Male MST Survivor Chad Keck: I Am Vanessa Guillen

Chad Keck is a volunteer for MSTM. He is a U.S. Marine Corps. veteran. He received a retaliatory discharge after experiencing Military Sexual Trauma (MST) while serving on active duty. The struggle to attain VA benefits left Chad to struggle with PTSD due to MST without any support.

 

I AM VANESSA GUILLEN

 

I remember when I first understood and recognized that I had PTSD. It was a moment of awakening to understand exactly why I was falling apart, acting bat-shit crazy, doing harmful behaviors and I fell into drugs, alcohol, fighting and I ended up in and out of jail. My credit is crap and I had a short temper with most employers which led me to have well over 50 jobs since I’ve left the Marine Corps. My grandfather (USMC Korea ), My father (U.S Army Vietnam), Dad's brother Danny and his second brother Dustin (U.S Army desert storm). I always wanted to be the next one in uniform to stand proud with my family tradition. I joined the Marine Corps. fresh out of high school and straight to boot camp as soon as I turned 18. Unfortunately, I only served a year in service. I was discharged with an Other Than Honorable (OTH), A pattern of misconduct, and a RE-4 on my DD-214 and PTSD that would haunt me in my future years ahead.

No VA benefits or payments, back child support, and currently halfway homeless with my wife and three kids, no job with one felony and eviction and still trying, praying, and hoping for better days. My whole childhood I grew up to pictures of my family history in uniform hanging on the wall. Now in my opinion, any honorable veteran would ask or active duty service member would ask, "How the hell do you get PTSD with no deployments and one year in service?" My response is, "What if another man or group of men shoved something deep into your ass where you could feel the ripping pain in your stomach?" The times I have spoken out, I have received questions like, "Why you let that happen to you?" 

Let me guess because you’re no bitch? It wouldn’t happen to you? Well if I told you I had no choice as I laid there in my barracks bathroom floor halfway in the shower passed out paralyzed by heavy drinking and partying. I came into consciousness for a split moment or two as the same exact Marines that I was partying with started shoving an object into my body; that I felt the pain in my gut; not to mention everyone was in my room was laughing. I felt less than human, I felt severely emasculated as if I was no longer a man by society's definition, and nowhere close to being a Marine. Besides I was one of the guys that would always be said “ If anyone tried to put anything in me I would fight to the death”.

I felt extreme shame as I thought to myself, "I should of done more to not put myself in that situation." But hell, drinking, partying and fighting was part of the barracks culture, especially as a Grunt. I was 18 and being a fresh “boot” who would have known this would of happened to me. The depth of negative emotions emerged as I felt high levels of guilt, shame, resentment, that ultimately led to Depression. That's how “A demon was born.” Trauma causes people to respond to negative attraction patterns. That's how I ended up in and out of jail. Remember that old-time joke, "If you and I went camping and you woke up with a hurt asshole, would you tell anyone?" Who the hell was I supposed to report it to? Who was I supposed to tell? I was singled out in my barracks, threatened to be killed by the Marines in my platoon once went to Iraq together. The higher-ups didn’t give two shits about what I said. 

if they didn’t like what I told them, I would get punished for my attempted asks for help or embarrassed where my problems would be announced in front of my platoon and others would be ordered to "fix my problems." I was constantly attacked and even jumped by seniors of my platoon and even my own peers as coming forward made me seem weak. To all of them, this was just hazing. It was apart of the culture that I signed up for. I still have severe trust issues until this day. It was those days in the Marines taught me not to trust anyone. If I could not even trust the people I enlisted with and the Chain of Command (CoC) how could I trust anyone? I learned quickly that this "brotherhood" consisted of hazing and sexual violence. The most elite fighting force in the world proved they couldn’t be trusted. 18 years old and I resented the fact that I had no one to talk to or trust and the shame and guilt started to eat me alive and since I couldn’t trust anyone to confide into, I started cutting myself to release the inner pain that was choking me inside.

I could imagine what Vanessa Guillen was struggling with. Help me get justice for her as well as the rest of us by signing and sharing our petition to Urge Congress to Establish MIRA, an independent regulatory body that will protect servicemembers from MST, retaliation, and hazing when they experience sexual violence. MSTMovement.org/MIRA Please sign and share in honor of Vanessa Guillen.

 

Listen to Chad Keck tell his story on MSTM's Perspective Podcast. To Listen to Chad Keck's I Am Vanessa Guillen Podcast visit: 

Chad Keck: I Am Vanessa Guillen

 

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