How do we stop the retaliation from happening so victims of crimes in the military feel safe to report?

Even if you do go forward with a case and it’s adjudicated in your favor, it’s the retaliation that kicks our ass and de-rails our careers. Why is this happening? If you wonder why some who have been assaulted have severe PTSD, it’s the retaliation compounding the original trauma. And if you don’t report and try and soldier on, it catches up with you anyways in the form of behavioral issues and suicidal ideation. How do we stop the retaliation in the military from happening so victims of crimes feel safe to report?

Related Links:
Home Base Veteran Story: Jennifer & Lee Norris
Personal Story and Testimony of TSgt. Jennifer Norris, US Air Force Retired, Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (2013)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
Massachusetts School of Law Interviews Veteran Jennifer Norris About Violent Crime in the Military & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
What Happens When a Rape is Reported in the Military?

Rep Nikki Tsongas & Rep Mike Turner Host Educational Caucus: Improving Treatment Resources for Male Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma

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Dr. Susan J. McCutcheon, Director of Family Services, Women’s Mental Heath, and Military Sexual Trauma, Department of Veterans Affairs

Learn more:
Strength & Recovery: Men Overcoming Military Sexual Trauma
Men: You are Not Alone in Overcoming Military Sexual Trauma
Department of Veterans Affairs, Military Sexual Trauma

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Dr. Judith L. Johnson, Consulting Clinical Psychologist, The Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefit Clinic, William and Mary Law School

Learn more: Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic, William & Mary Law School

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Diana Rangoussis, Senior Policy Advisor, Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office (SAPRO)

Learn more: Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office

Learn more: Brian Lewis, US Navy Veteran & President and Co-Founder of Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

Learn more: Bob Hunter, US Navy Veteran & Vice President of Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

Part 2: Bob Hunter, US Navy Veteran

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Heath Phillips, US Navy Veteran & Executive Director of Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

Learn more: Heath Phillips, Active Duty Military & Veterans Advocate, a Voice for Male Victims of Crime

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Related Links:
Turner and Tsongas host briefing on Male Military Sexual Assault to give victims a voice
Colonel Doug James (ret), Chairman of “Save Our Heroes” is a “Wingman” for Change!
Veterans Benefits Clinic Highlights Problem of Male Sexual Trauma in the Military
‘It savaged my life’: military sexual assault survivors fighting to become visible
Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma (Mr. MST)
Military Sexual Trauma: Prevalent and Under Treated

Complex Post Traumatic Stress and Dissociation in Military and Veteran Populations

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“Dissociation can be defined as disruptions in aspects of consciousness, identity, memory, physical actions and/or the environment.” –Healthy Place

Dissociation in military and veterans is an issue that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves yet explains a lot of things. Dissociation tends to occur mostly with those who have complex Post Traumatic Stress. It is also referred to as blacking out.

Related Links:
Dissociation Explained
Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorder
Coming Apart: Trauma and the Fragmentation of the Self
How Trauma Can Lead to Dissociative Disorders
Working with Complex PTSD, Dissociation, and EMDR Therapy
Complex Trauma and Dissociation
Altered Circuits May Cause ‘Out-Of-Body’ Symptoms in Some People with PTSD
PTSD and Dissociation: What You Need to Know
Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder
Complex PTSD and the Realm of Dissociation
The Dissociative Subtype of PTSD: National Center for PTSD
Reexperiencing/Hyperaroused and Dissociative States in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Dissociative Symptomatology in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Disorders of Extreme Stress
Treatment of PTSD and Disassociation

The Army Stands Ready to Investigate Any Reports & Allegations of Sexual Assault Going Back to 2000 or Earlier

Claim: Sexual assault victims punished and lose health care benefits as a result.

HRW claims in their report that many service members lose their military career after being sexually assaulted & they have discharge papers that prevent them from getting health benefits.

DoD rejected the conclusions of the HRW report.

DoD states “they have many victims of sexual assault who receive honorable discharges from the military. There is a policy in place that offers assistance for anyone that reports a sexual assault. It is critical every survivor is treated with sensitivity that they deserve.”

Media states that victim was raped multiple times while serving her country and that they contacted the DoD and Army about her case, a case from 15 years ago.

She states that she was military intelligence, had lots of prescreening prior to enlistment. Promising path, requested by Chain of Command to apply to West Point. After first rape in military, her promising path turned to being retaliated against, and there were two more rapes for reporting the rape. It ended career with an illegal, bogus, discharge. Decade and a half later, still fighting to correct it.

Continue reading

Sexual assault in U.S. military reflects culture of bullying

Stop the Bully

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 19 (UPI) — The acceptance of bullying in U.S. culture contributes to sexual assault in the armed forces, experts say.

Mary Ellen O’Toole, editor-in-chief of Violence and Gender and retired FBI profiler and criminal investigator analyst led a roundtable discussion with Christopher Kilmartin of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Col. Jeffery Peterson of Center for Naval Analyses in Alexandria, Va., discussed specific factors that likely contribute to the sexual assault problem.

“The evidence is that the population of people who come into the U.S. military have more experience with sexual assault than the general population, both as offenders and as survivors. Survivors are at statistically increased risk of being revictimized, and offenders are at an increased risk for reoffending,” Kilmartin said at the roundtable.

Read more here.

Missouri: Local victim of military sexual assault speaks out (2013)


Reports of sexual assault in the military went up 46 percent in 2013, but the problem is not new to the women who answer the call of duty. -41 Action News

“It seemed like sexual trauma in the military back then was unheard of. I was not trying to be the test baby. I wasn’t trying to be the Rosa Parks of that generation.” -Ja-Renna Floyd, US Army Veteran

Related Links:
Local military sexual assault victim speaks out

HRW: Ending Retaliation Against Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military

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Please note that Human Rights Watch has completed their report

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking individuals with first-hand experience as part of an in-depth investigation into retaliation against sexual assault survivors, including personality disorder discharges, in the US military. HRW plans to publish a report on its findings with the goal of improving military response to retaliation complaints and wrongful discharges.

As part of our investigation, we are interested in speaking with:

• Survivors who have experienced reprisals in any form after Military Sexual Trauma (including retaliation through discharge for mental health reasons such as personality disorder or adjustment disorder, harassment by peers or supervisors, non-judicial punishments, negative evaluation reports or demotions, collateral charges, etc.), and

• Survivors who have attempted—successfully or not—to report retaliation or remedy their discharge (such as through Boards of Correction of Military Records or Discharge Review Boards or Inspectors General).

We will not publish the names of survivors unless otherwise requested. We take our commitment to respecting confidentiality very seriously, as our work depends on earning and keeping the trust of those who share their stories with us. If you are willing to share your personal account, please send us a private message.

Human Rights Watch does not provide payment, legal services or advice, or any other benefits to its sources, nor does it accept funds from any government. Communications are not protected by an attorney-client privilege.

FMI about HRW, click here.
HRW on Facebook.
Final Report: Embattled: Retaliation against Sexual Assault Survivors in the US Military

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Chellie PingreeMST Denied Claim Review Process

Over the last 10 years, thousands of military sexual assault survivors who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and who submitted circumstantial evidence (secondary markers) of sexual assault or harassment, have seen their claims denied. While there has been increased attention to adjudicating these claims accurately, in a July 2012 Congressional hearing, the VA admitted that mistakes were made in its consideration of some of these claims and agreed to launch a review of denied MST-connected PTSD claims. In April 2013, some veterans who received denials for PTSD/MST service connection after 2009 were sent a letter offering to evaluate whether acceptable evidence was overlooked in reviewing their claim. While I am glad the VA will review these cases to give some veterans a second chance to receive the compensation they deserve, I don’t think the agency went far enough. I’m also disappointed with the lack of information and resources the VA has provided to veterans who could benefit from a review. I’ve put together a FAQ below to help you in the process. I’ve been proud to work on easing the evidence standards necessary for MST survivors to receive benefits, but in the meantime we should at least give veterans the fair consideration they’re due under the current rules. Best, Chellie Pingree

Original Link: http://pingree.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1042%3Amst-denied-claim-review-process&catid=3%3Aissues&Itemid=1

CBS News: Military cracks down on rampant sexual abuse

Jennifer NorrisCBS News: Former Air Force Sgt. Jennifer Norris, a rape victim, said, “Blaming a civilian hook-up culture for the epidemic does nothing but contribute to victim blaming, excusing perpetrators, and it belittles the serious nature of these crimes.”

She said the system is rigged against low-ranking service members. “Commanders who are responsible for the resolution of these cases are far too often biased in favor of the often higher-ranking perpetrators,” she said.

Norris spoke at a press conference at which Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and other members of Congress pushed legislation that would allow victims to bypass their commanders.

As far as how to make that happen, the senator said, “Allow them to report directly to a military lawyer, a trained prosecutor, someone who understands sexual assault, and is the one who will do the investigation and then decide whether or not to bring it to trial.”

Read more at CBS News here.

POD: Survivor Jennifer Norris Demands Sexual Assault Investigation at Lackland (2012)

Aug. 1 2012, Capitol Hill: Protect Our Defenders and five veterans who survived unpunished rape and sexual assault in the military hold a press conference in Washington, DC to demand Congress open an investigation into the widening Lackland Air Force Base sexual assault scandal. These are their speeches.