Transcript: Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Q&A w/ Jeremiah Arbogast & Jessica Kenyon on military sexual assault, PTSD & suicides

Partial transcript of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) Q&A with Jeremiah Arbogast and Jessica Kenyon on the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs handling of post traumatic stress disorders and suicides of service members who suffered military sexual assault. The hearing before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel was held on Feb. 26, 2014:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
Do both of you agree if you had access to civilian counseling services that would be beneficial? If the VA would pay for it?

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
If I had a little more choice outside of where I did not feel I had to go to the VA and possibly endure other male soldiers who are always threatening to me regardless – it’s just a trigger – I do believe that I could see the benefit in not only other outside counselors but other alternative health care as prescriptions are not –

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
Do you know of anything in your local community that you think would be beneficial to you?

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
I have heard and seen a lot of benefits to things like meditation, to yoga, to – in correlation with the counselor, you know, to push through balance and well-being and taking those triggers and those moments of panic and being able to maintain them much better.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
…Do you think that would be helpful to you to have access to civilian counseling if the VA is inadequate?

Lance Corporal Jeremiah J. Arbogast, USMC (Ret.):
I actually do that. I actually use my Tricare and Medicare to do that because of the VA counselors not having that expertise.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
Okay, so Tricare does provide that access to you?

Lance Corporal Jeremiah J. Arbogast, USMC (Ret.):
Correct.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
In your case, Ms. Kenyon, that’s not the case?

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
I currently do not receive anything like that, and I pay out of pocket for any counseling.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
But you did not – did you get a disability rating?

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
I have not received a rating.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
Is that still ongoing?

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
It’s still ongoing, Senator.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
Okay. What was the day of your assault? Do you recall?

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
I hate to say this but which one?

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
The one that is the subject of the Article 15.

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
The one that received the most justice, I suppose, would be in July 2006.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
2006. Now, you said you received letters of counseling going for treatment. Is that correct?

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
Yes, Senator.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
Would you be willing to make those letters available to the committee?

Ms. Jessica Kenyon, Former Private First Class, U.S. Army:
Absolutely. If I have received a copy of them –

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
I would like to see the letter of counseling, who wrote it and what they said.

Thank you both. I hope that we can find a way to broaden the treatment options available for those who find themselves in your circumstance. And I think there are a lot of things outside the VA, outside DOD that may be beneficial, not just in this situation but in other situations but particularly in this situation. Thank you for sharing your testimony with this committee.

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