This week I talk with Kathy Russin, the Military Sexual Trauma Program Coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Maine. She talks about the prevalence of Military Sexual Trauma among veterans, and explains that it is not limited to rape, and affects both men and women. She explains how MST is different from combat PTSD in its impact, and talks about the many ways it can make leading a normal life very difficult.
This week’s show is the second half of my conversation with Ruth Moore, a survivor of Military Sexual Trauma, and the namesake of the Ruth Moore Act, a piece of pending legislation which would remove some of the current barriers to treatment and justice for survivors of MST. This part of the interview covers Ruth’s path to personal healing after returning from overseas duty, and her choice to share her story publicly and before congress in the hope of bringing change.
This week we begin a new series on PTSD among women veterans. My guest is Ruth Moore, who tells the story of being sexually assaulted by her commanding officer in the Navy. She describes a chilling scenario in which she is ostracized and punished for seeking help, and feels she can trust no one on the remote overseas base where she is stationed. Eventually she finds a way to escape, but as she explains, there are thousands of other young soldiers who are not as fortunate.
An interview with Pete MacMullen, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the VA in Maine. Pete describes the painful readjustment recently returned vets face in trying to relate to their peers. He describes their struggle with post traumatic stress disorder, living with constant fear for their life, and feeling haunted by memories of loss of friends, as well as by memories of having killed others. He describes warning signs of suicide risk for families and ways in which he tries to help young vets lift the self-judgment and isolation they struggle with.