Went to see the Invisible war at The Inner Truth Project yesterday. It was awesome. It was also very emotional and sad. However, I also saw that what I am experiencing is not uncommon. Many of the women and men that were assaulted were assaulted by their boss and had no one to report the crime to. Many were demoted, discharged, disbelieved etc… At the end we had the displeasure of being informed of the status of the perpetrators of these crimes. Many had gotten promotions and some even lived close to their victims.
Something that really stood out to me was the extremely high levels of PTSD among veterans who were also sexually assaulted, not by the enemy, but by their own fellow soldiers. The levels of anxiety and other symptoms were a lot more intense than in veterans or simply sexual assault survivors respectively.
Sadly the law suit that was filed against the agency that these soldiers worked for was dismissed and it was decided that sexual assault in the armed forces was an “occupational hazard”. Interesting that they had this perspective as the fact is that these soldiers were assaulted by their fellow soldiers not by the enemy which is what I think we all understood to be the actual hazard ….the enemy not your siblings in arms.
As much as I do not agree with war or weapons I agree even less with the people who protect us not being able to feel safe among their fellow soldiers and not being able to then at least get justice if they are sexually assaulted. The injuries they received as a result of these assaults were lasting and debilitating not only physically but also mentally. I was very sad to see that one of the most severly injured survivors was denied her medical coverage because she had not served the minimum required number of time which was 2 years. She had not been able to serve the minimum time because she was sexually assaulted.
There seems to be alot of talk about helping but no actual changes in the literal physical sense in the armed forces as yet. That was the thing that stood out to me the most. We are constantly being fed lies, that women are equal in this country that service people are treated well that college is fun and safe on and on the lies go. But let’s be clear rape is prevalent and the punishment for rape is not prevalent in fact it is almost non existent at about 3 in 100 according to RAINN. These assaults happen in homes at the hands of family, in churches at the hands of priests, in schools at the hands of teachers, in colleges at the hands of fellow students etc.., in the armed forces at the hands of anyone and in our own homes at the hands of our current or ex-partners.
Many rapes are not reported and of the ones that are most do not even lead to an arrest and with no arrest there is no charge or conviction and as a result these rapists are given the clear message…. “rape is okay please continue doing it”. There is nothing to stop them if they are not being given a good enough reason to stop. According to one of the people commentating in the documentary the average rapist has approximately 300 victims in their lifetime. I had never heard that until then and I was so shocked and still am shocked. I am literally in denial that this is true but I know that chances are that it is true.
H****** was there and was very upset at times and so was M*** who comforted H******* and I brought them a box of tissues. I finally got to meet M****’s husband who’s got a nice aura about him. S*********’s husband also has a good vibe about him, he is Asian in appearance and doesn’t speak much…. in fact neither of them do. Our panel discussion with the rep from veteran’s services was pretty informal as always and just the way I like it and it was awesome. She had to leave and go to an event at The Son’s Of Italy where I had just been recently lol. She got directions from M***** husband and then left while we all got ourselves together, washed our coffee cups and cleaned up. The seventeen year old that was there was very convinced that I was the same age lol, she is blond and into botany. It was all in all a great meeting. Her aunt was there as well as the older Latina woman who of course is Catholic and brought up as part of the discussion the situation with the Catholic church.
So I took notes to join the conversation and to help in the push to stop military rapes. NotInvisible.org and #NotInvisible are to ways to do so and to spread the word and hopefully effect a swift, complete, and permanent change.