Capstone—the Essence of Military Strength Through Endurance —the Jessica Dean Trauma Transition Story

by Bradley J. Burt

Meet Jessica Dean—Marine Corps Veteran and Dedicated Scholar.

Name: Jessica Dean

MOS: 2846 Ground Radio Intermediate Repairer

Branch: Marine Corps

Current Status: Military Sexual Trauma and Military Victimization Outreach Advocate

Hi, name is Jessica Dean. Here is my Veteran story:

Whitewater, Wis.—UW Whitewater Veterans Servicemembers Organization hosted a cookout at Starin Park to kick off Fall Semester Sept. 14, 2019. After becoming acquainted with members of the group, Jessica Dean was introduced by her husband who is the Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5470 in Whitewater, Wis. The Deans met while they were in service. Jessica Dean offered to share her story for UW Capstone outreach feature writing piloted at Outpost 422. Dean supports the idea of writing mechanisms to overcome grief. Dean indicated she was interested in sharing her story to answer the question,

“What was your defining moment?”

Jessica Dean offered to share her experience, strength and hope from an occurrence that happened while she was in service. Dean’s story is one that has happened to many that goes unpunished, gets discarded due to weighing of merits due to the weighing of evidence from eye witness accounts.

The Hardship:

Dean is coming forward to share her story as an MST survivor. Dean had been sexually assaulted by an individual while she was stationed at 29 Palms Marine Corps base in California. Her hope is that readers will become aware of the hardship of her situation and her testimonial of triumph will inspire more women to share theirs as a result.

What is MST or Military Sexual Trauma?

Currently, in the United States Military, women are being allowed to join the combat arms fields. Misogyny and brutalization have become an epidemic due to the integration of women on the frontline. Women who serve have been fighting both the enemy and misogyny in the military.

More and more women are being victimized and are coming forward sharing how they are becoming prey to being attacked by servicemembers. The military Courts-Martial enables the predatory behavior to continue due to the current Inspector General investigation system being backlogged. Meanwhile, predators know these odds are in their favor and the brutalizing system of accosting women grows stronger by the day.

Women attempt to speak up and receive backlash. Their stories are going unrecognized and unheard. After interviewing Dean, her story spoke of hurt and emotional pain, along with the weight of marginalization with VA claims, which sends women into appeal who apply for service-connected military sexual trauma.

“Military sexual trauma has been getting overlooked and ignored. Women must speak up,” said Dean.

Misogyny and sexual assault result in military sexual trauma that has led to Dean dealing with untreated conditions. The Veterans Administration downplayed her condition by diagnosing her with “Extreme Anxiety Disorder.” Military Sexual Trauma has been happening to several women in the military and has left women prey to dealing with untreated trauma as a result. After coming forward to the VA for her claim, she noted the lack of support women face leads to marginalization and victim-blaming at the level of the Walworth County Veterans Service Office. Dean also noted when interviewed by Compensation and Pension examiners, she felt cornered by interrogation methods.

“You can’t prove any of this happened,” the VA Compensation and Pension Examiner stated.

Jessica Dean has been through the hardship of trauma transition along with VA Compensation and Pension marginalization.  Walworth County Service Officer gave Dean a method of interrogationtion she was unprepared for.

“The Walworth County Service Officer gave me a blank stare of disbelief when they assisted me with filing claims where I dealt with a Veterans Administration claims decision of a severe anxiety disorder and sent me on my way,” said Dean.

Dean’s Husband Gets Hit by a Drunk Driver:

Jessica Dean got out of the military and pursued her undergraduate degree. Dean and her husband were raising three boys at the time. Not only did Dean suffer at the hands of an attacker, she was left to discover she had to endure yet another life hardship—her husband Jason Dean was hit by a drunk driver. Dean shared her story of determination to help her husband recover. Not only was she dealing from military backlash, but an unexpected traumatic turn in her marriage on top of her working through her own personal trauma.

Dean is a true Marine and a dedicated fighter. Her determination developed her drive to succeed. Even though Jessica Dean was overwhelmed with school and her newly diagnosed condition, she was determined to stay the course. Surviving trauma taught her how to overcome her husband suffering a near fatal incident, which left her to raise the boys for her husband to fully recover. Dean is tough.

Her dedication to the Veterinarian industry was her focus to pull her through. Not only had Dean come to endure one of the hardest moments of her life, she also had to embrace for the news her credits from another school were not transferrable.

None-the-less, Dean fought her way through four-and-a-half years of retaking several classes to eventually be awarded an opportunity to serve an internship as a Wildlife Intern for the Dane County Humane Society. Jessica Dean’s story is one of bravery and guts over moments of defeat.

Jessica Dean’s passion is to end military sexual trauma by speaking up and being heard:

Dean’s is passionately seeking a career to be a Veterinarian who took ten credits of UW schooling while working full-time.

“I took a terrible event and made a good thing out of it—battling misogyny amongst Veterans. There are times where you are really plagued with doubt,” said Dean.

Advocates like Dean who share their grief and angst regarding first-hand experience with MST claim sexual assault is commonplace in the military and it needs to end. If you, or a loved one are harboring keeping your hardship secret, please reach out to 1-800-656-HOPE. https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline

Information regarding MST abuse and symptoms can be also found at:

https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/mentalhealth/msthome/index.asp

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