Update, February 15, 2013: To purchase Katie's book, "My Invisible Injury: Living Life with a Traumatic Brain Injury" please click here. Thank you!
I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine. We met online several months ago. Her name is Kate and she's a 25 year old Army Veteran from Indiana. Kate joined the Army right out of high school. After completing basic training she was sent to her military occupational specialty (MOS) school, 92M, Mortuary Affairs Specialist. Not exactly an MOS you want to have during wartime, is it. Kate is an Iraq War Veteran -- I'll let you put her MOS and being an Iraq War Veteran together in your own head.
Kate was in the Army for just under two years. While recovering from surgery due to an injury she suffered while on a training mission, Kate was brutally raped. Kate was a 20 year old E3 at the time. Her unit, rather than help her deal with the aftermath of her assault, elected to discharge her from the Army. They didn't believe that she was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and accused her of "acting out". Fortunately, the VA believed her and she's properly service connected for PTSD due to military sexual trauma (MST).
Some time after Kate got out of the Army, she had a terrible skateboarding accident. As a result of that accident, she's spent much of the last two years in and out of the VA Hospital, she's had multiple surgery's trying to put her body back together again, and she's losing her eyesight. But has that stopped my young friend from moving on with her life? Hell no.
I have to tell you this. My young friend Kate is truly an inspiration to me. When we first started talking she'd been in a wheelchair for almost two years. After her last surgery, she's finally walking again. She just completed the Blind Rehab Course at the Hines VA Hospital in Chicago. She's working on her Bachelor's degree in psychology with help from the VA's Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Her first book entitled "My Invisible Injury: Life After A Traumatic Brain Injury" is ready for publication and will be on sale in roughly 45 days. Be sure to check my blog for updates on that. No matter what happens to her she cares about her friends and family first and foremost. This young woman keeps up the good fight and never quits.
Kate's next major project strikes very close to home. Not just to Kate and I but to 1 in 3 female Veterans as stated by Tammy Duckworth on her last Oprah Show appearance. What makes it worse is that Ms Duckworth stated that 95% of women don't report this to our superiors. What am I talking about? Military Sexual Trauma. MST. It's at epidemic levels in the military right now. It strikes at men and women. No one is immune. Kate has decided to put together a book about MST. She wants your input, my friends. And she's here to ask for it. Folks, I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Kate.
|Kate bowling. Nothing stops her.|
|All dolled up and ready to go. Meet Kate Paterson.|
Hi ladies and gentleman,
My name is Kate Patterson and like all of you I had the terrible experience of military sexual trauma. I have decided that it is an epidemic and I want to write about our experiences.
I feel that this is often put on the back burner. Many vets don't even know they can get compensation for it. I do, a lot of my rating comes from learning that I can get compensation for what I experienced while on active duty!
That day still haunts me and it always will.
But, I am going to take power over it and start a book of short stories from women and men veterans across the United States.
I want people to understand what we have gone through. Because fighting on the battlefield is a memory I can place on the back burner, but sexual trauma I cannot.
I would like to have everyone's stories emailed to me- firstname.lastname@example.org within the next three months.
I am in the process of having my first book published. I have been working on that one for 2 years.
So, you can be anonymous and not have your name associated to your story or you can identify yourself as whomever you would like.
Just let me know!
Thank you all so much,
There you have it, my friends. Straight from Kate herself. Please, contact her. Share your story. As Kate says, you can remain anonymous or not. It's up to you. Kate can't do this without your help. Won't you tell her your story? I'll be putting mine in writing. If my story helps empower just one intended victim, I'll have done a good thing. That's how I will be looking at this. I've blogged about my assaults enough times. Anyone who has read my blogs is familiar with what happened to me. If you can't read them because they are triggers, I understand that, too. Still, I will do my part to help Kate tell this story. I believe in Kate.
Until the next time ....