Don’t Ask…Don’t Tell?

Hi, Friends,

I had a situation come up last night at the VSO meeting that has me wondering…what do I do now?  By the time my husband told me about the conversation…it was too late for me to take immediate action.

Our current VSO Commander, who I consider a good friend, told my husband and another individual that he spoke to a couple of OIF/OEF Veterans about joining our VSO group. 

They asked, “Is Joan still involved?” 

 He replied, “Of course.” 

They stated…”Then I want no part of it.”

Of course, this leaves him with a lot of questions.  I can’t be sure exactly who they are – but I can tell you what unit they are from and I can tell you that they were probably in the unit when I went after Sgt. JERK. 

I was up a large part of the night thinking about how to handle this.  The other individuals response was – screw them…we got her and she isn’t going anywhere.  I have to say that I am pretty well liked in my VSO – if being tasked for Post, District and State duty is any indication.  This morning my thoughts are still racing and I feel like I can’t get enough air.  It is my quicksand feeling.  I hate that feeling.  I know that it is simply a minor panic attack – but I know that it can last for hours…even days.  Yes…I know that they say that panic attacks don’t last THAT long…I say – bullpuckey!

Now the question becomes; how much do I tell my friend?  Does he have some right to know the situation with my discharge.  After all, he is out there working hard and trying to recruit new members.  On the other hand, how much of my person do I have to sacrifice to continue to serve in my VSO?  When I say, Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell – I am not talking about the policy for homosexuals in the military – I am talking about the fact that MST Survivors don’t want to be asked…and certainly are taught not to tell!

Do I believe that this individual will be respectful of the information that I share.  Yes, I think I do.  After all, he is a man…and I have little trust in them.  However, he has proven over the years that he is an honorable person.  He isn’t out for his own gain in the VSO work that he does – for the most part.  Have I had multiple arguements with this man?  Yup, more than I can count!  However, he has usually been respectful, even when we fight like an old married couple.

How much do I tell him?  There are times that I have stepped out an told – in an effort to encourage people in positions of power to do more to stop MST.  Normally, I get that look of sympathy, pity and a dash of unbelief.  I hate pity! 

I suppose I have to do something.  Either give an explanation or quit my VSO.  Once again – the perpetrators are trying to blame the victim.  I just hope that one day this will all end.

Thoughts and comments are appreciated.



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4 Responses to “Don’t Ask…Don’t Tell?”

  1. Myst Says:

    Hi.. I found your blog. and after reading this, I’d say tell him. My doc at the Vet Center says we have to start speaking our truth. I know how hard it is, I have a very hard time myself, but I do speak from experience. If those people want no part of it because of what you went through, then screw em I say. We had enough of that sort when we were in, and we dang sure don’t need that attitude now that we are out!!!
    Stand strong and proud girlfriend…

  2. Myst Says:

    Dear Joan and Bridig… I am a MST survivor… I found your blog yesterday.. and I have caught up.. read every post since you started. I cried with you. and its encouraging to read of your journey and your pain. I filed for my disability on Jan 6 2012… didn’t know anything about a Service Representative.. and didn’t have any records. Mine happened in the Navy, from 1976-1980.
    But I did have some good support letters, including from folks who knew me best back then,.. and some that have watched the destruction of my life since then.

    Many times you ladies wrote that if your words helped anyone out there.. then it was all worth it.. Well… I’m writing to tell you you have sure as heck helped me. I have wondered.. did Bridgit ever get her disability rating, or is she still waiting?


  3. Myst Says:

    Ummmm.. I seem to have missed something else.. I thought I left a comment here yesterday.. but I don’t see it now.. so.. I”ll also say that I think you should tell your friend what happened. I am in therapy at a local vet center.. and the doc there is great. She says we have to get used to speaking our truth.. and if there are folks that won’t come because you ARE there.. then if I was to come along and join your VSO, I would flee if there were butt heads there. So to keep a few out who could damage the rest.. (if they felt negatively about your standing up for yourself) personally I think is good. And… for me.. as I have told people, yeah, I get some pity, but I get more kudos then not for surviving it all. So I say.. tell your friend. be honest with him. For my friends, it has filled in mystical gaps that they did not understand. Especially those that knew me before I joined at 17.. and who I was ever after. I kept the secrets for 35 years, and while speaking the truth is sometimes embarrassing, it does seem to get easier with time.
    Warmly. and thanks to you both more then I can say., for writing all this down for those of us who do stumble upon it to read.

  4. enemyinthewire Says:

    Hi, Myst!!

    So glad that you found us – sorry it took me a little while to get back to your comments. I used to blog almost everyday – but now I go through spurts. Brigid has gotten her rating, but I have not discussed it much – it is for her to tell. We made that deal a long time ago when we started out on this adventure!

    I wish you well with yours. Don’t give up! You may have a long wait – mine was 14 months and Brigid was almost two full years. The evidence is always the hardest thing to come by – but the “buddy statements” do hold some good weight. Very few of us have any tangible “proof” of what happened.

    Stay strong!! It is always hard to tell the story – in fact, very few people really know my story at all. Some who know that I am an MST survivor…don’t know the story. Currently – I like it that way! That is why we have this site – it is a safe place for everyone to tell their story.



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