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Sexually-assaulted veteran given another chance



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July 01, 2013 | 11:52 AM
Dear W.C.,

I am a woman veteran trying to get by. I was given a less than honorable discharge four years ago.

I was severely beaten and sexually assaulted while stationed overseas by those I considered my fellow soldiers. We were sworn to defend our fellow officers and here I was hurt the most by the very persons I thought would be there to watch my back.

I found myself deeper and deeper in depression, as they covered up the whole incident. I was told it would make the military look bad. It was my assailants I wanted to bring to justice, not the entire military. Then to make things even worse I found myself pregnant. When I brought all this to my commander they did not believe me. I was questioned and treated like the enemy for the next two months.

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Then I was given the news that I was being less than honorably discharged due to fraternization. After over three years of service to my country I found myself unable to get a job or benefits.

Now I find myself a single mother with a 4 year old and still trying to find full-time work. All the time I put into the service still haunts me every day. Everyone looks at my record and thinks I am at fault for my discharge.

The only people I trust in this world is myself and my beautiful daughter. If there is one good thing that came out of all this trauma it is my daughter. She is the light of my life. I worry every day how I will be able to feed and shelter her. I have no family to turn to.

My mother died years ago. My younger brother is serving overseas. My daughter and I are struggling to pay this month's rent. I had to take my daughter to the emergency room because she was very sick last month.

The bill was almost as much as two months' rent. I have read about your work online at the library and did not believe there were good people in this world. I would like to believe there are.

Veteran without benefits

Dear Readers,

Sexual assault in the military is a problem.

A problem the military needs to face head on and protect women who serve. I find it very disturbing to think that our women that volunteer to serve and defend our country find themselves not only unable to defend themselves, but even having to fight alone against this injustice.

I met this woman in a public place as she was understandably uncomfortable with meeting in her home setting. We met at a park where she could watch her daughter play while we talked and there were other people nearby.

I introduced myself to the mother and daughter. The mother shook my hand and said, "Nice to meet you sir." The daughter hid shyly behind her mother. I assumed she did not meet many strangers after reading the mother's letter and understanding her caution. The mother and I stood by the playground as the daughter played with several other children at the park.

I could tell the mother felt awkward as she stood quietly watching her daughter. I began to tell her about The Time Is Now to Help and how our mission works. I told her about how all of "you" make the assistance possible to the many struggling senior citizens, handicapped, single mothers, children, working poor families and veterans we help each year.

She listened and then asked if we had ever helped a woman veteran that was discharged before?

I honestly told her I did not believe we have. I told her we helped many civilians and veterans that had suffered injuries and illness'. She looked very troubled and said she felt she had been injured both physically and psychologically due to the loss of trust and camaraderie she felt she had with her fellow soldiers.

No one had stood up for her defense. They had all remained hush hush about her brutal rape. After the rape she had been subjected to constant harassment. We talked for almost two hours.

At the conclusion she said, "Thank you for listening. No one has listened to the hurt I am going through. I live in fear of being homeless. I am a mother and I take my love and responsibility of caring for my daughter very seriously. But no one gives me a chance." She started to cry.

I asked her what we could do to help her now and going forward. She said, "All I really want to be able to do is have a job that supports my daughter and myself. I do not want to be fighting for welfare.

I know I am capable of supporting myself, even without the education and healthcare I was promised when I signed up in the military. I had listened to my father lecture me my whole life on my American duty to defend my country. Now I have neither my father or my country willing to help me. I have to help myself."

I was glad to see she had a fighting spirit still in her. I was worried it had been beaten out of her by the very people that should have had her back.

The mother told me about her overdue rent and several other smaller bills she was unable to pay. I offered to bring her rent up to date. I also asked what job skills she had. She had received training in IT and computers but was willing to try any full-time job I suggested. I had a job in mind that a friend had brought to my attention. It involved some office work and computer skills. I asked if she was organized and punctual as that was the main criteria my friend said they needed in an employee.

She almost smiled as she said, "That was the best things I learned from the military. They do not tolerate disorganization or tardiness." I asked when she would like to start and she said, "Right now." I could see the desperation on her face.

I called the friend that had offered the job and had the woman speak with him. They set up a time to meet at his office during business hours the following day.

He said it would be fine to bring her daughter along as they had an area for children to play in. When the mother finished the call she said, "I can't believe how hard I have tried to get a job but no one would give me a chance with my military record. Now with just one phone call from you I have a job interview the next day. I am in shock that The Time Is Now to Help is doing all this for me." I asked if she had office attire for her interview. She admitted she may need some office-suitable clothing. We provided a gift card to pick out what she needed.

I called the next day to see how her interview went. She was very excited to tell me she had been given the job. She had already arranged for child care for her daughter. She thanked all of us for giving her what she needed to be self-reliant. She also said thank you for believing in her and not questioning her moral character. I told her I believed in her and all I wanted to do was put her past behind her so she could look forward to her future with her beautiful daughter.

This woman was and is so grateful. She went on and on about how thankful she is to all of you. She concluded with, "Our country needs to nurture the basic foundations like The Time Is Now to Help. We need to take care of each other. God bless all of you for helping."

Health and Happiness,

God Bless Everyone,

W.C./Sal

Fox Charities Matching Grant

We are happy to announce we have met the Fox Charities $25,000 matching grant. In the coming days we will be distributing these funds to those in desperate need. At the conclusion we will share with you where every penny of this matching grant was spent to assist the poverty stricken. Thank you for your generosity in donating to this matching grant opportunity.

New mailing address

Please Note We Have A New Mailing Address. Make checks payable to:

The Time Is Now to Help

P.O. Box 1

Lake Geneva, WI 53147

The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization licensed in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax deductible, itemized thank you receipt showing how your donation provided assistance for the poverty stricken.

A very special thank you

Fox Charities, Pentair Foundation, The Summertime Foundation, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Mark and Natalie Reno, Barbara Spiegelhoff, Joan Marabito Rietz, Robert Dodge, Robert and Mary Winter, Marvin and Audrey Hersko, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the God loving volunteers of all our caring food pantries, all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, and the businesses that allow our donation boxes. Anyone who would like a Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000.

Honoraries

John and Julie Koenen in honor of Jacki and Alfons Broz' 50th Anniversary.Memorials: Robert and Mary Ann Zelenski in memory of Diane Robers.

Chris Ann's Resale Shop

I will continue to ask Chris Ann's Resale shop for furniture and household necessities to help our poverty stricken fellow Americans. The poverty stricken we help are hidden away. Some are hard to find, but I make it a point to find them and make a difference.

Many years ago I helped Love, Inc. in Burlington start up. Now Chris Ann's needs our help. Chris Ann was a cleaning lady with a big heart, never saying no to The Time Is Now to Help's requests. Now she is trying to make the resale shop a success. That success in turn allows Time Is Now to pull from the inventory to provide much needed household items for those living without.

I am forever using Chris Ann's as a holding area to take, yes take, anything and everything for the poverty stricken. Chris Ann has rent, utilities and other expenses she needs to pay to keep open. Please stop by and spend a few dollars. Everything is a bargain. Your purchases will continue to help us help others. Thank you for taking the time to make Chris Ann's a regular visit and please tell all your friends.

If you have anything you would like to donate please call (262) 348-9088. They are located at 406 Hwy. 120 North, Lake Geneva, in the old Floor Store building across from the Next Door Pub. Look for the American flags.

Desperately need cars

Please donate a used car to help our fellow Americans get to work and other daily necessities.

Please visit

www.timeisnowtohelp.org

 

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