SAAM Feature 22: James

Military Sexual Trauma

by: James O.


Victim = one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment, a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency: a victim of misplaced confidence, a person that has been subjected to crime, rape, robbery, assault, mugging.

Becoming a victim is easy, it can happen to anyone, at any time. There is no gender, ethnic, class that is exempted, but some may be more protected in our society then others. Living as a victim is hard, to recover, build trusts, friendships, to trust your own strengths, insights, to accept you were not at fault, there was nothing you could do.

Society looks at victims in numerous ways. Sometimes they are compassionate, sometimes they close their eyes, and sometimes they blame the one that has been victimized.

My beginnings were as others may have been – a happy childhood full of innocence, the world was wonderful, people could be trusted, friends were for life, and no one would take advantage, or hurt you. My dad was a WWII, Korean Veteran who had PTSD, this may have helped exacerbate my trauma symptoms causing PTSD to be worse, or better. This I do not know.

The military changed me, to have some one you trusted, looked up to, and had to obey, betray the bonds of human nature, friendship, camaraderie, to sexually assault you, violate your civil rights, disrupt, distort your core values, and beliefs was devastating.

I went in the service as a career I was prepared to do my best, knowing I may possibly have to go to war. I did not know the battle would be trying to defend myself from a rapist, and I did not know the battle would go on in my head for years, as I fought alcohol-drugs, suicidal attempts, loss of friends, relations, and became more medicated, and more, and more isolated.

Neither did I know the battle would continue with the VA in the claims process. My battle was over 6 years, I received no medals, no apologies, just maltreatment, abuse, and every now and then an occasional notification from some one that had a soul, and treated me as a human being that had been tortured, as it was by being raped.

Losing everything, feelings intimacy, the hope to have a wife, family, the closeness of another, is as bad if not worse then the rape. Being a victim of sexual assault is not some thing you share, and rejoice over. It is not like high school reunions, military reunions where you go see friends, and buddies. There is none of that ((Example (9thID MST reunion for survivors of the MST attacks 9th Dec)) is not a actual reunion.

The victim is usually an outcast after the attacks, left to suffer their shame, humility, anger, hatred, fear, doubts, blame on their own. Some recover, some do not, drugs-alcohol is a source for many to numb their pain, feelings, nightmare as they try to medicate them selves, others break down totally ending up in institutions both mental, or penal, while others just kill them selves, or just survive a miserable secluded life.

Lives shattered by these crimes is no less then a soldier wounded in combat, the wounds may be different, the trauma source may be different, but the effects on the soldier-victim is devastating for all that are involved. I have had other Veterans ask me where I served, what battle I was in, and I can only shrink back in to my self, and cry, I can not tell them what happened, it is not a badge of honor, I got no CIB, CAR, Purple Heart, Medal of Honor, I got a venereal disease, a fear that I can not shake, a loss of trust, a damaged soul, and spirit.

I have played down my own trauma when I see a Combat Veteran who has been in battle, been wounded, a prisoner of war. Many times I have set in groups with Veterans with Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, Combat Infantry Badges, Officers, and Enlisted and many times I have been told by them how deserving I am and actually had some cry for me.

I claimed PTSD secondary to MST 6 years I fought with the VA. This was more stressful then the PTSD, more harmful, and degrading then the rape. I felt continually violated by regulations, and seemingly uncaring, insensitive people working for the government in an agency designed to care for Veterans what a crime.

A victim of our society, the Military, the VA, the rapist, the medications, of PTSD feeling hopeless, and helpless, alone, a sense of loss of myself, manhood, my soul. A PTSD victim that has nowhere to turn for support. Men do not tell that they were raped, and most of the time if they do no one listens, cares, or believes.

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