I just maxed out my free six therapy sessions. For the last two months, I am paying out of pocket my psychologist at a discounted rate of 180$ per hour. You can imagine how long my healing process will last until money runs out.
Meanwhile, here I am, sitting with a PTSD subject matter expert, let’s call him Georges, trying to find ways to get my treatments covered. Georges is a well-intentioned man, trained to guide current and ex-military personal navigate through the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy. He wants me to get better. I can see it. Georges starts to get curious (see what I did here?) and asks me questions about my overall military experiences. He ends up asking me straight out if any troubling events, other than my military sexual trauma, happened to me during my interrupted military career in the Canadian Armed Forces.
I see right through this. He knows and I know how difficult it is to get paid support for military sexual trauma. Unless the wrongdoer feels guilty enough to confess his crime or is dumb enough to broadcast the assault all over some kind of social media, the odds of getting your claim granted is probably as good as winning the lottery, ok maybe bingo.
After discussing with other MST survivors, I quickly realized that ‘’finding another trauma’’ is a commonly-used tactic used by Military benefits subject matter experts to ensure victims of military sexual assaults gets at least a minimum of care. When you think of it, finding a witness willing to testify about an unfortunate military exercise accident is much easier than finding a CAF member, who happened to be present during an assault, willing to throw is long lasted buddy under the bus.
It only takes a quick soul searching, for a victim to find a ‘’scary noise’’ a ‘’frightening scene’’ or a ‘’possible horrific outcome’’ bloodcurdling enough to get some compensation. Once in that golden arched door, you can talk about your real issues. So you can see how appealing it is to use the ‘’finding another trauma’’ tactic.
This quick fix might help one military sexual assault victim get services within a broken system, but it sure doesn`t provide Veterans Affairs Canada with accurate data on MST. I doesn`t push the system to review its process or to adjust their services to military sexual trauma victims either.
I don`t judge people for taking the easy road. Not everyone has the time, the energy and the stubbornness to walk through the unpaved path. Fortunately for some and unfortunately for others, I do.
So when Georges is asking me if I can recall any troubling events, other than my military sexual trauma, that might have happened to me during my military career, my answer has to be ‘’no’’.