Invisible Scars..i Am No Longer a Victim, I Am a Survivor of Military Sexual Trauma

September 22, 2011 by Mrs Petra Belcher  
Published in Skin

Never be ashamed of the SCARS that LIFE has left you with. A SCAR means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and you ENDURED the pain. You are a survivor!

 I left my parents home in 1979 to join the army. I was excited and ready for a new experience and the joy of being on my own and away from that house. Basic training was not good. There were sergeants in charge that were having sex with the females of course it was not allowed. I became afraid since I came from a home that was abusive. I was one of the lucky ones that escaped that. I arrived in Germany my first duty station. It was beautiful there and it was exciting. Upon arrival the guys hung out the window yelling newbie and new meat.

 I was assigned to a Maintenance unit with a clinic and MP unit on the post. My roommate consistently had various men on her side of the room. Our room was sectioned off so we had privacy. One night after guard duty about 3am I came in wet and cold from the rain. The room was dark. As I removed my gear and lied on the bed I dozed off. I awoke to a drunken man pawing over me and trying to get my clothes off. We fought and I screamed.

 Luckily the door was unlocked and the person on duty came in…It seemed like a eternity for me. I was lucky enough to have a first Sgt that cared about his troops. Yet I had to endure my own roommate blaming me. My own unit for blaming me. The attacker got time in Ft Leavenworth but the memories of how everyone blamed me stayed with me for years. 

For years I would not put on make-up, hold casual conversations and more. These changes occurred because I blamed my self for what happened. Back then the military didn’t provide counseling for this type of incident.

 I am still coming to grips with not this event but the many that followed my 9 years in the service. Yes I am proud to have served but there is also allot of pain that goes with it as well.. I was a victim so for long..But now a survivor.

Scars remind us where we’ve been. They don’t have to dictate where we’re going

Today it still happens. Today women are scarred. Today the Military realizes it. But today the women still aren’t protected. 

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One Response to “Invisible Scars..i Am No Longer a Victim, I Am a Survivor of Military Sexual Trauma”
  1. James M. McGarrity Says:

    Petra, my sincere respect for your courage to tell your story. I am a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War and would stand with you over the cowards who betrayed you anytime. I still deal with scars, physical and emotional, and today my VA counselor pointed out your quote. It is a powerful and healing : “Point of Wellness.” Thank you!

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