Veteran Tara Jones Wise - trauma of military sexual abuse

Women, Violence and Meditation symposium

On March 31 2012 at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City has been held a symposium for women sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation and Third Fire Films and titled "Women, Violence and Meditation".

Jim Luce in his article on Daily Kos says: "When I first read that 19,000 women a year get raped in the military, I thought it was a typo. When I read the next sentence that women in our military were more likely to be raped by our own soldiers then by the enemy, I thought, obviously. If any nation's soldiers raped 19,000 American women, I believe Washington would retaliate with nuclear weaponry. But how to nuke our own depraved GI's? … Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the U.S. I leaned that one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime around the world. Most often, it is a member of her own family."

Speakers included Soledad O’Brien, Rita Cosby, Pamela Shifman, Tara Wise Jones, Dr. Pamela Peeke, Dr. Lois Lee, Dr. Sarina Grosswald and Joni Kimberlin. The Forum—attended by 175 government, philanthropic and community leaders, along with members of the general public—launched the David Lynch Foundation’s new Women’s Initiative.

Tara Jones Wise is executive director of the National Women Veterans Association of America (NWVAA). During the forum veteran Tara Jones Wise told her powerful story of overcoming the trauma of military sexual abuse.

Video Transcript:

Tara Jones Wise: My entire family is military. My dad served in the US Navy. All the men in my family on my mother's side served in the military. And I'm the first female in my family to serve in the US military.

I'll be honest with you I don't share my story a lot. I am a victim of MST - Military Sexual Trauma. Military Sexual Trauma is one of the most demeaning, defacing, deplorable things that an individual can endure.

It's not so much the rape, that's not the problem. The problem is how you're defamed, defaced, told that you wanted it or that you encouraged it. That you're a liar.

The statistics are alarming. 19,000 sexual assaults last year within our active duty military. 19,000 people are not lying.

There's a lot of people that do vet business and a lot of different type of organizations, but when I reached out to them, there was nothing there for women. There was nothing there for me.

They treated me like I was still on active duty; they talked to me like I was still on active duty. And it just continued to bring up all of the negative things that I had experienced from then.

And I wanted to die. I knew I felt worthless. And I started drinking and staying out all night and gave up on housework and bills. I walked away from all of it just so easily.

I finally got on the internet and started looking for women veterans like me. I was just starting one on one counselling through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), but I still needed something in my day to day.

Then I found Transcendental Meditation. The very first day that I learned was so powerful for me. And it felt really good. I just want everybody to feel like I feel.

Once I started meditating my weight started coming down. I feel better, a lot more healthier; I have a lot more energy. I'm able to be more focused, and just be happy about living.

I never would have ever had thought that I would be organizing women. I wanted to make sure that women like me, that suffered from suicide ideation, that are victims of MST, that have had some dramatic experiences and had a lot of stress and don't know how to transition from active duty, that there was something out there that actually worked.

And it can save lifes; and it’s going to save some more lives. And we just got to make sure everyone is aware.” - Veteran Tara Jones Wise

David Lynch Foundation « Operation Warrior Wellness », <Operation Warrior Wellness>
David Lynch Foundation and Third Fire Films « Women, Violence, and Meditation », Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York City, March 31st, 2012, <Public forum spotlights benefits of TM for abused women>, Other link : <Highlights (pdf)>

Jim Luce « Daily Kos: David Lynch Foundation: Women, Violence and T.M. Symposium », Daily Kos, Wed Jun 13, 2012, <Daily Kos>
Tara Jones-Wise « A Transcendental Transition from the U.S. Military », Stewardship Report, June 18, 2012, <Stewardship Report>