Veteran sexually harassed at Detroit VA

Michelle, United States Marine Corps

I was raped while serving my country. This is my story. This is an update about MST treatment at the Detroit VA.

I have been in treatment at the Detroit VA and Vet Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that resulted from Military Sexual Trauma. I am currently rated at 100% for PTSD. The Vet Center in Detroit is great. I have zero complaints about them however the Detroit VA is absolutely in need of a complete do over. It is simply not a safe place for women veterans.

I try to stay away from the VA as much as I could often dealing with pain and illnesses alone without going to see a doctor. What I can not get away from is medication to help with PTSD, depression and insomnia. For that I have to  see a psychologist at the VA every few months for medication. I usually take off at least two days from work because; one to go to my appointment and one to stay in bed to cry from my appointment at the VA.

Every time that I go to the VA I get hit on like crazy by creepy older male veterans some who are old enough to be my dad. I am not even what you consider pretty. I’m a heavyset black girl to put it in the nicest possible way.  I complained to the patient advocate to the point that they no longer return phone calls. Last time I talked to a patient advocate she told me to dress less provocative. I am usually in sweats so not exactly sure what they want me to wear short of a burka.

The Women Veteran Program Coordinator is aware of the problems but she does not know what to do. I was told to report to her when I get harassed but usually I don’t even know the name of a fellow Veteran that hit on me in the hallway or in a waiting room. Due to HIPAA even if she knew who I was talking about she can not tell me a name so that I can report it and she can not legally report it for me. It is a Catch 22. I was also told that I can go directly to the VA Police but like most with MST I do not trust law enforcement and the last thing that I want to do is sit in a room with a male cop to tell them that I was sexually abused. No way am I going to put myself through that again.

I do not have any other options but to be sexually harassed when I get my treatment for rape. My job does not offer me insurance and I can not afford it elsewhere.

 

7 comments

  1. my heart goes out to you with all of my heart, i too suffer no I’m sorry i am a survivor of MST also. and it is no better at the West Haven VA also. although our one PA is the greatest. and there too it needs a great big look over but everyone is afraid to say anything, it is disgusting. I’ve been hit on by male nurses aids, and maintenance workers. we as women i believe in my heart we are never going to catch a break. we all need to stand tall together and March on Washington for all that is going wrong in all of these VA’s , but like i said no one wants to move the rocks because this is a man’s world, but we chose to go to the military and wear the uniforms just like our male brothers, and dam it we are still being treated like second class citizens.
    you keep staying the Survivor that you have been and God Bless my Sister.

  2. I feel your pain, I experience this very same thing too. I was hit on by a guy in infusion clinic, where I go for iron infusions. I had a guy walk in to my room will inpatient to hit on me. You are not alone. My shrink at the va lectured me about not wanting to sit in the waiting area, it’s because the guys are creepy, and make crude comments.

  3. I am 24 years old and some what pretty. I was at the Cleveland VA for the first time a few months back. I was waiting for a psych. appointment where I was getting hit on and touched by a man that wore a Vietnam Veteran baseball cap. I moved my seat 3 times in the waiting room and he followed me around all 3 times. When I finally made it in the room with my brand new psychologist I broke down in tears. In my notes she wrote that she felt that I was delusional and have a narcissistic personality because I feel that I stood out and got attention and that I want attention.

  4. It is heart breaking to read these stories of how women at treated at the VA’s around our country. Just heard a terrible story about this in our MST group yesterday about the VA in Houston as well. What happened to common decency??? And why is it that the VA administrations let such terrible things happen to the most venerable of us? There needs to be a HUGE change from the top down and back up again!

  5. Couldn’t have said it better myself! The terrible experience Romana speaks of was mine. And now I will do everything in my power to see that it doesn’t happen to any other woman, or man for that matter. It is just appalling that we who served have to endure abuse at the hands of the medical staff that is suppose to help us!

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