed from the Air Force and sentenced to one year in jail. Franklin's reversal freed his fellow fighter pilot and reinstated him back into the Air Force, in part because he was described by friends and family as  a “doting father and husband.”
To General Franklin, it didn’t matter that Wilkerson had failed a lie-detector test or that his own legal counsel recommended against overruling the verdict. Instead, Franklin claimed that Wilkerson’s conviction and punishment should be overturned because he was a “doting father and husband.”
Franklin failed to mention that Wilkerson had a long history of misconduct.  He had already been caught peeking over a bathroom stall while a subordinate's wife urinated. Wilkerson egregiously violated safety standards, pulled rank to fend off law enforcement officials, was abusive to fellow military officials -- and that’s just what we know so far.
Despite strong corroborating testimony from independent witnesses and clear supporting facts on the record, Franklin, who did not attend the trial, decided that he did not believe the victim. Heard that before?
Unless Franklin is dismissed from the service for his biased and unfounded reversal of Wilkerson’s conviction, Franklin’s actions will have a chilling effect on victims who might otherwise report being sexually assaulted. It sends exactly the wrong message to bystanders, investigators, prosecutors, judges, and juries who otherwise might try to do the right thing. It confirms to sexual predators that they face little risk of being punished.  "
--
The 2nd thing is directly connected to this, and that is to contact your congress person and ask them to support the STOP Act.
"At a press conference April 17, Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-CA) announced that she is reintroducing the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act (STOP Act) to address sexual assault in the military.  Jackie Speier has risen on the house floor over 20 times to speak out on behalf of MST survivors.  We deserve this support and we must support this bill.
In an official statement, Speier said “The epidemic of military rape and sexual assault is a damning indictment of the military judicial system’s treatment of these cases. True justice demands impartiality which is absent in a system that relies on individual commanders who have no legal expertise to determine which assailants get prosecuted and which go free. Instead of commanders making decisions about guilt or innocence, no matter how senior, an independent military office of trained experts should determine how these cases are treated.”
The STOP Act, which has 83 co-sponsors, would take sexual assault cases out of the hands of chains of command and place it under the jurisdiction of an autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office which will be comprised of civilian and military personnel. This would prevent officers from being able to overturn sexual assault convictions like in a case last month."
--
This is the way to make a true change.  The military has been saying since I was in that they were going to change things.  35 years is enough time.  This last event I spoke about above must be the last nail in the coffin of injustice!

Thank you for coming.. 
---------------

While there, Wendi came up and  gave me her card.  Here is the link to her web site that is amazingly helpful. I've adder to to our blog roll.
 Thanks bunches Wendi, I look forward to getting to know you and any help possible!

Thanks to my friends and family for continuing to being there for me.

Over and out, 
Myst
 

Catching Up

So..the new doc is great.   I really like her a lot.  I am seeing her weekly   I took two weeks off while getting reading for some other activities, but will be seeing her on Tue again.

The dentist was a bust.  They say I need special treatment for my gums, and it runs about $4,000 dollar.  Yes, four zeros worth.  Then to fix the rest of my mouth, about the same amount again.  I simply can't afford that.  Not remotely.  I found a dental discount program, and I guess I'll see what I can do to get some work done.  But it's so depressing, I find myself avoiding working on it at all, just taking more ibuprofen for it.

Good news is I figured out that my 70% is 'static' which means permanent in VA lingo. Whew.
 The bad news is that its been since early last Sept that I filed my unemployability, almost 8 months, but that it normally takes about 2.5 years for them to make a decision on it. If luck is bad and its denied, it can take another 3 years to get the appeal done.  :-( That's really really sad.   

Otherwise, other then dealing with the PTSD, and getting very frustrated over politics I won't mention here, life is good.  K had spoiled me by getting me all the supplies to get my garden going just like I wanted to, and I am spending a lot of time in it.  

I have another post to make about a recent event I was a speaker at...

Myst,
over and out