MILTARY SEXUAL TRAUMA ADVOCATE
After graduating high school at age 17, Stacey Thompson volunteered to serve on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. She volunteered for her first overseas deployment to Okinawa, Japan in 1999. Shortly after her arrival to Okinawa, Stacey experienced sexual harassment in her workplace from a senior Marine in her direct chain of command. On the night of December 09, 1999 she was drugged and violently raped by her superior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). After reporting the rape, she was retaliated against and eventually separated from the Marines with an “Other Than Honorable” (OTH) discharge. She has since become a public advocate for survivors of military sexual assault. Stacey uses creative arts, poetry and public speaking to share her story of survival. She educates and informs others of the complications which arise from invisible wounds such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) resulting from Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
For 13 years post-injury, Stacey did not discuss the MST incident with anyone. She became the mother of three children and married her long-time love, Jesse Thompson, who she met while deployed overseas. Jesse retired after 20 years in the Marine Corps and survived three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Although a disabled veteran herself, Stacey is her husband’s full-time caregiver assisting him with recovering from combat PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Through it all, she leaned on her writing and artwork to express that which often goes unheard from veterans, caregivers and military families. Stacey continues to inspire others by speaking publicly on behalf of service members who face similar challenges when healing from invisible wounds.
In 2012, after her husband’s return from his third combat deployment, Stacey finally began her own healing process and sought counseling for PTSD. In 2013, Stacey joined Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles for a press conference where she shared her story publicly for the first time. Her powerful speech led her to be invited by Senator Kristen Gillibrand in 2014 to speak in Washington, DC, in support of the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA).
That summer she graduated with honors earning her Masters of Science Degree from the California University of Pennsylvania. She shared her story of survival in November of 2014 as the keynote speaker and featured artist during “Artist of War”, an event hosted by the Lone Survivor Foundation (LSF) in Coronado, California. In 2015, Stacey was invited as a guest speaker to discuss her experience and healing from MST at the LSF Gala’s in Chicago, Oklahoma, Houston, and New York City.
Stacey belongs to the Veteran Writers Group (VWG) of San Diego County and she recently became a published author. She is in the final stages of publishing her first memoir titled “Beautifully Broken” which offers an analogy of healing from trauma through poetry, faith and glass mosaic artwork.
She was featured in a documentary (June 2016) in conjunction with PBS of short films which depict the struggles disabled veterans face after coming home and reintegrating back into society. This short film, Invisible Wounds: Life after military sexual assault and PTS, displays her work as an advocate for MST survivors, artist, poet, wife and mother.
In January 2016, after four years of litigation, Stacey received a discharge upgrade from the Department of Defense (DOD) which finally acknowledged her honorable military service and she is now receiving full veteran benefits. Her tenacity and perseverance is apparent in not only her character but in her advocacy work as well.
Stacey can gracefully articulate her experiences with MST and PTSD offering a unique understanding from both the disabled veteran and caregiver perspective. Throughout her healing process she has both inspired and given hope to other survivors of MST. Stacey continues to lead others by example as an advocate, veteran and caregiver. Her success and commitment to healing thus far is certainly an indication of things to come.
PERFECT AUDIENCES, CONFERENCES, VENUES
Sexual Assault Programs
Sexual Assault Associations
Law Enforcement/First Responder
University / College / High School