MR. MST President Quoted on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

On Monday, June 6, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee covered the issue of military sexual assault and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand‘s “Military Justice Improvement Act”.

Featured in the segment via C-SPAN clips alongside MR. MST’s President Brian Lewis were fellow military survivor advocates BriGette McCoy, Rebekah Havrilla and Anu Bhagwati.

In this segment, Samantha Bee used humor and sarcasm to paint a very real picture of life as a member of the military who has experienced sexual assault and why drastic reforms are necessary to force DoD to treat military survivors properly. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been a true friend to military sexual assault survivors and MR. MST continues to support the passage of the MJIA.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is reaching across the aisle to prevent military officers from reaching into their subordinates’ pants. #passMJIA. New episodes air on TBS every Monday at 10:30PM
SAMANTHABEE.COM
Posted in Advocacy, Brian Lewis, Broadcast Media, Hearings, Legislation, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand | Leave a comment

Congratulations to High Ground Veterans Advocacy

Congratulations to High Ground Veterans Advocacy for your hard work in getting this done. Codification is still important and we stand with you. These discharges are a stain on the moral fabric of the military.


BREAKING: The fight for ‪#‎Fairness4Vets‬ has been loud enough that the Secretary of the Navy Ray Maybus, as of today, is immediately halting all involuntary separations of Sailors and Marines with ‪#‎PTSD‬!

To protect Sailors and Marines with Navy will consider those suffering with PTSD, TBI or other mental health condition, before administrative separation.
NAVY.MIL|BY THIS STORY WAS WRITTEN BY CHIEF OF INFORMATION PUBLIC AFFAIRS
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MR. MST Meeting with Secretary of Veterans Affairs

The culmination of our week of advocacy in DC was a meeting with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Robert McDonald. We discussed several areas of concern for ‪#‎MaleMST‬ survivors and the Secretary was receptive.

Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma's photo.
Posted in Brian Lewis, Department of Veterans Affairs | Leave a comment

Advocacy Meetings

As a survivor run and survivor led organization, we are often called upon to share our experts and our strength and hope with other organizations. As part of that mission, we are excited that our Vice President for Policy, Heath Phillips, will be involved with a high level meeting this week at The White House where he will advance the message that ‪#‎MST‬ survivors need more support and resources from the Administration.

We are also excited to announce the beginning of an intense advocacy time in Washington, DC, next week as we work towards ensuring that language appears in both the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)‘s‪#‎NDAA‬ and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs‘ budget that will directly benefit ‪#‎MaleMST‬ survivors. Stay tuned to this page for updates and photos!

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Continuing Legal Education Seminar

This is the first picture from the Continuing Legal Education seminar we were present at last month. Our Vice President for Policy, Heath Phillips, traveled to St. Paul, MN, to bring awareness to the topic of ‪#‎MaleMST‬ for lawyers, and other professionals, who are called upon to answer the needs of ‪#‎MST‬ survivors. Thank you to the Mitchell Hamline School of Law Veterans Association for hosting this wonderful event!

H.M. Gautsch's photo.
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Pentagon Hosts 2nd Annual SAAPM Event, “Walk-A-Lap for a Survivor”

Pentagon Hosts 2nd Annual SAAPM Event, “Walk-A-Lap for a Survivor”

Pentagon Hosts 2nd Annual SAAPM Event, “Walk-A-Lap for a Survivor”

Story Number: NNS160506-17Release Date: 5/6/2016 2:03:00 PM

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=94580

By Lt. Ashley Valanzola, Sexual Assault Victim Advocate and Event Lead

WASHINGTON (NNS) — For the second consecutive year, Pentagon victim advocates, Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, and volunteers held a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month event at the Pentagon Courtyard, April 20.

348 Pentagon employees and guests from the National Capital Region participated in the Walk-a-Lap for a Survivor event, which doubled the number of the previous year’s attendees. As participants made their way around the courtyard, volunteers tallied 590 completed laps — each of which symbolically represented support for a sexual assault survivor in the local community. Participants included active duty service members, civilians, contractors, and guests from the local area.

Twelve different displays lined the courtyard to engage guests as they walked. Representatives from the Department of Defense Safe Helpline; Doorways Shelter for Women and Families in Arlington; Family Advocacy Program, Alexandria Sexual Assault Center; and Air Force and Navy Sexual Assault Response Coordinators created outreach and prevention displays to educate DoD participants.

Volunteers from the organizations noted how engaged and interested guests were throughout the walk. Participants seemed to approach them with open-minded curiosity and a desire to understand the issues their organizations face when confronting sexual assault.

Kelly Randis, author of “Spilled Milk” and last year’s event speaker, returned again to the event. Participants were able to speak with Randis about her experiences battling childhood sexual abuse and her incredible work as an advocate. Randis visited the Pentagon just days after the announcement “Spilled Milk” will soon be turned into a movie.

Two guest speakers opened the event with how they struggled with their own experiences involving sexual assault. James Landrith, Marine Corps veteran, activist, publisher, and rape crisis worker, told his story of how a pregnant woman drugged and raped him as a young Marine in North Carolina. He explained how he buried the rape away and pretended like nothing ever happened. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder plague his everyday interactions, including things as simple as getting coffee at a coffee shop. It took him nearly 20 years to decide to see a therapist.

Landrith’s decision not to seek help was a result of the stigma associated with male survivors of sexual assault. He noted in the United States alone, there are nearly 3 million male rape survivors, many of whom never come forward to seek help.

“There are more wounded men than we can truly know as the social stigmas to keep silent and ‘shake it off’ are incredibly strong and unfortunately enforced on all sides,” Landrith said.

He wrapped up his speech with a call for all crisis counselors, sexual violence advocates, friends, colleagues, and parents to be that person a sexual assault survivor can trust — to be that person who can help them heal.

“Many survivors will only seek help once, if at all,” said Landrith. “How that interaction transpires will play a major role in their willingness to move forward in their healing.”

Jessika Rovell spoke second and delivered an account of surviving sexual assault and domestic violence. Jessika is an attorney in Washington, D.C. and also a Navy Reservist. She told the group she hoped that by telling her story, she could help change the way the military thinks and talks about sexual assault.

She started by outlining the problem the military has when faced with cases of sexual assault — that the military is a proactive culture.

The military understands that “it’s more advantageous to take initiative from a strategic position than to react to forces outside our control,” said Rovell.

Yet when it comes to sexual assault, she pointed out that the military maintains a reactive posture.

“We allow our unconscious minds to lull us into a false sense of security, knowing sexual assault happens, but creating scenarios in which it does not impact our workplaces,” said Rovell. “When it does, we react to it on an emotionally chaotic level…”

To solve this problem in the military, Rovell stated we must shift to a proactive posture, one that cultivates understanding that sexual assault can happen to anyone.

“It is only when we choose to be proactive that we can change the dialogue, empowering others to heal, engage in the discussion, and support prevention efforts with us,” Rovell said. “[We need to become] the military that already makes proactive choices every day, to protect what is important.”

Rovell also emphasized the problem the military, and society at large, has with victim-blaming survivors of sexual assault. After working with a Special Victims Unit detective to build a case against the man responsible for her assaults, and an ABC News documentary highlighting her experiences, Rovell’s case was thrown into the media spotlight.

Speaking about the documentary she stated “…the reactions of some of my Navy colleagues after the television program aired were simply devastating. There was a group who actually blamed me. They said openly that I had displayed flagrantly poor judgment in both putting myself in a situation to be raped and then choosing to stay in an abusive relationship with my attacker. This response broke my heart because I did not choose any of this. A psychopath chose — chose me to assault and abuse.”

Event participants remarked that hearing the stories of Landrith and Rovell reminded them how this crime happens too often in the military and there is something they can do to make a difference.

Sexual assault in the military and society is a problem that demands our attention year-round, but the opportunity to bring so many experts and survivors together at the Pentagon is one of the many advantages of observing Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

For anonymous sexual assault assistance, please visit http://www.safehelpline.org/ or call 877-995-5247.

Posted in Advocacy, James Landrith, Military Leadership, Print and Internet | Leave a comment

MR. MST VP Landrith Speaks at Pentagon

MR. MST Vice President James Landrith was quoted in this article in this week Pentagram newspaper:

“Rape is about control and humiliation, it has absolutely nothing to do with availability,” Landrith said. “My rapist clearly enjoyed the domination she had over me…There are more wounded [male sexual assault survivors] than we could possibly know—and the social stigmas to just keep quiet and shake it off are immense…Many [male] survivors will only seek help just once, if at all, and how that interaction transpires will play a major role in their willingness to move forward in healing…Listen. Don’t judge. And don’t tell [sexual assault survivors] how you would have done x, y and z differently.”

Landrith was representing Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma at The Pentagon on 4/20 for the “Walk-A-Lap for a Survivor” event. The event, organized by Navy LT Ashley Valanzola, was in it’s second year at The Pentagon, since first launching at Naval Base San Diego as a run.

Members from all branches of service and Department of Defense civilians from across the National Capital Region came to the Pentagon April 20 for the 2nd…
DCMILITARY.COM|BY ARTHUR MONDALE PENTAGRAM STAFF WRITER
Read the rest here: http://www.dcmilitary.com/pentagram/news/local/pentagon-hosts-mass-demonstration-to-combat-sexual-assault-in-the/article_da4055ac-7396-587f-8923-1bfda258a1a5.html
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Pentagon hosts mass demonstration to combat sexual assault in the military, DoD

Pentagon hosts mass demonstration to combat sexual assault in the military, DoD

By Arthur Mondale Pentagram Staff Writer

Updated

 

It was a collaborative effort to help the military community at-large change the way it thinks, according to organizers, and address ways to combat sexual assaults in the military while also urging those victimized by it to seek help.

For two hours, participants came to the Pentagon courtyard to walk a lap in honor of a person who overcame the trauma associated with sexual assault, some of whom overcame the trauma associated with sexual assault themselves.

“We’re fortunate to be able to use the Pentagon courtyard for this event,” U.S. Navy Lt. Ashley Valanzola, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and lead organizer for the demonstration, in reference to the headquarters for the DoD serving as the site for the event. “But we also have prevention centers [information booths] set up throughout the courtyard and posters for sexual assault survivors displayed to show them that the community supports them.”

Guest speakers at the demonstration included publisher and sexual violence activist James Landrith, who was raped and blackmailed by a woman while serving on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps; and U.S. Navy reservist and FBI Deputy Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Jessika Rovell, who was raped during her second year of law school.

Landrith presented an inspiring universal message for Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, victim advocates, family and friends of sexual assault survivors. He also addressed underreported statistics involving female sexual predators.

“Rape is about control and humiliation, it has absolutely nothing to do with availability,” Landrith said. “My rapist clearly enjoyed the domination she had over me…There are more wounded [male sexual assault survivors] than we could possibly know—and the social stigmas to just keep quiet and shake it off are immense…Many [male] survivors will only seek help just once, if at all, and how that interaction transpires will play a major role in their willingness to move forward in healing…Listen. Don’t judge. And don’t tell [sexual assault survivors] how you would have done x, y and z differently.”

Rovell gave an equally empowering speech on how she beat the odds stacked up against her as a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence, while in a relationship with a man that lasted three-and-a-half years.

“I’ve been blessed with healthy loving family and friends, as well as academic and career success,” Rovell said. “But if you Google me, none of my many accomplishments nor the love and happiness by which I am surrounded is what pops up at the top of the search. You’ll find articles about how I was raped and remained in an abusive relationship with a man the FBI has called the most prolific serial rapist in American history.”

Rovell concluded her speech with a very strong message to personnel employed in the DoD in any capacity.

“If we are going to end sexual assault in the military we need to cultivate an awareness that sexual assault survivors—and unfortunately perpetrators too—look and sound just like the rest of us,” Rovell said. “Choose to be the Sailor or Marine who stops the friend from becoming the victim or perpetrator. Choose to be the Soldier or Airman who listens with compassion and continues to support a survivor’s career, like my commanding officer did. Choose to be the civilian who tells the sexual assault survivor that you are not alone.”

After Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is over

Actively attendant in the audience and handing out information during the event were SARC’s from across D.C.-metro, and civilian community partners, who reminded attendees that sexual assault awareness shouldn’t be reserved for the month of April alone.

“My work doesn’t just stop at the end of April or after this walk at the Pentagon is over,” said Wendy G. Kelly, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response coordinator for Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall. “Sexual assault prevention is a continuous job 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year.”

The same sentiments were echoed by Christa Carlton, Domestic and Sexual Violence Program director at Doorways for Women and Families, located in Arlington, Virginia.

“There’s a special amount of energy dedicated to sexual assault during the month of April to promote sexual assault awareness—but really every day we do a lot of work—and there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year for people to either get involved or access support and services,” Carlton said.

“We’re here to educate people and dispel the myths surrounding sexual assaults, rape and the statistics on the prevalence of the problem,” said Melanie Carlson, a rep with Doorways for Women and Families, who was dressed as a carnival sideshow host testing people’s sexual assault awareness with the ‘Wheel of Knowledge’ as they walked a lap for a sexual assault survivor.

The underlying purpose of the game was to ensure people walked away more engaged and informed about sexual assault prevention and awareness.

“My hope is that people walk away from this event feeling more comfortable to report sexual assault,” said participant U.S. Navy Lt. Shannon Miller. “And let them know there’s a lot of people ready to support them to ensure they get the services that they need to recover.”

“I hope people walk away from this event less afraid to either step up, or step in to end sexual assault,” said participant U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Anderson.

Near the end of 2015, the Department of Defense reported that over the past decade the number of sexual assaults or “unwanted sexual contact” decreased by 50-percent in the military, while the number of men and women who reported these crimes increased.

Pentagram Staff Writer Arthur Mondale can be reached at awright@dcmilitary.com.

 

Originally published here

Posted in Advocacy, James Landrith, Male MST in the Media, Media Coverage, Military Leadership, Print and Internet | Leave a comment

MR. MST VP Landrith to Speak at Pentagon

Continuing our busy month of advocacy work, Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma‘s VP for media relations, James Landrith will be one of two featured veteran speakers kicking off this year’s “Walk-A-Lap For A Survivor” at The Pentagon on Wednesday, April 20 from 1100-1300 in the courtyard. If you are in the building on Wednesday, you are invited to attend, walk some laps and say hello. SARCs, victim advocates, SAPRO and DoD Safe Helpline representatives and interested m

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APR20

Wed 11 AM · Washington
52 people interested · 60 people going
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POD Catches DoD Misleading Congress

It comes as no surprise to the average ‪#‎MST‬ survivor that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) misled Congress on sexual assault cases.

It is a shame that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) saw her Military Justice Improvement Act (‪#‎MJIA‬) bill derailed because Senators bought into the military’s misstatements about how determined commanders are to take cases to trial.

Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma congratulates Protect Our Defenders for staying on top of this

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon misled Congress with inaccurate and vague information about sexual assault cases that portrayed civilian law enforcement…
BIGSTORY.AP.ORG
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