Mary V. United States Army
In 2007 I was raped 6 months into my services with the Army. I reported the rape and my rapist were never prosecuted. Instead, I was viewed as being mentally unstable and as a result lost my career in 2008. In 2009 I enrolled in school to take advantage of the GI Bill and had a difficult time.
I attend a large state school. We have tens of thousands of students and we have a very active veterans organization. The first group on campus that I joined was the Veterans organization. I was treated with a cold shoulder yet still wanting to be accepted I will continue attending their meetings and events.
On Veterans’ Day we had a dinner event on campus. We were given stickers to wear for which conflict we were apart of. If you were never deployed you do not get a sticker. Each table was dedicated to each conflict. If you served in Iraq or Afghanistan you get the two best tables in the house up front. If you served in Vietnam you get the table right behind them. If you were never deployed you get to sit in the back behind the pole behind the professors, staff and others who may not be veterans.
I served a total of 11 months. When the Student Director of the Veterans’ Organization asked me how long I served he said “well you not really a veteran”. An assistant director said that I was “lucky to never have deployed” I wanted to tell them that I wanted to serve longer, that I enlisted with the desire to make it a career then I was raped and forced out but I could not tell them that. I rather have been deployed because I would be viewed as a hero and not a traitor for reporting rape.
It is hurtful when male student veterans won’t acknowledge what us women veterans may have gone through. Through my classes I met other women veteran who are not part of the veterans organization for reasons that they also feel left out.
During sexual assault awareness month I spoke to the veterans’ organization to have an event for military sexual trauma. They denied it and said that it was not “relevant to their mission” so I went to the counseling center and women center who was organizing various events on campus for sexual assault awareness month and asked if I can plan an event for military sexual trauma and they responded by saying that they “can not single out one group of people” and my request to do something MST-related was once again denied.
In the veterans community MST survivors are often shun out and not welcomed. In the feminist community veterans are often shun out and not welcomed. Even among women veterans community MST veterans are often shun out and not welcomed. I posted on a women veterans’ organization facebook wall and they deleted it because according to the admin they did not want women veterans to only be known as having MST but also to be known for all their accomplishments. Surviving MST is an accomplishment in itself. Read the stories on here. We all deserve medals.
Emotionally sitting in class is difficult. I always sit in the corner and that is my safe spot. If I don’t come to class early enough and someone takes my seat I break down in tears because I am overwhelmed in panic. I cannot have male professors and can only deal with women professors. It is so difficult. I tried to go to counseling on campus and the counselor did not understand the military structure but did try to convince me that she did because she read an article about military sexual trauma.
It is so difficult being an MST survivor.