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


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


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


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


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


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


“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

UPI: Sexual assault in U.S. military reflects culture of bullying (2014)

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.

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

20140301-003103.jpgWhat is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.

PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.

FMI from the National Institute of Mental Health, please click 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

Politico: McCaskill’s ‘lonely’ sex-assault stand (2013)

My Approved PortraitsSen. Claire McCaskill is on the verge of a historic victory reforming the Pentagon’s sexual assault policies.

But rather than basking in acclaim during the debate’s climatic week in the Capitol, the Missouri Democrat finds herself paying a political cost for being an outlier within her own caucus. She’s the only one of the Senate’s 16 Democratic women opposing a much more sweeping change that removes the chain of command from prosecuting sexual assault and other major military crimes.

Read more from Politico here.

“Dear @clairecmc Thanks 4 railroading the Military Justice Improvement Act. Is it true that you have never served a day in your life? #MJIA,” Jennifer Norris, a Maine-based Air Force veteran who works with sexual assault victims…tweeted, referring to Gillibrand’s legislative proposal by its official name. -Politico

Editor’s Note: It appears the original tweet has disappeared and it was never deleted by Jennifer Norris. Also the tweet is not on the web version of the article but is still part of the mobile version of the article.

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.

Spc Mikayla Bragg Died of a Non Combat Death in Afghanistan, Army Ruled Suicide & Report Calls for Continuity of Healthcare in Deployed Locations (2011)

Spc Mikayla Bragg, US Army (2011)

Spc Mikayla Bragg, US Army

Army Specialist Mikayla Bragg died of a non combat death in Khowst province, Afghanistan on December 21, 2011. Spc. Bragg was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Fort Knox, Kentucky. The Army ruled that Spc. Bragg’s cause of death was suicide. After an investigation it was revealed that commanders at Fort Knox failed to properly track Spc. Bragg as a “high-risk” soldier who could potentially hurt herself or others before she was cleared to deploy to Afghanistan. The Army investigators also made three recommendations in the report.

  1. Mental-health providers stateside should share more information about high-risk soldiers with mental-health providers in war zones. Camp Salerno’s behavioral-health officer said she had been unable to get mental-health records for Bragg because of privacy laws.
  2. Commanders should develop better procedures to ensure personnel data is not lost while transferring soldiers between units.
  3. No soldier, regardless of gender, should be stationed in a guard tower alone.

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Spc. Mikayla A. Bragg
Fort Knox soldier killed in Afghanistan
Longview soldier killed in Afghanistan
Longview soldier killed in Afghanistan (KOMO)
Longview soldier killed in Afghanistan (HeraldNet)
U.S. Army specialist from Longview killed in Afghanistan
Army Specialist with Ties to Shelton Killed in Afghanistan
Family, friends remember U.S. Army specialist from Longview killed in Afghanistan
Army Spc. Mikayla A. Bragg honored in dignified transfer Dec. 24
Flags lowered to honor Longview soldier
Jan. 5: Flags at Half-Staff in Honor of Mikayla Bragg
Report Finds Female Soldier Committed Suicide In Afghanistan
Longview soldier killed herself, report says
Longview soldier killed herself, report says (AP)
Report: Longview soldier committed suicide
Public Federal Way memorial honors Spc. Mikayla Bragg
Updated: The War Dead Since Sept. 21, 2011
The Unknown Soldiers: A Box of Flowers
Signs of respect in Holliston for Memorial Day
Vancouver Memorial Day ceremony pays tribute to region’s war dead
Confidentiality Speaking
‘Fell through the cracks’: Could Longview soldier’s death have been avoided?
139 Female Soldiers Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan
How Longview, Wash.’s Mikayla Bragg ‘fell through the cracks’
How Mikayla Bragg and 31 Soldiers “Fell Through The Cracks”
Army vet leads charge to create memorial for fallen Longview soldier
Thieves steal monument to Washington soldier who died in Afghanistan