Send – Off


Last night I attended the community send off for our local National Guard unit.  They are going to be deployed.  I might also mention that the unit leaving was MY old unit.

So what the hell was I doing there?  Well, that is a good question!  You see, my VSO (veteran service organization) was going to be there and that sort of left me obligated.  It was 1 hr of  misery and I was sooooo glad when we could leave!

At one point, they introduced a man that had been part of my battalion, and they introduced him as a LT Colonel.  He had been a Captain when I was going through all of the crap I was going through with the unit.  I leaned over to my husband and I said, “Just goes to show you…I got f***** and they got promoted.”  At that point my husband replied, “what are you worried about…you got your justice.”

Why do so many people equate justice with money?  Yes, I receive a check every month.  Yes, I get care at VA Hospitals for free.  Yes, I am a disabled veteran.  I cannot complain about the money because it is nice.  However, it is not justice!

The money compensates me for what was taken away from me financially.  I served 16 1/2 years…I was 3 1/2 years from retirement.  The retirement that was denied to me because I stood up for the hard right.  I was receiving pay and benefits that took care of my family (for a lot of the time I was a single mother.)  The reality of the situation is that I was discharged (fired) for no reason and against my will.  Had this been the civilian world, I just might have received a healthy settlement in a court of law.  I went from receiving $3000 dollars a month, plus benefits, to a paycheck of $1500 a month.  Financial worries have always been a problem for me and this situation certainly made those worries much worse.  (there was a time in my life when I worried about what I was going to feed my children.)

In some ways this financial compensation has actually made those worries more pronounced.  I don’t want to come to depend on that money in any way, because the checks could stop coming tomorrow.  The money still feels dirty to me, like I earned it the “old fashioned way.”

Money is not justice.  Is there a sense of vindication?  Sure.  Is there a sense of justice?  No.

What would make me feel like I received justice?  Well, there is the answer that would make people cringe that involves a revolver and a bullet…just one bullet.  It involves someone on their knees that isn’t me.  It involves torture…slow, painful, aggravating torture.  Of course, we all know that those scenarios aren’t really justice.  How would I feel once that little scene played out?  Probably like crap…not to mention the fact that it would be murder and it would accomplish nothing.  Nothing would be accomplished in seeing his brains sprayed out on the ground.  Nothing would be accomplished by taking him away from his child.  It wouldn’t even help spread the message about MST because it would all be lost in the headlines that “crazy woman veteran” kills soldier.

I think that what would give me the greatest feeling of justice would be to see an end to military sexual trauma.  It would be that no one who offers to give service to their country is subjected to the degradation, humiliation, pain and torture that go with being a survivor of military sexual assault and gender discrimination.  That is where the real justice is.  I would like to see the day when the federal government never gives another servicemember another dime of taxpayer money for being raped.  Not because the federal government denies it, but because it just doesn’t happen…ever again.  I want to see a time when survivors of this kind of trauma are openly acknowledged and it isn’t something that is whispered about in the back rooms. 

 When the very concept of one person exerting power and control through sexual force becomes so disgusting to our human minds that the very thought causes us to cry out in disgust  and our flesh to crawl…..then there will be justice.

I couldn’t help but look at the young women on the stage and I wanted to run up to them and hug them all and then have a very long talk about the facts of life.  I wanted to take the officers and the NCO’s aside and tell them to do their jobs!  Watch over their soldiers!

The Colonel doing the speaking told them to “be sure to take care of each other.”  I wanted to stand up in the audience and scream, “Watch over each other!  Don’t harm one another!  Live and die for one another and see one another as soldiers!  Don’t see male or female…see the uniform.  Honor your committments to each other.”  I didn’t, because I am sure that the Colonel would not have appreciated me.  “crazy woman interrupts send-off.”

That is where my justice lies.  It lies in me seeing the day when the LAST victim of MST is identified.  The very LAST survivor.  No more because it happens no more.  That is when justice will finally be served.

Blessings,

Joan

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One Response to “Send – Off”

  1. jayherron Says:

    So perfectly worded!

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