The VA’s High Crime

Raping Mary Kay, the story below, is a detailed account of how the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs defrauds veterans of their benefits and covers up the most frequent and costly wound of military Service. The wound’s now popular name is PTSD.

That label covers what psychiatrist Bessel A. van der Kolk refers to as “the effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body, and society.” Dr. van der Kolk is one of the world’s foremost PTSD authorities.

War is one kind of overwhelming experience. Rape is another. Violence is the military’s business. The military’s virulent rape culture that left Mary Kay permanently disabled is a seemingly unavoidable byproduct.

Science shows how the psychological trauma caused by overwhelming experience often permanently damages the brain and central nervous system.

Because overwhelming experience is the military’s business, it shouldn’t be surprising that the invisible maiming of psychological trauma is far more common than Purple Heart wounds.

In his memoir Duty former defense secretary Robert Gates wrote that, “no one who had actually been in combat could walk away without scars, without some measure of post-traumatic stress.”

The lesson of PTSD—a lesson humanity doesn’t want to learn—is that while you can teach people to be unspeakably violent, you can’t teach their psyches to be unhurt by violence.

That’s why the post-traumatic stress of military service silently ruins countless millions of lives in the form of destroyed trust and hope, suicide, addictions of every kind, unemployability, homelessness, psychologically scarred spouses and children, high veteran divorce rates, high veteran crime rates—indeed a witch’s brew of dysfunction that defies total description.

Obviously, the cost in money and human suffering is beyond calculation.

Raping Mary Kay shows how the VA goes to absurd lengths to perpetrate the fraud of denying and delaying veterans’ benefits and to bury the truth about what PTSD costs our military personnel, their families, America, humanity itself. For example, the VA says it denied Mary Kay PTSD disability benefits in 2005 because at that time she hadn’t completed a questionnaire that the VA didn’t send her until 2014, nine years later.

Dr. Jonathan Shay, perhaps the most distinguished psychiatrist ever to work at the VA, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” resigned from the VA because he objected to its conduct. He told counselors at a Columbia University workshop that, “…the fact is the VA, I don’t think, really cared.”

Dr. Shay is not alone in his criticism. Watch the documentary film Thank You For Your Service, and listen for yourself as senior military and government officials describe the “crisis” caused by government’s refusal to provide needed military behavioral health care.

Cdr. Mark Russell, Ph.D. (RET), a Navy and Marine veteran, son of a Vietnam Marine combat pilot, calls this failure “an absolute betrayal.”

Psychological trauma is so integral to the human condition that it could be considered “the engine of history,” some researchers note. Evidence suggests that nothing is more important to understanding who we are as human beings than understanding what post-traumatic stress is and what it does to us.

The VA drives global post-traumatic stress research. For it to illegally deny and cover up the PTS wounds of veterans like Mary Kay might be considered not just a crime against humanity, but also humanity’s most dangerous crime against itself: a decision not to know the truth and be freed by it.

Raping Mary Kay offers something of a security camera record of a VA crime that is nothing less than institutional treason.

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Filed under Military Sexual Trauma, Uncategorized

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