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?

The Clay Hunt Act: What President Barack Obama Just Signed (February 12, 2015)

On February 12, 2015, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law at the White House. -The Obama White House (February 12, 2015) 

Summary: Learn more about the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act and the Administration’s commitment to help veterans.

The new suicide prevention law is named in honor of Clay Hunt, an extraordinary young Texan and decorated Marine who served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like too many of our veterans, Clay struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress after he came home. Sadly, Clay’s life ended much too soon when he tragically committed suicide in 2011 at the age of only 28.

This new law builds on a long history of executive actions the President has issued to improve access to mental health services for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families. The Clay Hunt Act will:

  • Require annual third-party evaluations of VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs
  • Create a centralized website with resources and information for veterans about the range of mental health services available from the VA
  • Require collaboration on suicide prevention efforts between VA and non-profit mental health organizations

President Obama passes law to prevent suicide among military members. -CNN (March 31,2016)

Read more from the The Obama White House here.

Related Links:
The Clay Hunt Act: What the President Just Signed
President Obama on Veteran Suicide – Clay Hunt Act
President Obama Signs the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Remarks by the President at Signing of the Clay Hunt SAV Act
Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act
H.R.203 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Clay Hunt SAV Act
Senate Report 114-34 – Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America Veterans Act
Casey Statement Following President’s Signing of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Pelosi Statement on President Obama Signing Bipartisan Law to Prevent Veteran Suicide
President Signs Clay Hunt Act, Says ‘Stigma Has to End’ | Dept. of Defense
Clay Hunt Act complements VA’s ongoing commitment to mental health
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act | IAVA
President Obama Signs Into Law Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
President Obama Signs Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Obama signs veteran suicide prevention bill
American Federation for Suicide Prevention Supports Our Veterans
Ranking Member Corrine Brown Stresses Importance of Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act’s First Anniversary
Clay Hunt Act Serves To Prevent Veteran Suicide | NAMI
Clay Hunt SAV Act Update: May 2019 | IAVA

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.

Link

PTSD

PTSD: There’s No Such Thing!?

I don’t know if I can call myself a PTSD expert, or not, but I did have more than 1000 PTSD patients whom I successfully treated. I also have PTSD from my 25-month visit to the US Army in World War Two.  PTSD is a mental disorder, because people with it are not normal.

PTSD victims had too much artillery, mortar attacks, airplane strafing and the usual hell of combat.

Read more: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/october022013/ptsd-prevention_pl.php

CNN – Experts: Vets’ PTSD, violence a growing problem | VA Contradicts the Theory (2012)


Court documents show triple murder suspect, Roy Murry, an Iraq war veteran, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, and now local veterans coping with PTSD are speaking out, wanting to clear the air that, just because you have it, it does not make you a threat to the community. -KXLY 4

“A man opens fire in a national park, killing a ranger who was attempting to stop him after he blew through a vehicle checkpoint. A second man is suspected in the stabbing deaths of four homeless men in Southern California.

Both men, U.S. military veterans, served in Iraq — and both, according to authorities and those who knew them, returned home changed men after their combat service.”

Read more from CNN here.

Military Rape Survivor Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon Died by Suicide After Suffering With Depression; Family Hopes Her Death May Spark Change (October 7, 2010)

Sgt Amanda Sheldon, US Army (2010)

Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, U.S. Army

Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, 24, took her own life while stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Sgt. Sheldon was found unresponsive at her off-post home in Fayetteville and was pronounced dead at the local hospital on October 7, 2010. Sgt. Sheldon’s mom, Renee Orcatt, went public with Amanda’s story in an effort to raise awareness, change policy, and save lives. Renee told the local media that Amanda was a victim of rape in the military at the hands of a superior officer. Amanda reported the crime to the Army and informed them she had been drugged and raped. As a result, the suspect was criminally convicted and discharged from the Army. Initially, Amanda sought help from military counselors and the family reported that she was getting better, yet still struggled with depression. Amanda wanted to deal with it and move on to serve her country as she had originally intended to do.

Unfortunately, according to Renee, this wasn’t the last time Amanda would have to confront her past while serving in the Army. When Amanda was up for promotion, she was asked why she was going to counseling. She would go on to get her promotion, but this line of questioning was something she never wanted to experience again. After making the realization that her past and seeking help was not confidential, counseling was out of the question in her future if she wanted to preserve her career. Sgt. Sheldon felt judged for seeking treatment for military sexual trauma. Her mom reported that Amanda recognized she needed counseling again and was planning on getting out of the military. When she died, she was serving out her final year of enlistment, had plans to go to college, and wanted to start a new life outside the military, with her new love. But her unit got tasked with a deployment to Afghanistan and she set about making plans to go to Afghanistan with her unit before she was discharged from the Army.

Amanda would learn that in order to accomplish this, she would need to re-enlist for two more years. Amanda didn’t want to stay in for two more years and made the devastating decision to stay back. She felt like no matter what decision she made, she was letting someone down. Renee observed that Amanda never came to grips with this decision and entered into depression. Amanda’s mom begged her to get counseling but to Amanda that was no longer an option. Sgt. Sheldon was attached to the 18th Fires Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. She joined the Army in October 2005 and was assigned to Fort Bragg in February 2010. The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes the circumstances surrounding her untimely death will spark military-wide change. In 2010, the Department of Defense was concerned about the increase in active duty suicides and since then the number of suicides in the military has increased.

Editor’s Note: CNN reported the suicide rates among active-duty Marines and the Navy are at a 10-year high on January 28, 2019. Task and Purpose reported Army suicides reached a five-year high on January 31, 2019. Military.com reported Active-Duty military suicides are at Record Highs in 2018. 

“Just like any other soldier, whether she died in combat or some other way, she’s still a fallen soldier. She served her country and she served it well.” -Renee Orcatt (Amanda Sheldon’s mom)

Source: Soldier’s Mom speaks out on suicide, WOOD TV8 (October 14, 2010)

The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes her death may spark change. The 2004 Belding graduate’s body will return to West Michigan on Thursday night, about one week after Sheldon took her own life while serving at a Fort Bragg, N.C., military base. -WOOD TV8 (October 14, 2010)

Related Links:
Sgt Amanda Ann “Mandy” Sheldon | Find a Grave
Grand Rapids soldier Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, 24, dies in N.C. hospital
Female soldier dies at Fayetteville hospital
Police, family say Belding area soldier took her own life
Soldier’s mom speaks out on suicide (YouTube)
Ada family of soldier who died off-base in North Carolina says death was not suspicious
The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes her death may spark change
Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon’s Mom Speaks Out on Suicide; Family Hopes to Inspire Military-Wide Change (October 14, 2010)
The Challenge and the Promise: Strengthening the Force, Preventing Suicide and Saving Lives (2011)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Retired Marine Stephanie Schroeder Fights for Servicemember’s Rights at the United Nation’s Geneva Conventions (November 11, 2014)
Ali and Josh Hobson: Sexual Assault and Retaliation in the US Air Force (2015)
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (2015)
Highlights of Lt Col Teresa James, Army National Guard, Military Sexual Assault and Retaliation Case (2015)
Heath Phillips, Active Duty Military & Veterans Advocate, a Voice for Male Victims of Crime (2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
What Happens When a Rape is Reported in the Military? (2017)
How do we stop the retaliation from happening so victims of crimes in the military feel safe to report? (2017)
Dignified transfer performed for Fort Carson soldier who died on post (2018)
Failing Private Burnham: How the Army Did Not Protect a Minnesota Soldier after a Sexual Assault (2018)
Tribute to a Fallen Soldier | Amanda Sheldon
In Loving Memory of Amanda Ann Sheldon | Facebook