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.