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Communications from SPW

The Task Is Simple, Yet Powerful, Even Life-Saving

Man taking his medsHe couldn’t handle groups, because people would come that didn’t see what he saw and he felt some of it was a sham. It triggered a lot for him. He was a Ranger, an elite fighting group. I don’t know if he could ever admit what happened to him. We discussed in his counseling that men have trouble with harassment and unwanted sexual advances. I’ve had more than one military guy, and it’s always hard for them to talk about it. They can maybe talk about someone else, but to actually admit it is difficult. Learning how to connect with this Ranger, without him thinking I was also a sham, helped. I finally got him to take his meds. If I didn’t make that connection, understand his misplaced guilt and sense of betrayal, I think he’d still be stockpiling his meds to this day and isolating himself. Continue reading “The Task Is Simple, Yet Powerful, Even Life-Saving”

Not All War Wounds Are Visible

Soldier with head bowed against his weapon - not all war wounds are visibleMST survivors face many barriers to accessing mental and physical healthcare. The invisible nature of trauma itself creates a barrier. One round-table participant this month summarized the challenge well: “Working with survivors is not as clear as we’d like it to be, with any survivor of trauma for that matter.”

The literature certainly supports that sentiment; 95% of trauma cases go unrecognized by clinicians Continue reading “Not All War Wounds Are Visible”

Protect Consumers When Health Plans Fail

Illinois - Land of Now What?The liquidation of Land of Lincoln Health is just the first of mounting hurdles for Illinois consumers and small-business owners shopping for health insurance coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

Not only do Illinois consumers wait longer than others across the country to see annual rate increases, but they also have fewer resources to help navigate the marketplace. The state’s budget morass means the two state agencies charged with protecting consumer interests and helping consumers connect with coverage options—the Department of Insurance and Get Covered Illinois—are underfunded and ill-prepared to serve the public.

Continue reading “Protect Consumers When Health Plans Fail”

People with Disabilities: Vote as if Your Life Depends on It

Protest sign:  ILLINOIS - Independent Living Legislation Is Not Optional, It's Survival!As recently as the presidential election of 2000, we learned how important a few hundred thousand votes could be. The nationwide gap between candidates totaled just 543,895 votes. According to a recent Stanford Law School study, Contemporary Voting Rights Controversies Through the Lens of Disability, the actual number of potential voters not casting their ballot due to a disability may be five times that number – over 3 million votes not cast in every election for myriad reasons, but primarily because of the lack of accommodation for a disability.

Continue reading “People with Disabilities: Vote as if Your Life Depends on It”

It’s Not a Poor Decision, It’s a Rape

Venn diagram: 100% of the causes of rape is rapistsJust to be clear, rapists cause rape. No longer can we tolerate, or silently look away, when hearing “he had a bright future, don’t let one decision ruin that.” Comments like that breed one part of the two-headed beast that we as a society must destroy. Anything that attempts to downplay the rape, and anything that shifts blame from the rapist onto the survivor, is far from acceptable. Minimizing and victim blaming must end. Continue reading “It’s Not a Poor Decision, It’s a Rape”

We Can Do Better

Bronze figures of women in the armed forcesI am doubly disappointed with the news this month. First, according to a Protect Our Defenders report about their FOIA request to the Pentagon, military-civilian partnerships may not have been as strong as first reported. Although the Pentagon stated that in many cases civilian criminal authorities had declined to prosecute military sexual assaults, the POD report indicates that the prosecutors may never have had the opportunity to accept or decline the cases. Continue reading “We Can Do Better”

Tips Shared for Recruiting Workers with Disabilities

By Kathy Gurchiek

Building a strong employer brand is the first step in recruiting employees with a disability, Laura Wilhelm pointed out during the Feb. 13, 2013, webinar “Best Practices in Disability Recruiting.” Think Beyond the Label.com (TBTL) hosted the hourlong webinar, moderated by Brazen Careerist, that showcased tips on how organizations can find highly skilled, college-educated professionals who have disabilities.

TBTL is a public-private partnership managed by the nonprofit national advocacy group Health & Disability Advocates. Continue reading “Tips Shared for Recruiting Workers with Disabilities”

Have You Seen This Product?

Ad for anti-rape-wear“If slapping a woman’s ass, or getting her tipsy, is your seduction method, then you’re doing it wrong.”

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so I hope that we’re all actively initiating conversations with your buddies about what is sexual assault. If not, then you still have time this month to meet the challenge: ask one person, “What’s a fact and a myth about sexual assault?” The goal is to start a short conversation that moves from victim blaming to correcting assault behavior. Continue reading “Have You Seen This Product?”

Our First Podcast, and More

Zach and team at the recording sesssion“ ‘Well what did you expect to happen with so many men around you? You were bound to get an ass grab. We dealt with that kind of thing all the time; I don’t see why you’re making such a fuss over it.’ That was my mom’s response to me. Now, I’m afraid to even talk to my spouse because I know he’s going to think that I was flirting.”

Ninety seconds into this conversation, I was already well in over my head. Continue reading “Our First Podcast, and More”

Survivors, I Believe You

At the Duckworth briefingWe recently held a town hall panel discussion in partnership with Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s office about the most common needs of MST survivors and how to get survivors to those resources. The morning featured an extremely powerful, raw talk by a survivor sharing with us her experiences. In the question and answer session, community members had an opportunity to ask resource providers and a survivor about how we can direct survivors to appropriate help. The ensuing conversation was rich and informative. I took the opportunity to ask this panel of subject matter experts, “How can we support a survivor at the point of disclosure?” Continue reading “Survivors, I Believe You”