Saturday, October 15, 2016

How Not to Respond to a Victim of Abuse in the Military

My second blogging guest is Regina Vasquez, a Marine Corps Veteran. She is an advocate for Veterans and service members at Veteran Advocate and Founder & Executive Director at Fatigues Clothesline. She has been a member of One Billion Rising Veteran Empowerment Team USA and Volunteer-Womens Veterans Advocate

Regina is an artist see her work at Art by Regina Vasquez.

With gratitude for her years of service and the work she does now, I share her thoughts:

My name is Regina and I'm a Fully Disabled Marine Veteran living with symptoms of PTSD. I like to think of myself as someone of faith and within my faith I found the strength to be strong.  I am 37 years old. I have overcome obstacles that leaves others in awe and wondering how did I do it. For starters, I mentioned I am a woman of faith. God helped me through it. There were many instances I was thrown off course towards healing but I've regained myself and prayed for guidance to get myself back on that path.

Some of the instances that thrown me off of my path were people who I thought were friends. Ever heard the saying, you find out who your friends are when times get tough?  Well, I did find out and boy did it almost crush me.  

I was involved in a domestic violent relationship. My husband felt he was entitled to break me down by hitting and calling me crazy to the point it skyrocketed my symptoms of PTSD through the roof. I even checked myself into the mental ward because I was made to feel worthless. 

I had a friend, a Marine as well who I confined in about the abuse I endured. Her reaction to what I told her left me feeling confused and hurt. I explained how he called me a c*** and after I asked him multiple times to stop I felt compelled to slap his mouth out of defense. In turn he slapped me so hard across my face and nearly broke my jaw and started beating me up. I couldn't move. He irritated the service connected injuries I had to my back and neck.

What my friend told me after confiding in her I would never ever tell another veteran or non veteran friend.

“You’re a Marine, he had to defend himself. What do you expect?"

I will never forget those words. They made me doubt and question myself. After I left her house I made a promise to myself to never talk to her again. I don't ever want to talk to a person who feels it's ok for someone to beat another person no matter what kind of training we had. I may be a Marine but I do not deserve to be called a c*** or get beaten for defending myself. I understand I should have never slapped him but that never gave him the right to beat me to the point of fearing for my life.

I feel so disgusted having to talk about this. I would never ever say those words to someone. Instead I would have giving myself a hug and talk about resources to help me.

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