Hello Friends,

The news just keeps rolling in.  Military personnel in high positions being removed from their positions, being reassigned  or resigning due to accusations of assault.  The root of the problem and just how high it goes is now being discussed among the general public.  “Military Sexual Trauma” is no longer an obscure term whispered with shame among the survivors. 

All in all – it is “good” news…as much as sexual/physical violence can be determined “good.”  The subject matter is horrible – the fact that these individuals are falling like dominoes is “good.”  The fact that people are talking about it is good.  The fact that the victims and survivors may no longer have to feel shame is good. 

I was listening to a radio commercial the other night and the announcer said, “are you one of those people who want something done….or are you one of those people who are willing to do something to change things?”

We, the survivors, are the voice of change.  Everyone who shares their story, publishes their blog, speaks out – even anonymously – is the voice of change!  We are the one’s “doing something” to make the world a better place – and to all of my fellow survivors…I thank you for your courage!  You are the light and the hope for a world without military sexual trauma!

Even the anonymous voices, like myself and Brigid, are important voices.  I have found that, in the real world, I can talk about MST and about the terrible things people experience and never tell that person that I am a survivor.  In fact, in some ways it is more powerful….because they aren’t wanting to hear the gory details or feeling pity.  Don’t pity me!  I survived and I am leading a full and happy life…I don’t want anyone’s pity…I want change!  I want justice for those who are being victimized!

Someone said to me this morning – “Well, you never have a bad morning…do you?”  Yup – she was being snotty.  She is someone who struggles with things and she prefers to live in her perceived “victimhood” than to make a choice to live another way.   I would share her life story and her trauma’s here – because she shares them with everyone else – but I will forgo that woeful tale.   A couple of years ago I did a presentation that she attended on Sensitive Practices and Public Law 103 in regards to MST treatment and compensation.  She ran around the area telling everyone that she was going to get an automatic 30% because she thinks she had MST.  I have never met an MST survivor who could go up to co-workers happy and sing-songing that she was going to get free money from the government.  Worried for her I pulled her aside and explained that it was a long, hard and stressful process and that I would be there for her.  I asked her if she needed help meeting the burden of proof…her response was, “I need to prove it?”  Yes, you will need to prove it and I started talking about methods to gain the proof. 

Her response – “Well, it was just five guys in a parking lot yelling cat calls at me…but it scared me.  I don’t have any proof – but I could really use the money.”

At that point I just about lost it.  I thought of the survivors that I know…whose lives have been shattered, who have lost their careers, many dishonorable discharged.  I thought about all of us with damage to our internal organs – or losing organs – because of our trauma. 

The money doesn’t change much in our lives.  In fact, for many of us it feels more like a slap in the face.  I know that when I first got mine my husband was understandably excited…we really needed a new roof.  All I could think of is how I earned that money…”on my back”…so to speak.  The money felt dirty – like the government was telling me what the Army had told me…that I was some kind of a whore.  Thankfully – I have found ways to overcome those feelings…but it took some time.  Watching those guys put the new roof on the house felt nasty.  That is why I always advocate to people to find something special that you really, really want and use some of the money to purchase it.  It doesn’t even have to be anything big – just something that brings you joy.  That way you can change your perception of the money…it worked great for me!  In fact, it worked so good that the last time I had to see SGT Jerk I rode my motorcycle out there.  Instead of feeling edgy and threatened I just reminded myself that in the end he didn’t win…I won! 

I don’t “win” because I have something I want or because I occasionally buy myself a new dress that I really like (something I couldn’t do after they ended my career because of the financial situation.)  I won because I choose to be the winner!

If I could share anything with my fellow survivors it would be that “Happiness is a choice.”  Choose joy!  Choose life!  Choose to be a force for change in the world.  It isn’t easy…sometimes it forces you to push and pull yourself away from dark holes and into the light of day.  There are days that all I want to do is bury my head in the covers and curl up with a cat and pounds of chocolate – heck…there are days that I do that 🙂  But they are rare.

Choosing to be happy is the greatest revenge of all – you see…when I was raped, when I was beaten, when I was assaulted…I had no choice.  They took away my right to choose, my right to decide, my right to say NO.  By God – I took it back!  It doesn’t cure anything – the PTSI, the depression, the panic, the fear…but it does make it easier to live with for me.

I know that all of the recent news is triggering for some – but try to be positive…try to think of it as good.  The dominoes are falling…and when they all fall down they will lead to something better at the end.  My hope is that they will lead to a world without MST.




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4 Responses to “Dominoes”

  1. Myst Says:

    Wonderful wonderful as always Joan!!! I love the living with joy part a lot. I love my new life for the most part, as difficult as it can be sometimes. To be able to speak the truth now and add the voice my rage to a growing chorus and fight for the end of this shit is all very healing. To have a new family like you, Bridg, Jay and my new local friend Wendi ( that I can trust and vent and applaude for has made a big difference in my mental well being. A thousand thanks and hugs to you both. Keep on keeping on. Btw, did you hear back about that job?
    More hugs,

    • enemyinthewire Says:

      Hi, Myst.

      I will be checking out Wendi’s blog – sounds exciting!!! Another voice is always a good thing.

      Still waiting to hear about the job. It isn’t uncommon when you work in Federal Service. Don’t worry – if I do get it you will hear a mighty loud shout!!

      Regardless of the outcome – I always believe that there is a reason for the how and why. If I don’t get it I will know that God has something different for me. If I do get it – I will know that is because it is where God wants me. At the same time – I sure wish God would hurry up!!! He knows I have no patience – He should know better than to make me wait! 🙂 (on the other hand…maybe He is trying to help me with that “lack of patience” thing. Why can’t He choose something easy like a stoplight or a package from Amazon! 🙂

      Many blessings! Keeping speaking that truth because truth becomes power!


  2. butterflykitten Says:

    Wow, the whole money bit really hit home. It is a slap in the face that they think they can put a price on the pain and suffering. I was stupid enough to try to fight to stay in and not want out with compensation. That is the whole angle they try to throw at me “at least you will be compensated” How about let me be compensated by allowing me to go on with my life. If I weren’t being persecuted so much, maybe I would be over it by now. Not living with a constant reminder that my last 10 years have been a waste because even in the end, I lost my job and livelihood because of others failing to do their job. I don’t want blood money. I want to live a normal life without fear. I am pretty tough and can and have been able to protect myself to a point (yes, I fought back) but now I only wish I fought back harder to harm rather to just get them off of me. If I knew that nothing would have happened to them and I would get booted because of it, I would have done things differently and made them have the scars to remember what they did to me. Sorry, I am sounding violent, but that is not who I am. I have the ability just not the desire to do so. I guess this does make me crazy. The fact that I do not want to hurt others even if they hurt me. Sometimes it sux having morals.

    • enemyinthewire Says:

      That is the difference between us and them…we have honor, we have morals, we have respect for others…they have none! Don’t feel bad about sounding “violent.” We have all felt that way at one time or another. When SGT. Jerk was beating me – I sustained some really heavy guilt for not fighting back – for just taking it. I had a small knife on my belt that would have gone all the way through his leg. So many times I wished I had just pulled that knife and driven it into him. Nope – I just knelt there and took it like a dog.

      My therapist helped me to think through that day and my actions. Had I stabbed him I most likely would have been court-martialed. After all, no one was going to come to my defense against him. They were too afraid. If I had attacked back he would have attacked harder and I probably would have been killed. He had a knife as well and was significantly larger than me. Even if I had gotten a really good first shot – one swing with the walking stick would have knocked me out.

      I did the only thing I could have done – during the beating, during the sexual assaults and during my rape. I survived. You did the only thing you could have done…you lived, you survived!

      Your ten years of service was not a waste. Defending the Nation that you love is not a waste. Serving with Honor, Integrity, Passion and Courage is never a waste. THEY are the waste. THEY are the ones that are a waste of a uniform.

      Never, ever forget that THEY are the assholes! You are the honorable one!!

      Blessings, Joan

  3. One Weary Soldier Says:

    Brilliantly stated.

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