Archive for the ‘Women in Combat’ Category

Assumptions

November 5, 2012

Hi All,

I wanted to share what happened last Friday. I called the main VA in Iowa City, to set up my follow-up appointment. The woman who answered the phone had absolutely no personality, and acted like she was very irritated she had to answer her phone. Tip one for this lady, if you don’t like answering the phone to schedule appointments, get another job. Duh!

Anyway, she proceeded in the gruff tone, this is the conversation we had:

VA: NAME?

Me: B****

VA: What’s his last 4?

Me: 1234

VA: Oh this isn’t working, was that V as in Vern, or D as in Dog?

Me: B as in BOY

VA: What’s his first name?

Me: (I gave my first name, which could be considered androgynous)

VA: His middle name?

Me: CATHERINE

VA: Oh

Might I state there is no way anyone could ever guess I was a man on the phone, I most definately have a high-pitched, woman’s voice. She never went on to say she was sorry or anything, just seemed even more irritated that I was a woman. I did make the appointment, but did this whole thing just piss me off. I texted Joan and told her, she wasn’t too happy either. I didn’t read in the rule book, or the guides I got from the VA that ALL VETS ARE MEN. I swear, I put up with enough of that crap while I was in, I sure don’t need it now. And I am not all that thrilled to be going to the VA to begin with. I told my co-workers about her, and they were kind of pissed off too. I said with her personality, she was more like a grouchy old nun teaching school 30+ years ago.

Never assume anything. I am going to lodge a complaint when I have my next appt, maybe get her some sensitivity training or another job. I have figured out there are only a few times EVER that anyone is safe to assume the sex of the person the appointment is for. Setting up an OBGYN appointment, or a prostrate exam. Other than that, and you are at risk for making an ass out of yourself, which is what happens when we assume.

Change can’t come fast enough,

Brigid

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The War On Terror

September 11, 2012

I remember the exact moment I heard about the Twin Towers. I was at work, and someone had heard about it on the radio. I thought it was awfully late to be playing an April Fool’s Day joke on us. Then more and more people started talking about it, so I turned on my radio, because I was sure they were all messing with me. It was like a really bad dream. Shock, disbelief, worry, fear. That is what we all felt. Then some of my co-workers went to the fitness room to watch it unfold on the only TV in the building. I couldn’t will myself to go, I didn’t want to see it. I wanted to crawl into a ball and hide under my desk. How could this happen?

Then I thought of my daughter, and called the school. I suddenly wanted to leave work, so I could go and get her, and wrap my arms around her and hold her until we all woke up from this horrific nightmare. The school informed me that several parents had called, some had come to pick up their children. But they encouraged me to let her stay. They promised me the children were all protected from this news, that they felt it was the parent’s right to tell them about this attack. But what they didn’t know was my little girl was in the library, and they were watching it on the TV there. They were just as confused and frightened as we were.

Then President Bush declared The War On Terror. Those words have been drilled into our brains for more than a decade since the anniversary of 9/11. The War On Terror. What is that really? For me, I fought in my own war on terror. The nightmares, the anxiety attacks, the depression, anger, hoplesness. I fight the war on terror daily in my mind. I was terrorized for more than a decade by several of my fellow soldiers, long before this ‘war on terror’. Why didn’t someone come to rescue me, and stop my terror?

I don’t want to take a single minute away from all of our wonderful  troops (non-predators) who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I never supported this war, but always supported our troops. Think of all the resources we spent on this ‘war’ and how many lives were lost. How many lives were ruined due to injuries/trauma? What did we gain by fighting this war? I don’t think we did. I think we lost more that we can calculate. The predators really were working overtime these last 11 years. So many MST cases, so many VA Claims.

I just wish President Bush would have ended the war on terror in the ranks. He could have, being the Commander-in-Chief. So could President Obama. What is it going to take?

Praying for change,

Brigid

I’m On A Mission

September 7, 2012

About 2 weeks ago, I wrote a letter to Governor Branstadt of Iowa, asking him to make a change in the Iowa National Guard. I pointed out that he was the Commander-In-Chief, like the President, and had the power to stop letting these predators keep on abusing us in the National Guard. I told him the statistics, how this has been going on for years, and how the Iowa National Guard is the worst offender. I begged him to do something, and asked what would he have done if his son had actually served, and been raped. Maybe that is why he hasn’t responded, I do not know. But that isn’t going to discourage me. I plan on writing him again and again and again, because I am just so stubborn, and pissed off.

But I have decided to take it a step or two farther, because that is just how I am. I have decided I am going to start an email campaign, and write all members of the Senate and also the House of Representatives, both state and federal. And then I am going to do the same thing for all states, including governors. I hope I can start some kind of movement, and encourage others to do the same thing. Remember, one voice in a storm can go unheard. Many voices in a storm cannot be ignored forever. Please join me in my mission.

You can find the email addresses and fax numbers for ALL Congress Members and Governors at the following website:  http://www.conservativeusa.org/mega-cong.htm

Below is the letter I wrote to Governor Branstad:

Dear Governor Branstad,

I would like to bring your attention to an article that was on the front page of the Cedar Rapids Gazette on Thursday, August 9, 2012. I am providing the link to it, in case you didn’t. It was titled ‘Local Veterans Speak Out About Military Sexual Trauma.” http://thegazette.com/2012/08/09/local-vets-speak-out-on-military-sex-assault/

I am a veteran, who tried valiantly to serve my country in the Iowa National Guard for over a decade, in spite of the fact that I was repeatedly raped, harassed and discriminated against. I am not the only one. In fact, I know of at least 20 women who suffered some of the same things I did while serving right here in the great state of Iowa. Nothing was ever done, we were all told it was our fault, we all were punished and branded as trouble makers, and Godd***ed Females. I lost my career over trying to make it stop. I even caused my unit to be investigated by the Inspector General’s Office. I attend a Female Veteran’s Retreat every year on the English River, and guess what the #1 topic is? Military Sexual Trauma and PTSD.

I even wrote a letter to The Adjutant General, pleading with him to make a change. Nothing has. Since I left the Iowa National Guard 14 years ago, other women veterans I served with told me of their rapes & harassment. I was so angry to find out my sacrifice accomplished nothing, and that it only got worse. I work with a man who served 20 years in the Army Reserves here in Cedar Rapids, and I asked him one day why he chose the Reserves over the Guard. He said it was because he couldn’t stand the way they treated the women, that the National Guard is the worse branch of the military for how they treat women. Unfortunately, I have heard this many times.

Pardon me for being so bold, but are you NOT the Commander-In-Chief of the Iowa National Guard? And as such, have you no power to make this stop, and stop immediately? Or do you agree with most of my own chain of command, that if a woman wants to be in the military, she gets what she deserves? Do you know in the military 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 10 men are sexually assaulted? What if your son served, and was raped? What would you do? 

What will you do now?

Thank You For Your Time,

Brigid

Spoils of War

August 20, 2012

What does that mean to you? How many times have you heard that term? Think about it. What three words ALWAYS proceed that statement?

RAPE AND PILLAGE

That was the reward for winning the battle. Take whatever you want of the enemy’s and rape as many women as you want. Make them slaves, kill them, it didn’t matter. They were just women anyway.

Some of the greatest military leaders of all times adhered to this. To reward the soldiers for doing a good job. Napoleon, Ceasar, Alexander the Great, Ghengis Kahn, the list goes on and on and on.

What about the Vikings? Do you know what Viking means? To go a-viking means simply to go and rape and pillage, and decimate the opponent.

Oh, let us not forget about our own history here. The Civil War. Didn’t matter which side you were on, but if you were lucky enough to march up to a nice plantation, or a farm house of nothing but women, chances of at least one of those women being raped was pretty high.

World War II, Korea, Vietnam. Yes, our soldiers did a lot of raping in those wars. Lots of raping. And it wasn’t always raping the enemy. They were raping the male soldiers back then, and what about the female staff of nurses?

Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom. These last two wars changed everything. Now our soldiers stop raping the enemy, and started raping ONLY their fellow soldiers. Men and women being raped by the people supposed to cover them in the fox hole, or to be their backup, raping them.

During The Invisible War, there was a statistic that made me almost vomit on the spot. They say a sexual predator in the military will go on to assault/abuse 300+ soldiers.

300+ soldiers. And there is no sex offender registry for them, unless they are actually convicted AND spend more than a year in prison. And that is rare. It is about 1% of all REPORTED military rape cases that actually result in a conviction with jail time, and only a FEW of them are for over a year.

After the film was over, a gentleman in the audience said none of this went on while he was serving. Joan’s husband was beside me and said, “Oh yes it did, you just didn’t notice.”

Last week was the anniversary of the first female Marine. Pvt. Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve Aug. 13, 1918. But rape in the military started even before then. The Revolutionary War, women like Florence Nightingale and others who tended to the wounds of the soldiers, many were raped by the soldiers.

All of these examples caused my boyfriend to say, “That’s why women just don’t belong in the military!” I don’t know why I allowed him to keep his manhood after that, or why I didn’t lay him out flat. But we should feel sorry for dumb animals and men. That is NOT why women should serve. Women have EVERY right to serve. We also have the RIGHT to NOT be assaulted/raped/harassed/abused.

But how are we going to stop it, when the whole basis of the military since time began was rape and pillage?????

Pray for change

Brigid

Apple Bins

June 26, 2012

Hello, Friends,

With all of the talk in the media about The Invisible War – I feel compelled to say this…”It only takes 1 rotten apple to spoil the whole bin.”  In other words, not every man that I served with was a piece of shit!  I sometimes feel as though I am saying that every man in the military is a rapist – and that just isn’t true.  So, I thought I would share some of the good times – great times – with you.

To my Drill SGT’s…You spoiled me rotten!  I can never think of you and not smile.  You taught me the greatest lessons in leadership and service and when faced with a tough decision…I still ask myself, “What would DS-K or R do?”  You didn’t talk to us about leadership, you showed us, through your words, actions and deeds.  I hope I made you proud.

To the Infantry, Engineers and all the other Combat units I supported:  Thanks for your friendship!  I will never forget the first time one of you yelled, “Thanks, Doc!”  That meant the world to me.  Every medic knows that “Doc” is a term of affection reserved for the medics that have earned your respect.  Thank you for letting me be, “Just one of the guys.”

To Top and LT and the CO at A Co.:  Thanks for teaching me to be a soldier.  Top – thanks for running beside me and never letting me quit.  LT…thanks for the great times and for teaching me that Loyalty comes from the Top – Down…before it comes from the Bottom-Up.  CO – thanks for your guidance and for caring about me as a soldier.

To the Majors in 2001:  What a time we had!  Serving with you in that year for that special event was one of the best times in my whole life!  Your dedication to your troops is an inspiration.  The faith you put in me was humbling and I hope I lived up to the standards you set for me.  I still read that citation your wrote and laugh out loud.  I got rid of a lot of stuff when I left the military – but that citation, the medal and the T-Shirt…I kept!

To Supply Guy, Ready Man and JK – I really miss serving with you three nut jobs!  We had so much fun and so many wild times together in the office.  I loved the “staff meetings” around the picnic table when all rank came off and really great ideas came to life.  Thank you for being my friends through thick and thin.  Ready Man – thank you for risking your career to procure necessary documents for me.  Supply Guy – thank you for your conspiring with me to drive the boss crazy!

I could go on and on…but most of it doesn’t make sense to anyone who wasn’t there.  The important point is that not every guy in the Military is a pig.  I think I feel bad for the good guys most of all.  They are getting painted with the same lousy paintbrush.  Thrown into the cider mill with the “bad apples” in their bins. 

It’s too bad, really.  Many of those men have served honorably and some have given their lives for their country.  Now – the “military hating media” is going to call them rapists – just like they called the men of Vietnam “babykillers.”  I hope that this small post lets people know that not every soldier is a SGT Jerk or a Clarence.

Peace,

Joan