Massachusetts School of Law Interviews Veteran Jennifer Norris About Violent Crime in the Military & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Massachusetts School of Law explored violent crime in the military with Jennifer Norris, Military Justice for All, and the impact it has on civilians too. Jennifer talked about her experiences with four different perpetrators within the first two years of her enlisted career, the reporting & adjudication process, and the retaliation that ensued and eventually ended a fifteen year career. Also discussed was the jurisdictional hurdles that arise with a transient population like the military. For example, Jennifer was not able to press charges against one perpetrator because he moved out of state after learning he was getting reported. Another perpetrator was active duty Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, therefore a state National Guard commander did not have jurisdiction of a federal employee. And finally, although Jennifer was able to move forward with two other cases involving high ranking National Guard members with over eighteen years of service, unlike the civilian world, after the cases were adjudicated, they retired with full military retirement benefits and no public records.

Jennifer also shared that although the Department of Defense downplays violent crime in the military and sexual assault appears to be closely monitored by some female members of Congress, everything is not under control. The crime appears to be escalating. The military doesn’t just have a sexual assault issue, they have a domestic violence and homicide issue as well. They also have a pattern of ruling soldier’s deaths both stateside and overseas as suicides, training accidents, and illness despite families strongly protesting and evidence revealing otherwise. Domestic violence is more likely to lead to homicide and unfortunately the two issues have not been given the attention they deserve because until you do the research yourself and see how many families and communities have been impacted by the crimes, suspicious death, and homicide of a soldier or civilian, you wouldn’t know because Congress and the main stream media do not give it the attention it deserves. Homicide and independent investigations of all suspicious deaths should be given the highest priority not only because people have lost their lives and families deserve answers but because someone needs to be held accountable. We must prevent others from becoming victims of these crimes too.

Jennifer discussed the lasting impacts the crimes and retaliation had on her. Jennifer was empowered after doing all that she could do to protect others from getting harmed by the same people, but her squadron did not see it the same way. After the cases were adjudicated, Jennifer faced hostility from a couple of the perpetrator’s friends and her Chain of Command once she returned back to work. She eventually had to transfer to another squadron. It was the professional and personal retaliation that made her start feeling more intense feelings of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. And unfortunately her next squadron wasn’t any more welcoming then the last. She was told shortly after arriving that ‘no female makes it in the satellite communications work center’ and that she was experiencing hostility from her new Chain of Command because the old squadron called and informed them she was a ‘troublemaker.’ The retaliation had a direct impact on her mental health and cemented an already traumatizing experience with further abuse, indifference, and judgement. By the time she got to her third squadron (almost ten years after the first attack), she learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs treated Post Traumatic Stress resulting from military sexual trauma.

After Jennifer informed her third squadron that she was getting help for the PTS at the Department of Veterans Affairs, she was immediately red flagged and asked to leave the squadron until she could produce a note from her doctor giving her permission to be at work. She did this and jumped through the other hoops asked of her in an attempt to save her career but lost confidentiality in the process. Jennifer walked away from her career in the end because she refused to release her VA records for a security clearance investigation. The entire experience not only opened her up to judgement again (simply because she asked for some counseling due to what someone else did) but she had to prove that she was ‘fit for duty’ while the perpetrators were enjoying full military retirement benefits. Jennifer chose a second chance at a civilian career when she refused to release her confidential VA records for her security clearance investigation because she wanted to ensure a future free of a tainted security clearance. It makes zero sense that someone who is a victim of crime be negatively impacted by the crimes of others in yet another way. The hypocrisy of the system is truly revealed when you look at how the perpetrators were let off the hook but the victim of crime loses their military career because they had the strength to first report and then eventually ask for help.

Veteran James Jennings Jr Casualty of ‘Suicide by Cop’ in Richland County, South Carolina (2016)

PTSD

Richland County Sheriff’s Department says a man who engaged in an hours-long standoff with law enforcement agents on August 8th was a former member of the military and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. James Jennings Jr., 69, died from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body, one self-inflicted. Police were called to a domestic situation at Jennings’ residence. Jennings barricaded himself inside his home and police responded after he pointed a weapon at his wife and threatened to kill her. “He wanted us to kill him,” said the Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. After he went down he was transported to the hospital where he later died from the injuries. The Sheriff’s Department said that Jennings suffered from PTSD after serving in the military and believes it played a role in his death.

“It is real, these people are suffering and they need help.” Sheriff Lott

Sheriff: Man in “suicide by cop” case was ex-military with PTSD

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

Honoring Veteran Justin Eldridge, US Marine Corps, Connecticut (2013)

USMC

Marine Corps veteran Justin Eldridge was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Waterford, Connecticut home on October 29, 2013. Justin served in the USMC for 8 1/2 years. After a deployment to Afghanistan he battled with both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. As a result he was medically retired from the USMC in 2008. Justin was married with four children at the time of his death. Justin’s wife Joanna has continued the fight for our soldiers and veterans. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) honored Justin Eldridge on the Senate Floor and co-sponsored a veteran suicide prevention bill in his name. Joanna attended the 2015 State of the Union in January and the bipartisan suicide prevention bill was signed into law in March 2015.

His final message, posted on his Facebook Page at about 9 p.m., “theres only so much bashing someone can take before they react………” -Waterford Patch

Related Links:
Justin Eldridge Obituary
Justin Eldridge’s Battle With PTSD Ended In Tragedy Last Night
For Waterford veteran, battling PTSD was too tough a fight
Man who killed himself in Waterford was ex-Marine
Former Marine’s suicide in Waterford standoff shocks friends
Marine’s Family Decides To Talk Openly About His Suicide
PTSD cases in veterans on the rise
Why One Man’s Death Is A National Tragedy
U.S. Marine’s Suicide Magnifies Veterans Needs, Says Acclaimed Cowboy Singer R.W. Hampton
In Senate Floor Speech, Blumenthal Honors Heroism Of U.S. Marine Justin Eldridge Of Waterford
Senator Blumenthal honors US Marine Justin Eldridge
Widow continues Marine veteran’s fight
Study: Younger vets have higher suicide risk
Blumenthal wins on veteran suicide prevention bill
Blumenthal-backed veterans suicide prevention bill wins approval
Senate approves Blumenthal’s veteran suicide prevention bill
New Generation Of Veterans Has Higher Suicide Risk, Study Finds
Widow of Connecticut Marine to Attend State of the Union Address
Preventing suicide to save veterans’ lives
Bipartisan veterans suicide prevention act signed into law


In a Senator Floor speech today, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal honors the heroism of United States Marine Justin Eldridge of Waterford, tragic victim of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who took his own life two days ago.

Carri Leigh Goodwin, US Marine Corps, Ohio (2009)

Carri Leigh Goodwin, USMC (2009)

Carri Leigh Goodwin, US Marine Corps

My original efforts were inspired by Carri Leigh Goodwin and the others that did not survive as a result of their service to this country. In honor of these women and men, we pledge to fight for justice on their behalf, amplify their voices, and support the families who deserve to know the truth.

In August 2007 at the age of 18 Carri Leigh Goodwin of Ohio enlisted in the United States Marine Corps to make her former Marine father proud. During her time in the Marine Corps Carri was sexually assaulted by two different men while serving, reported the crimes, and was instead discharged with a mental health diagnosis and misconduct discharge. Like the rest, she had acute PTSD from the brutal assaults that she endured. She died on February 28, 2009 from alcohol poisoning only a few days after being discharged from the US Marine Corps. Gary Noling wants to honor her and all the families who have lost their child to the sexual assault and violence epidemic in the military.

Related Links:
Carri Leigh Goodwin (1989 – 2009)
Carri Leigh Goodwin MST
More charges in court brawl
Speaking Out: US Military Sexual Violence and Trauma Against Women
In Harm’s Way: Non-combat deaths of Ohio soldiers raise questions about U.S. military’s treatment of female members
The Tragic Case of Maria Lauterbach
Military Sexual Trauma: Is this how we treat women in the military?
Military Sexual Trauma: The Women’s War
Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services: The Invisible War
Military Fails to Protect Service Members from Rape— Class Action Lawsuit filed against the Pentagon
Why suicide rate among veterans may be more than 22 a day
Tammi Sue Goodwin-Smith Obituary
What the Military Owes Rape Survivors Like My Daughter
Petition: Support Victims Of Military Sexual Assault