It Happened to Me, Too! Male Military Sexual Trauma IS REAL!

It Happened to Me, Too! Male Military Sexual Trauma IS REAL!

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“According to the Pentagon, thirty-eight military men are sexually assaulted every single day. These are the stories you never hear—because the culprits almost always go free, the survivors rarely speak, and no one in the military or Congress has done enough to stop It”  GQ.com @ http://www.gq.com/long-form/male-military-rape

 

On January 26, 2016, we will be doing a follow-up show addressing the issue of Military Sexual Trauma (MST).  I was first on WTR two years ago with a fellow advocate, Melissa Davis.  This show is dedicated to Melissa one year ago.  We miss you! We love you!

As a survivor of Military Sexual Trauma (MST), I have met, talked to, and became friends with other female survivors. But as years passed on, I learned females were not the only victims of MST.  Thanks to social media, I began to meet male victims of MST.  I can honestly admit, that I did not know what to say, except I knew what happened to them is an issue that needs to addressed. Male MST is very real! The more men I met who survived MST, the more I realized that if I am going to be an advocate for one, I have to be an advocate for all! I began to research the incidences of all MST, and the picture in my mind roared with anger and indignation as the cruelty, abuses, atrocities and malicious actions imposed upon another person, especially by those we are supposed to recognize as family.

The official definition of MST is shown below:

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Despite military sexual scandals, from Tailhook to Aberdeen Proving Grounds to the Lackland Air Force Basic Training (and too many others to list here) America was introduced to MST through a documentary called “The Invisible War”, a 2012 Academy Award Nominee. A wonderful movie, but it reflected, majorily, the female aspect of MST. This article is being written to educate our reading public and warriors that we know males are raped in larger numbers than ever reported. There was one male cameo in this film, Michael Matthews and his wife Geri Lynn Weinstein Matthews. Michael Matthews was one of the first male survivors I was lucky to get to know, along with his wife, Geri Lynn Weinstein Matthews. Among their many endeavors, Michael published an op-ed in the New York Times discussing his story and the issues surrounding Mlitary Sexual Trauma.  Here is a link to his story:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/opinion/the-untold-story-of-military-sexual-assault.html?_r=3

Today, I consider them to be courageous, staunch advocates, mentors, educators, and friends. Michael’s story was posted on YouTube, and is compelling in of itself.

Michael Matthews did not believe that the issue of male MST was not getting out to the public, legislation, or even the military, the force behind the fire. So, he created the documentary “Justice Denied”.  Geri Lynn Weinstein Matthews, a licensed social worker and counselor, became co-director and producer.

“Justice Denied”, their movie about male Rape in the military, is now free to watch and please share:

IMG951247That door to see their documentary was finally opened to me in July of 2014, when I received an invitation from Michael, and his wife, Geri Lynn Weinstein Matthews to attend a showing of their documentary, “Justice Denied,” hosted by Senator Kristin Gillibrand – D, NY, for other Congressional leaders and guests.

We had been friends and fellow advocates for a couple of years, and during this time, I knew the Matthews’ were working on their documentary, and I couldn’t wait to see it, and how more fitting to see it than in Washington DC. Michael and Geri Lynn also brought 2 survivors with them to participate on panel to answer questions. I do not have permission to mention their names, however, their stories were just as powerful on film as they were in the person.

I found myself crying as I watched “Justice Denied”, listening to survivors of the infamous predator Jeffrey Dahmer, about the unknown predators, and the predators that threatened their victims with further violence if the incidence was reported. Michael and Geri Lynn Weinstein Matthews have been on radio and television to educate the public that male MST is real, but because of the military culture reporting MST can get you dead, or wish you were.

Since “Justice Denied” had its first debut in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it has been receiving accolades, and appeared in numerous film festivals across the country. “Justice Denied” was recognize at the National Association of Social Workers, and Michael was given an award for the 2014 News Article of the Year. The Matthews’ are truly the benchmark of male MST advocacy.

Geri Lynn Weinstein Matthews also gave a speech explaining the facts of MST:

Government statistics of MST are not represented appropriately for females or males serving in the military. MST victims are afraid to tell, report a sexual assault for a multiple reasons: fear, anxiety, retaliation…..even loosing their career in the military. Many victims buried their pain and trauma for years.

As a registered nurse, I had to go back to my nursing school days and analyze and research ideals of trauma, from Kübler Ross Theory of Grieving, Maslow’so Hierarchy of Needs, Emotional-Cognitive Processing and I have read and re-read numerous scholarly journals on the subject. But nothing meant as much, or had such an impact on my own personal thoughts than listening to male survivors and their stories. Rape, assault, harassment –all of it is about POWER, the control over another person. The definition for males and females are the same when it comes to MST, but clinically and psychologically, all the books and scholarly journals I have read come to the same conclusions:  men psychologically process their trauma because they question the stigma associated with male MST, question their sexuality, myths around male rape, and they question their masculinity, all resulting in a feeling of helplessness, thus failing to report perpetrators.   One study in 2012, found “that male service members who were sexually assaulted during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan found that MST were using out-patient services” (Turchik, Pavao, Hyum, Mark,  Kimerling, 2012).

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MST will not STOP until we have a chain of command that act appropriately, setting an example for all officers and personnel.  The rape culture in the military is extinguished. There needs to be stronger legislation eliminating the power of the commander in the decision-making process to prosecute, and have other direct outside oversight over the prosecution process. If nothing hapns, we will continue have the same statistics as noted by:

Military sexual assault claims: 1 in 20 lead to jail time

—6,131 service members reported a sexual assault

—about 317 service members were court-martialed and sentenced to confinement

The read the rest from Military Times, written in May 2015:

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/crime/2015/05/13/sex-assault-numbers/26723265/

 

More to come,

Ginny Lee

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I am an Army disabled veteran, veterans rights activist, advocate for all PTSD and/or MST Survivors. I actually as a nursing advocate for veterans, having worked at a Warrior Transunit and in a VA hospital. I assist or help veterans file for disability claims. I'm an avid researcher and I don't stop until I have all the facts and in a place to be a perfect debator, as I have in prior visits to DC. I support Stop 22 a Day and Soldier's Wish. I believe the documentaries "Justice Denied" about male MST and "The Invisible War" have created great strides in changing the hostile, sexually atmosphere of our military. We also have to fight for our Warrior's who signed a blank check to protect our freedoms, up to including our lives. We are owed decent and symmetrical care throughout all VETERANS HOSPITALS, and equally, or more so, in our Veterans Benefits Administration where claims are decided.