Military Sexual Trauma

Rape goes back to the beginnings of warfare. The Cavemen banded together to fight off Stone-age Armies for their hunting grounds. I am sure there was raping and pillaging going on way back then.
Can you imagine what went on during the Roman Times? Wars were started over it!!!

Roman Rape

The rape of noblewoman Lucretia was a starting point of events that led to the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom and establishment of the Roman Republic. As a direct result of rape, Lucretia committed suicide. Many artists and writers were inspired by the story, including Shakespeare, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Dürer,Artemisia Gentileschi, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Thomas Heywood.

Is rape only a woman’s issue?
Military Sexual Trauma is a much larger issue than anyone realizes. Here is something that really affects me to this day.
A number of years ago I was in a PTSD and Substance Abuse Group at the Sepulveda, VA in Southern California.
The program worked from a friend of mines awesome book “Seeking Safety”. This is a great program. Dr. Lisa Nejavits, a Harvard Professor, wrote the workbook. Ask your local VA if they have this program.
Most of the men in this group were older Vietnam Era veterans. Most had been on the battlefield.
There was a younger Disabled Vet in the group that always seemed lost and out of sorts. Well actually all the vets in the group were out of sorts to some degree.
Everyone in the group had been fighting men that had been in a war zone.
This young man and I became friends and after a period of time he came to me and needed to confide in someone.
He asked what I knew about any other causes of PTSD in the military. After some give and take  we finally got down to the situation. This poor guy had been raped by his Senior male officer while in his early military training.
Talk about being in a Catch 22 situation. He had very little in common with the rest of us. There were next to zero Military Sexual Trauma workshops he could reach out to at the VA. If you could find one it was all women. So my friend was in the really bad position of keeping it all to himself.
As we have talked about in other articles the worst thing that we can do is clam up.

Healing does not occur without breaking the silence barrier. Many of you know just how hard that is with Warzone PTSD issues. It is much more difficult when dealing with any type of Military Sexual Trauma. It is a maddening, embarrassing situation followed by everything from sadness and a desire to hide. We males all have to play the Macho Card much to our detriment. So you can imagine how hard it had been for my friend to come to me.
Being a filmmaker he has gone on to get his story out even more in a short movie.

The most important thing I am trying to get at is the necessity of getting it out in the open in some way as early as possible. It is important to talk with someone.
Now here is the important part. Who is that someone?
Let’s consider Military Sexual Trauma as an androgynous topic. It is horrible for both sexes.
Most of the Military establishment doesn’t want you to talk to anybody!!! Finding someone to talk to is really hard especially while you are still active military.

Note: For legal reasons I can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do at the time of the rape. This article is dealing with PTSD Issues after the fact. There are important websites on what to do at the time of the assault. Here are a few:

DoD Website: http://bit.ly/1PvTxHq
Military Rape Site: http://bit.ly/1jEFinf
Military Authority: http://bit.ly/1jrofpc

Support Groups:
Break the Sound Barrier!!! The sooner you can find a support group the better. You need people to talk to. It helps to find a cross section of people that you would find in organized support groups.
People who have just been through the trauma can be helpful because you will find, as I did, that helping others is very rewarding and grounding. This helped me immensely with my own Warzone PTSD.
Mine wasn’t from rape but PTSD across the board has many things in common like Anger Management, Road Rage, Substance Abuse.
Seek out people in the group that have spent years dealing with their own trauma. There are grounding tricks and techniques that really help and these people will know more about them and will be happy to help because it helps them to help you.
If you notice the word help was in there a lot. Don’t stay a victim. Ask for help and be willing to help others. Some of my closest friends were made through our mutual PTSD struggle.
Does it become easier? Not if you hold it in!!! Get busy and do some Googling to find a local group that you feel comfortable with. You may need to go through a few but you will make friends along the way. Hang on to them!

How do you find help in your area:
Be creative with Google Searches. Here are some searches to try. Just swap out your local area in the search term. Then stretch the geographical area to larger towns in your general part of the country until you find someone to talk to that can point you in the right direction. The first three are an example of stretching the search to a set of related locals:

  • San Fernando sexual trauma support group
  • San Fernando Valley sexual trauma support group
  • Los Angeles sexual trauma support group
  • military rape crisis center los angeles
  • military rape support groups dallas
  • military rape support groups boston

The types of Google Searches above are fairly intuitive  and will point you in a good direction.
Here are some websites to find help around the country:
http://centers.rainn.org/
https://rainn.org/get-involved/rape-crisis-center-information
https://rainn.org/get-information/links
http://www.militaryrapecrisiscenter.org/
http://www.ncdsv.org/ncd_linkssexviolence.html

Important: Don’t try to do this alone. You are not at fault. I did not start healing from my PTSD until I reached out and found Kindred Spirits. In my case I did not do this until 30 years after my war trauma. What a waste of a giant chunk of my life!!!
Until I reached out I was in a fog of anger, isolation,  and every type of self medication on the planet. They do not help!!!!!!!!

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