Battling the Storm Within

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Male veteran sexual assault survivors speak out

The Violence Against Women Prevention Program (VAWPP), the Veterans Affairs and Military Programs and the Veteran Student Organization joined on March 27 for a forum on male military sexual assaults.

Two panelists from the MAVEN Foundation led the discussion about the effects and causes of military sexual trauma (MST). The MAVEN Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises awareness for veteran survivors of MST.

Former Army service member and current UConn student, Michael Bidwell, and Navy Veteran Bob Hunter, boldly share their stories and discuss the effects of military sexual trauma. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)Read more...

Tillis: No VA benefits for Marine veterans who advocated rape, harassment


Furious over a nude-photo scandal involving male Marines who made sexually violent comments online about female Marines, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said Tuesday that he wanted to explore how to punish non-active duty and retired personnel who participated.
One idea: stripping any guilty veterans of benefits.

Read more here:


Veterans increasingly filing disability claims due to MRE exposure

Veterans increasingly filing disability claims due to MRE exposure
WASHINGTON — More than 100 veterans have in recent months filed non-combat related disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs due to years of overexposure to meals, ready-to-eat, and that number is expected to rise, sources confirmed today.

Some 20 military veterans announced their intentions to protest at the headquarters of the VA later this week, in an effort to shine a light on what they believe has been a vastly-overlooked ailment for veterans who have transitioned to the civilian world.

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Can Spiritual Therapy Ease Your PTSD Symptoms?

A male wearing a BDU jacket speaking with a male counselor.

A researcher associated with the Augusta VA is exploring the potential role spirituality might play in therapy given to Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.
By Tom Cramer
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
How big a role might spirituality play in helping Veterans cope with the ravages of post-traumatic stress? The VA would like to know.
Wounded Souls

Read more....

LaVena Johnson: Raped and Murdered by her Colleagues on a Military Base in Iraq

LaVena Johnson was a soldier who enlisted in the Army in 2003. She was the first woman from Missouri to die in Iraq. What happened to this young black woman was appalling.

She was found in her tent with a gunshot wound to the head, a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, and a trail of blood leading away from her tent. What’s even more appalling is the Department of Defense has officially ruled her death a suicide.

The autopsy report and photographs revealed that her death was inconsistent with a suicide, and looked consistent with a rape-murder, but as far as the U.S. Criminal Investigative Command for the Army is concerned the case remains closed.

Discover more...VIDEO.

How trauma lodges in the body and how to release it

NOTE: This is part of a fascinating interview with Bessel van der Kolk, a renowned psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Basically van der Kolk (who has worked extensively with Veterans and PTSD)  says that trauma gets stuck in our bodies--our muscles (from the clenching when the event happens) and areas of the brain that talk therapy simply can't reach

Female war veterans who get hooked on drugs or alcohol are FIVE times more likely to kill themselves

The study involving more than four million veterans showed that female veterans with substance-abuse issues have a higher rate of suicide than their male counterparts (file photo)

Female war veterans who turn to drink and drugs are up to five times more likely to commit suicide than their colleagues, new research claims.

The study involving more than four million veterans showed that among both genders, those who develop drug or alcohol problems are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as their comrades.

Read more:


Neuroscientists Discover A Song That Reduces Anxiety By 65 Percent

Anxiety — that feeling of dread, fear, worry and panic — is certainly nothing new. Hippocrates wrote about it in the fourth century BCE. As did Søren Kierkegaard in the 1860s. And Sigmund Freud addressed the disorder in 1926. However, jump to the present and we’re seeing a significant uptick — especially with youth.


What stress and trauma do to your body

Combat, and even going through the military rigors of training, causes stress. We know that. But what's fast becoming apparent is that stress (even stress from civilian jobs and day-to-day living) changes your DNA. And those changes lead to disease. The field of epigenetics is revealing why. (Epigenetics is the science of how our environment changes our genes.)


Why veterans might need healing that doesn’t involve pills or therapy

Not all Iraq War veterans suffer from PTSD. Another traumatic effect of war, moral injury, is receiving more attention. David Wood is the senior military correspondent for The Huffington Post and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has covered conflict for more than 35 years throughout the Middle East, Africa, Russia and China. A self-described pacifist Quaker, Wood takes a humanistic approach to his work about war. His latest book "What Have We Done" explores this infrequently addressed burden our soldiers are bringing back from war.

How can the average American understand the difference between PTSD and moral injury?

Read more....

What Civilians Don't Understand About Military Sexual Harassment

One Marine veteran explains why she's not surprised by the Corps' recent nude photo sharing scandal
One Marine says "I didn't feel like I could openly be fully human" among her comrades. Credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty
One of the first things I learned in the Marines was that my male colleagues could easily blend in as one of the guys. My junior enlisted "devil dogs" traded jokey insults and shoved each other like a litter of alpha puppies, but as a female Marine officer, I learned early that our comrades' perceptions of us were often different – and limited. At Officer Candidates School, one female sergeant instructor stalked through the squad bay and yelled at our sixty-woman platoon, "If you're a woman in the Marine Corps," she hollered, "you're either a bitch, a dyke, or a ho." A few months later, I compared notes with a male classmate, who relayed how he was taught to drill with an M-16. "You're on a first date," the male sergeant instructor had said, holding the rifle in front of him. "Things are goin' good and you're snugglin'. You decide to go for it. Now she might smack your hand away. So you gotta be quick! You gotta grab the goodies!" He'd grabbed the rifle's handguard, a stand-in for the date's breasts, and brought his weapon down to the position of attention.


Female veterans with PTSD getting better care from Veterans Affairs- VIDEO

One out of every 10 veterans leaving the military is a woman, and as that number grows so do the cases of PTSD.
But helping these women is proving difficult for Veterans Affairs, a system that historically has only focused on men.
Navy veteran Tanya Godinez is going to call ‘The H.O.P.E. Center’ home for the next nine weeks. She was raped by a man on her ship 26 years ago and has suffered from PTSD ever since.
About 1-in-4 women say they were sexually assaulted while serving in the military. As a result, most PTSD cases stem from those assaults. And sadly, some women say they deal with this trauma for decades.
“I kind of look at PTSD as like having a full-time job where it’s intense,” says Caryn Dilandro, PhD Clinical Psychologist and PTSD program manager.

Read more..

VA secretary backs expanding caregiver program to older vets


WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin supports expanding his department’s caregiver benefits to families of veterans of all eras, and thinks the move may be far less costly than most critics expect.

In testimony before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee earlier this week, Shulkin said he believes the current restrictions on the caregiver program — which limit many benefits solely to families of post-9/11 veterans — need to be updated.

“I do believe it needs to be for all veterans,” he said, “particularly our older veterans who want to stay at home, and then maybe they wouldn't have to leave their home and into an institution.”

He said department officials have begun a review of the costs and procedures for expanding the program, and will formally approach lawmakers with a plan in the months to come.


PBS Documentary Brings Chronic Pain Out of Shadows - VIDEO

Many chronic pain sufferers are frustrated with how they are depicted in the media – often as lazy, whining, drug seeking addicts.

new documentary that's begun airing on local PBS stations is trying to change that narrative.
“I wanted to give a voice to people who live in the shadows. People in pain are often ignored and treated as outcasts or druggies,” says Lynn Webster, MD, a leading expert on pain management, past President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, and co-producer of “The Painful Truth”


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Shulkin confirms VA will transition to commercial EHR

Veterans affairs sign

Less than a month after he was confirmed as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, M.D., said the VA is officially switching to a commercial, off-the-shelf EHR system, replacing its frequently maligned VistA software.

Shulkin made the announcement during a hearing before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs discussing the VA’s Choice Program aimed at improving community health options for veterans.


Sexual assault in the military is more than a political problem

Sexual assault in the military is more than a political problem

The U.S. Marine Corps is investigating allegations of an unspecified number of Marines and potentially veterans that allegedly distributed nude photos of female colleagues, and other women, as part of a social media network; these charges illuminate that sexual misconduct is still a very real problem for the U.S. military.


Nude photo sharing scandal expands throughout the military

Defense officials are investigating an image-sharing message board, where troops from all branches of the service are crowdsourcing naked pictures of specific female service members, Military Times has learned.

“This alleged behavior is inconsistent with our values,” said Army Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, a Defense Department spokesman. 


Documentary about women veterans to air on public television

This March, public television stations across the country will air “Soldier On: Life After Deployment,” which shares the stories of three women veterans readjusting to civilian life after being deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

The film follows the lives of Army National Guard veteran Lyndsey Lyons, Army veteran Amanda Tejada and Marine Corps veteran Natasha Young.


After online photo scandal, female Marines unite to start a campaign of support

A new site called the “Female Marines United campaign” wants to raise money to support women in the Corps after hundreds of nude photos of female marines were posted to a secret Facebook group called “Marines United.”


Marines United’ Is Now Sharing Explicit Videos Of Servicewomen On Porn Sites

A Marine with II Marine Expeditionary Force locates practice targets using binoculars while conducting observation lane training at the Division Combat Skills Center aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 9, 2015, during a designated marksmanship course.

The reports of the demise of ‘Marines United’ are greatly exaggerated.

The 30,000-member Facebook group that served as ground zero for the nude photo-sharing scandal that’s rocked the Marine Corps is alive and well. Despite an ongoing investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and a harsh warning from Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, the members of a new private Facebook group called “Marines United 2.0” (or MU2.0, apparently) have resumed uploading and sharing explicit photos of their fellow servicewomen.


There Are No More Excuses For Neglecting Our Sisters-In-Arms


When I was a young Marine on my first tour in Iraq’s Anbar province, I met then-Lance Cpl. Gabby Altamira. Not only were we both boots, we were also augmented from a different unit, so naturally we were the first ones to be “voluntold” to go on security duty when the time came. I spent a few weeks guarding an empty desert in western Iraq for a few weeks, and Altamira ended up doing something far more impactful.

Read  more...

VA to start offering mental health care to 'bad paper' veterans

WASHINGTON -- Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said his department will start offering mental health services for veterans with other-than-honorable dismissals as soon as possible, saying the issue is too important to wait for congressional intervention.

“We have some authorities to do that,” he told members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Tuesday night. “So many veterans are just disconnected from our system. The 20 a day committing suicide are not getting the care they need.


Ending Harassment Of Women In The Corps Starts With Marine Leadership

U.S. Marine Corps enlistees Emily Warren, Carlota Rolden, Dylan Kowalski and Maria Daume meet Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, commanding general of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, outside of the Fox News building in New York City, Aug. 17, 2016.

As a Marine vet, I love the Corps and I tend to focus on the positives aspects of service. While I was on active duty from 20022008, I never talked about harassment and assault nor spent much time contemplating the severity of the problems. The result is guilt I still carry today.

My last active-duty billet was at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. At 4th Recruit Training Battalion, I was responsible for the training and welfare of women who had just joined the Corps and were attempting to complete boot camp.


Ex-Marine Describes Violent Hazing and the Lies That Covered It Up

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — In Marine Corps boot camp, Thomas Weaver learned to endure punches, kicks and choking by drill instructors in the Third Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island, S.C. When one instructor repeatedly bashed his head against a doorway, he kept quiet and acted as if it were no big deal. But what he eventually could not take was the lying that covered up the abuse.


DoD Investigating Hundreds Of Marines For Sharing Explicit Photos Of Servicewomen On Social Media

Newly promoted corporals engage in a professional military education class during a corporal’s Indoctrination course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Hundreds of Marines could face charges of misconduct for their participation in soliciting and sharing naked photos of female service members and veterans on social media. According to an investigation by Reveal News and The War Horse published March 4, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating scores of enlisted Marines for compiling thousands of naked photos of servicewomen, often surreptitiously, and distributing them through Facebook and Google Drive.


Rape In The Military: Sexual Abuse - VIDEO

Sexual assault programs in the U.S. Army are crippled by bureaucratic complications, such as not enough staff and investigations that taken an excessively long time, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office released Monday.

The GAO investigated sexual assault prevention and response programs in the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve — the institutions have been criticized for the way they’ve handled accusations of rape and sexual assault in the past. Victims have reportedly kept silent about instances of assault, fearing retaliation.


Veteran dies after medication error at Asheville VA hospital- VIDEO

Jason Powell (Photo provided by family)

ASHEVILLE, NC (WBTV) - When Jason Powell went to the Asheville VA Medical Center in September 2012, he thought he had a bad case of the flu.
The 40-year-old father of three had recently moved to Asheville after finishing a career in the Army that spanned more than two decades.
He left the Army on terminal leave in July but his official retirement date was September 1, 2012.

Powell and his wife, Jennifer, made the trip to the VA hospital, less than a mile from their new house, before the moving truck had even arrived with their belongings.


VA Secretary Shulkin To Remove Rule Blocking Vets From Private Care

President Donald Trump spoke often about reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs while campaigning. He called it a disgrace. After all our veterans, have done for us to get treated so poorly.
He was outraged at the treatment of our veterans he saw across the country. He vowed to shake up the VA system and get our vets the care they deserve. And as with every one of his campaign promises, he’s following through.



 Make the Connection is coming to Detroit and Ann Arbor Michigan Thursday March 23 - 26th they are looking to do professionally filmed interviews with veterans willing to talk about their mental health challenges and recovery you'll receive $100 compensation if interested follow instructions in pics below! Peace and God bless

Sexual Violence Might Reshape the Female Brain

Why you should care

Because sexual violence might harm the brain, even at a cellular level.
“My independence, natural joy, gentleness and steady lifestyle I had been enjoying became distorted beyond recognition. I became closed off, angry, self-deprecating, tired, irritable, empty.” These chilling words, penned in a letter that a woman known only as “Emily Doe” read aloud in June to her attacker, former Stanford University student Brock Turner, offer a mere glimpse into the emotional devastation left by her rape. For Doe and others among the estimated one in three women who experience sexual violence, the damage can ripple throughout a lifetime.


How to file a Notice of Disagreement on your VA compensation claim

image a a man reviewing a document
If you disagree with the decision VA made on your disability compensation claim, your first step is to formally tell VA that you disagree.

I received my rating and it’s wrong

“I received my rating and it’s wrong” is a statement our call center agents hear every day. You may think that VA shouldn’t have denied your claim, that you should have received a higher percentage, or that the effective date was wrong, but the odds are against it. That’s not to say that VA never makes a mistake, but an overwhelming majority of the time VA makes the correct decision based on the evidence available. In fact, VA’s issue-rating accuracy is 95 percent.


VA Sec Shulkin Says Veterans Should Use The Private Sector If It’s Better Than VA

David Shulkin testifies before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee during his confirmation hearing on his nomination to be Veterans Affairs secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 1, 2017.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin said Thursday that he supports veterans receiving care from the private sector if that care is superior to the care offered by the VA.
Pete Hegseth, once himself a candidate for the position of secretary of the VA, sat down with Shulkin on the show “Fox & Friends” to discuss Shulkin’s vision for the department under the new Trump administration.

Read more....

Skin disease in Gulf war veterans

Issue Cover

Background: Gulf war veterans report more symptomatic ill‐health than other military controls, and skin disease is one of the most frequent reasons for military personnel to seek medical care.
Aim: To compare the nature and prevalence of skin disease in UK Gulf veterans with non‐Gulf veterans, and to assess whether skin disease is associated with disability.
Design: Prospective case comparison study.

Read more....

Iraq, Afghan vets may have their own Agent Orange

                 Amie Muller received a chemotherapy treatment at Mayo Clinic, Thursday, June 16, 2016.
– They are known as the Agent Orange of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: Massive open-air burn pits at U.S. military bases that billowed the toxic smoke and ash of everything from Styrofoam, metals and plastics to electrical equipment and even human body parts.
The flames were stoked with jet fuel.

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