Sexual Trauma Survivors to DC

$1,230 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 47 people in 26 months
Help us bring 500 Black Roses to DC to represent 500,000 veterans treated for Military Sexual Trauma



"It is up to all of us to ensure victims of sexual violence are  
not left to face these trials alone. Too often, survivors suffer  in silence, fearing retribution, lack of support, or that the  criminal justice system will fail to bring the perpetrator to  justice. We must do more to raise awareness about the  realities of sexual assault; confront and change insensitive  attitudes wherever they persist; enhance training and  education in the criminal justice system; and expand access  to critical health, legal, and protection services for  survivors" BO
 
My name is Olga Ferrer, I served in the USAF from 1988 to 1997. In 1991 while serving in the Gulf War I was assault by one of my brother in arms. As many victims of assult I suffer in silenced for many years, letting my invisible wound fester inside of me like a cancer. Punishing myself for something that I didn't have control over it. Because of my own experience I have started a campaign called A Black Rose: Campaign for Awareness.
On 2012 a study release by the Department of Veterans Affairs show that 500,000 veterans where treated for MST.
Our focus is to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault, harassment, abuse, stalking, etc. faced by serving members of our armed forces.
Our philosophy is that the men and women who serve our nation should not have to worry about being assaulted by their fellow servicemen and women. We invite service members and veterans to request a rose in their honor that represents their trauma and quest for recovery. We hope to put a story to every statistic and make this issue impossible to ignore.
We know rape is rape and we believe that a person's right to be free of sexual assault does not end when he or she dons the uniform. To the contrary, we vest our military with great power and responsibility. 
 
Why we need you support?  
On Memorial Day every year we honor our survivors with a ceremony thats culminate by calling their names one by one while we lay a black rose that represent the sacrifice that our courageous warriors have to endured.  
 
These veterans and military members serve and protect our country. They sacrifice their lives and their hearts for the freedoms we enjoy every day. In return, we have kept quite about the atrocities of rape and sexual abuse soldiers face each and every day. This cannot continue. 
 
Together, we can shed light on a dark and horrifying truth that has been left alone for far to long. If you like more information about our mission and resources please visit our website: http://www.ablackrose.org  regarding abuse in the military and our campaign. 
 
You don't have to be a victim of abuse to show your support! You just have to care about our military members and veterans. 
 
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Update 57
Posted by Olga Ferrer
10 months ago
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Military veterans in the Defiance area who are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or those have been through a military sexual assault will be able to receive counseling in Defiance at the Defiance County Veteran’s Office one day a week, beginning May 4. To make an appointment, call the VA hospital at 260-460-1456.
Chris Stack, a Defiance resident and veteran, who is licensed as a professional clinical counselor with several degrees, will be doing the counseling for veterans with PTSD.
Jessica Gerardot is a licensed clinical social worker from Fort Wayne and will be counseling persons who have suffered a military sexual trauma (MST) and also doing other counseling. She is a Fort Wayne resident.
Stack said he and Gerardot will offer individual and group counseling for combat veterans and their families. A person who has suffered an MST does not have to be a combat veteran. They will see anyone who has served in the military and says that they have suffered an MST. The veteran does not need to have proved she/he suffered an MST to receive counseling. They just need to say the trauma occurred and they will receive treatment.
Stack said, “Both of us will offer individual and group counseling for PTSD, readjustment issues, marriage and family counseling, alcohol and drug counseling... just about anything the veteran needs. For now, we will begin seeing veterans on Wednesdays. We may be able to allocate more time if the need is there.
The veterans can also come and see us at our Fort Wayne office, if needed. We are located at 5800 Fairfield Ave, suite 265, Fort Wayne, Ind. Our phone number is 260-460-1456. Veterans should call 260-460-1456 and ask for Chris or Jessica to schedule an appointment to see us in Defiance.
“Defiance is in between the Toledo vet center and our vet center in Fort Wayne,” he said. “For some veterans it is closer to use the vet center in Fort Wayne versus driving to the Toledo veteran center. In cooperation with the Toledo vet center, the Fort Wayne vet center will provide services to the veterans and their families in the Defiance area to better serve those in need.
“It was my idea to set up in Defiance for a day because I have some veterans who travel to my office and I live in Defiance,” he continued. “I thought I could spend a day per week in Defiance and save them a drive. I know there are a lot of veterans in the Defiance area and this will allow them to get treatment without the travel. Jessica and I will be doing all types of counseling as needed. Jessica, who is MST STEP qualified, will be handling all MST counseling.”
Stack said he lives in Defiance with his wife, Julie, and daughter, Ellie. Julie is a teacher at Defiance Elementary School where she teaches fifth grade.
“I am originally from southeastern Ohio,” he noted. “I am a veteran and retired police officer. I worked for a couple of law enforcement agencies and retired from the Findlay, Ohio, Police Department.” He completed his bachelor’s degree from Tiffin University, master’s from the University of Toledo, and the doctoral program at the University of Toledo.
“I have not completed the dissertation portion of the program. I am currently licensed as a professional clinical counselor,” he noted. “I have worked for a couple of federal agencies prior to working for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
“I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a soldier and a police officer,” he said. “I was blessed to be able to do both and served my country and community for most of my adult life. My brother and my father are both veterans and many of my law enforcement brothers served in the military too. I knew when I went to graduate school that I wanted to be able to serve my brothers and sisters from the military.
“The vet center is unique in that we only treat combat veterans who have deployed to a theater of operations so I get to serve the best of the best,” he said. “It is an honor to serve my fellow veterans and I take great pride in the services I provide to the great men and women who have sacrificed so much for their country. No one has sacrificed more than the military family and I am passionate about getting veterans and their loved ones the care they need and deserve. They are my family so this is not just a job for me. Veterans who have received treatment at a vet center are proud to be a part of our peer to peer program.”
“Jessica’s husband, Derek, is an army veteran so Jessica is also empathetic and passionate about serving veterans and their families,” he said.

By DARLENE PRINCE @cndarleneprince dprince@crescent-news.com
Darlene Prince
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Update 56
Posted by Olga Ferrer
10 months ago
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Military Sexual Trauma Coordinators
Ohio (Cleveland Regional Benefit Office)
Callie Parrish
Callie.Parrish@va.gov
OR
Ralph Ritchey
Ralph.Ritchey@va.gov
Oklahoma (Muskogee Regional Benefit Office)
Melinda Bradford
Melinda.Bradford2@va.gov
OR
Kenneth Jackson
Kenneth.Jackson9@va.gov
Oregon (Portland Regional Benefit Office)
Rebecca Lavin
Rebecca.Lavin@va.gov
OR
Zachary Johnson
Zachary.Johnson@va.gov
P
Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Regional Benefit Office)
Heather McDonald-Elters
Heather.McDonald-Elters@va.gov
OR
William Gottschalk
William.Gottschalk@va.gov
Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Regional Benefit Office)
Susan Eshleman
Susan.Eshleman@va.gov
OR
John Hartman
John.Hartman@va.gov
Phillipines (Manila Regional Benefit Office)
Catherine Xavier
Catherine.Xavier@va.gov
OR
Roma Tigno
Roma.Tigno@va.gov
OR
Joshua Viray
Joshua.Viray@va.gov
OR
Easmine Ruiz
Easmine.Ruiz@va.gov
Puerto Rico (San Juan Regional Benefit Office)
Monica Martinez
Monica.Martinez2@va.gov
OR
Diego Becerra
Diego.Becerra@va.gov
R
Rhode Island (Providence Regional Benefit Office)
Kathleen Tucciarone
Kathleen.Tucciarone@va.gov
OR
Gregory Stringfellow
gregory.stringfellow@va.gov
S
South Carolina (Columbia Regional Benefit Office)
Cheryl Carter
Cheryl.T.Carter@va.gov
OR
Andrew Staples
Andrew.Staples@va.gov
South Dakota (Sioux Falls Regional Benefit Office)
Catherine Frantzen
Catherine.Frantzen2@va.gov
OR
William Huggett
William.Huggett@va.gov
T
Tennessee (Nashville Regional Benefit Office)
Margaret Duke
Margaret.Duke@va.gov
OR
Kevin Davis
kevin.davis1@va.gov
Texas (Houston Regional Benefit Office)
Tomika Parks
Tomica.Parks@va.gov
OR
Preston.Matthews
Preston.Matthews@va.gov
Texas (Waco Regional Benefit Office)
Algie Watson
Algie.Watson@va.gov
OR
Gerald Patterson
Gerald.G.Patterson@va.gov
U
Utah (Salt Lake City Regional Benefit Office)
Michael Bogucki
Michael.Bogucki@va.gov
OR
Beverly Davis-Hawley
Beverly.J.Davis-Hawley@va.gov
V
Vermont (White River Junction Regional Benefit Office)
Vanessa Mann
Vanessa.Mann@va.gov
OR
Jeff Neily
Jeff.Neily@va.gov
Virgina (Roanoke Regional Benefit Office)
Tammy Wollam
Tammy.Wollam@va.gov
OR
Caleb Quesenberry
Caleb.Quesenberry@va.gov
W
Washington (Seattle Regional Benefit Office)
Rochelle Mantanona
Rochelle.M.Mantanona@va.gov
OR
Robert Kohler
Robert.Kohler@va.gov
OR
Eileen Jordan
Eileen.Jordan@va.gov
West Virginia (Huntington Regional Benefit Office)
Jaclyn Whitley
Jaclyn.Whitley@va.gov
OR
Monica Howell
Monica.Howell@va.gov
Wisconsin (Milwaukee Regional Benefit Office)
Dawn Spencer
Dawn.Spencer1@va.gov
OR
Nicholas Henning
Nicholas.Henning@va.gov
Wyoming (Cheyenne Regional Benefit Office)
Alice Johnson
Alice.Johnson1@va.gov
OR
Patrick Hall
Patrick.Hall@va.gov
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Update 55
Posted by Olga Ferrer
10 months ago
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Military Sexual Trauma Coordinators
A
Alabama (Montgomery Regional Benefit Office)
Oneatha Reid
Oneatha.Reid2@va.gov
OR
John Parker
John.Parker2@va.gov
Alaska (Anchorage Regional Benefit Office)
Melinda Grisé
Melinda.Grise@va.gov
OR
Gregory Ford
Gregory.Ford@va.gov
Arizona (Phoenix Regional Benefit Office)
Tarshish Alston
Tarshish.Alston@va.gov
OR
Jaime Torres
Jaime.Torres@va.gov
Arkansas (Little Rock Regional Benefit Office)
Alice M. Horton
Alice.Horton@va.gov
OR
Edward Allen
Edward.Allen4@va.gov
C
California (Los Angeles Regional Benefit Office)
Sheena Holmes
Sheena.Holmes@va.gov
OR
Susan Yip
Susan.Yip@va.gov
OR
Eric Sanchez
Eric.Sanchez344@va.gov
California (Oakland Regional Benefit Office)
Melinda Bradford (Female MST)
Melinda.Bradford2@va.gov
OR
Kenneth Jackson (Male MST)
Kenneth.Jackson9@va.gov
California (San Diego Regional Benefit Office)
Jacque Hartz
Jacque.Hartz@va.gov
OR
Annalisa Spence
Annalisa.Spence@va.gov
Colorado (Denver Regional Benefit Office)
Christine Mannes
Christine.Mannes@va.gov
OR
Jovany Morales-Estada
Jovany.MoralesEstada@va.gov
Connecticut (Hartford Regional Benefit Office)
Jennifer Higgins
Jennifer.Higgins2@va.gov
OR
Eric Benner
Eric.Benner@va.gov
D
Delaware (Wilmington Regional Benefit Office)
Crystal Miles
Crystal.Miles@va.gov

OR
Sylvester Marchman
Sylvester.Marchman@va.gov
District of Columbia (National Capital Regional Benefit Office)
Cassandra Johnson
Cassandra.Johnson1@va.gov
F
Florida (St. Petersburg Regional Benefit Office)
Elicia Harper
Elicia.Harper@va.gov
G
Georgia (Atlanta Regional Benefit Office)
Juanita Williams
Juanita.Williams2@va.gov
OR
Earlson Deschamps
Earlston.Deschamps@va.gov
H
Hawaii (Honolulu Regional Benefit Office)
Sharon D. Holly
Sharon.Holly@va.gov
OR
Alvin Kalawe
Rochelle.LC.Velasco@va.gov
I
Idaho (Boise Regional Benefit Office)
Heather Lonigro
Heather.Lonigro@va.gov
OR
Joaquin Valdez
James.Johnson18@va.gov
Illinois (Chicago Regional Benefit Office)
Melissa Jolly
Melissa.Jolly@va.gov
OR
Roberto Salazar
Roberto.Salazar@va.gov
Indiana (Indianapolis Regional Benefit Office)
Patricia McAtee
Patricia.McAtee@va.gov
OR
Gregory Shemwell
Gregory.Shemwell@va.gov
OR
Leonard Wallace
Leonard.Wallace@va.gov
OR
John Wasson
John.Wasson@va.gov
Iowa (Des Moines Regional Benefit Office)
Cathleen Gemmell
Cathleen.Gemmell2@va.gov
OR
Jennifer Pote
Jennifer.Pote@va.gov
OR
Michael R. Blomme
Michael.Blomme@va.gov
K
Kansas (Wichita Regional Benefit Office)
Erika Gordon
Erika.Gordon@va.gov
OR
Curt Rodriguez
Curt.Rodriguez2@va.gov
Kentucky (Louisville Regional Benefit Office)
Debra Rowe
Debra.Rowe2@va.gov
OR
Roger Troxell
Roger.Troxell@va.gov
L
Louisiana (New Orleans Regional Benefit Office)
Cynthia Marquez
Cynthia.Marquez@va.gov
OR
Joseph Sinceno
Joe.Sinceno@va.gov
M
Maine (Togus Regional Benefit Office)
Michael Ouellette
Michael.Ouellette2@va.gov
OR
Jodie Clark
Jodie.Clark@va.gov
Maryland (Baltimore Regional Benefit Office)
Mindy Moore
Mindy.Moore@va.gov
OR
Daniel Yates
Daniel.Yates@va.gov
Massachusetts (Boston Regional Benefit Office)
Natasha Cook
Natasha.Cook@va.gov
OR
James Stasio
James.Stasio@va.gov
Michigan (Detroit Regional Benefit Office)
Jennifer Homan
Jennifer.Homan@va.gov
OR
Kimberly Sendi
Kimberly.Sendi@va.gov
Minnesota (St. Paul Regional Benefit Office)
Kimberly Osborn
Kim.Osborn@va.gov
OR
Angel Colon
Angel.Colon2@va.gov
OR
Melissa Markfort
Melissa.Markfort@va.gov
Mississippi (Jackson Regional Benefit Office)
Rolanda Grayer
Rolanda.Grayer@va.gov
OR
Ann Mullane
Ann.Mullane323@va.gov
Missouri (St. Louis Regional Benefit Office)
Rhonda Maccou
Rhonda.Fitch@va.gov
OR
Jeffrey Neiman
Jeffrey.Neiman@va.gov
Montana (Fort Harrison Regional Benefit Office)
Donna Church
Donna.Church@va.gov
OR
Brandon McElderry
Brandon.McElderry@va.gov
N
Nebraska (Lincoln Regional Benefit Office)
WVC/MST Coordinator: Gena Hegemann
Gena.Hegemann@va.gov
Alternate: Jody Griffin
Jody.Griffin@va.gov
Male coordinator: Jacob Drueke
Jacob.Drueke2@va.gov
Nevada (Reno Regional Benefit Office)
Vanessa Davis
Vanessa.N.Davis@va.gov
OR
James Lashua
James.Lashua@va.gov
New Hampshire (Manchester Regional Benefit Office)
Ann Richardson
Ann.Richardson4@va.gov
OR
Jeremy Bonafilia
Jeremy.Bonafilia@va.gov
New Jersey (Newark Regional Benefit Office)
Jennifer Myers
Jennifer.Myers6@va.gov
OR
Scott Kearney
Scott.Kearney@va.gov
New Mexico (Albuquerque Regional Benefit Office)
Monika Rothe-Morgan
Monika.Rothe-Morgan1@va.gov
OR
Rachel Collins
Rachel.Collins@va.gov
New York (Buffalo Regional Benefit Office)
Michael Wahlers
Michael.Wahlers@va.gov
OR
Maxine Grubbs
Maxine.Grubbs@va.gov
New York (New York Regional Benefit Office)
Shavon White
Shavon.White@va.gov
OR
Tyrone Roark
Tyrone.Roark@va.govv
North Carolina (Winston-Salem Regional Benefit Office)
Audrey Farrish-Lane
Audrey.Farrish-Lane1@va.gov
OR
John Fennell
John.Fennell@va.gov
North Dakota (Fargo Regional Benefit Office)
Michelle Lalonde
Michelle.Lalonde@va.gov
OR
Terrance Leeper
Terrance.Leeper@va.gov
O
Ohio (Cleveland Regional Benefit Office)
Callie Parrish
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Update 54
Posted by Olga Ferrer
11 months ago
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VA Did Not Discriminate in Response to Sex Abuse
By NICK RUMMELL
MANHATTAN (CN) - The Department of Veterans Affairs did not violate civil rights by rejecting a call to improve how it handles reports of sexual abuse in the military, a divided Federal Circuit ruled.
Writing for the majority, Judge Todd Hughes found the agency did not violate women's rights when it denied a petition by two leading veterans groups who wanted the agency to update how it processes disability claims involving sexual trauma during military service.
Sexual trauma - a phrase that applies to repercussions of everything from repeated sexual harassment or actual assault - has been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety in some cases.
The department states on its web site that all treatment for physical and mental conditions related to sexual trauma is provided free of charge.
Nearly 30,000 disability claims were filed with the agency from 2008 to 2013, the overwhelming majority of which were due to sexual trauma, court documents stated.
However, veterans groups claim there were significant disparities in how disability claims were adjudicated by the agency, with sexual trauma cases typically requiring a greater burden of proof.
To fix the problem, the Vietnam Veterans of America and Service Women's Action Network, who filed the lawsuit, asked the department to set new rules for how it adjudicated disability claims involving sexual trauma.
The new rules would allow a veteran to claim stress from a sexual trauma if a mental health expert confirmed such a trauma could have caused the stressor.
According to the two groups, sexual trauma was under reported by military personnel, which made corroborating claims that much more difficult.
Further, the groups argued that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress due to other factors didn't have to present evidence, whereas stress due to sexual trauma required it.
The agency denied the petition for new rules, and the veterans groups appealed, arguing that the denial violated women veterans' constitutional rights.
According to the agency's own statistics, one in five female veterans and one in 100 male reported sexual abuse while they were in the armed services.
The case was appealed to the Federal Circuit, but a three-judge panel ultimately ruled against the veterans group, 2-1, stating that the department was within its rights to deny the petition because it had reasonably considered the request and had the adequate reasons for denying it.
"Although others may have determined that the petitioners' requested rule is the best way to ensure the accurate, fair, and sensitive adjudication of [sexual trauma]-based PSTD claims, that is not the question before us," Hughes wrote.
Additionally, because men and women both suffer from sexual trauma-related PSTD, Hughes continued, the current rules are gender neutral and, therefore, do not violate women's constitutional rights.
Sexual trauma "is not limited to a specific experience or circumstance, and can unfortunately occur at any place, at any time, and to anyone," he wrote.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Evan Wallach said the agency's denial was not based on seasoned decision-making and that combat-related PTSD is held to a different standard than sexual trauma-related PTSD.
"The lay testimony of the claimant for [sexual trauma]-related PTSD will alone be insufficient to establish the occurrence of a specific stressor, whereas the same testimony alone will be sufficient in the case of other claimants," Wallach wrote.
Wallach closed his dissent by noting it was not too long ago when courts viewed rape allegations with automatic suspicion. "Thankfully, those days are supposed to be behind us, but the [VA's] denial letter provides a reminder of the need to be ever vigilant lest such irrational bias encroach once again into the legal and regulatory sphere," he wrote.
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$1,230 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 47 people in 26 months
Created December 20, 2014
KE
$40
kearlyn exavier
2 months ago
SC
$10
Stephanie Crew
11 months ago (Monthly Donation)
GF
$25
gilberto ferrer
12 months ago
SC
$10
Stephanie Crew
12 months ago (Monthly Donation)
SC
$10
Stephanie Crew
13 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Anonymous
14 months ago
$25
Anisha McCord
14 months ago

I have room, come live in the country and heal.

$25
Christine Tron
14 months ago

I'm proud to provide my support for my sister and brother veterans who have been betrayed by our own fellow servicemen. Be strong!

SC
$10
Stephanie Crew
14 months ago (Monthly Donation)
GF
$25
gilberto ferrer
15 months ago
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