Women of the Military

An Invisible Combat Veterans Story - Episode 90

Episode Summary

Kim was adopted and always felt like she didn’t belong. And in her search for belonging, she joined the military. When she went to boot camp and Advanced Individual Training, she felt like she had found her family and was excited about her career in the Army. But she soon faced challenges that had a huge impact on her life.

Episode Notes

Her first assignment was to Landstuhl, Germany. As a medic, she worked inpatient care and when there would be a demand for medics due to war casualties, they would be sent to the ER to take care of the service members coming in from Iraq and Afghanistan. It was high paced and she saw the injuries and casualties of war first hand. But she was part of the team and was doing her job. 

Then she was sexually assaulted and suffered a head injury during the assault. She didn’t want to tell anyone about the incident and threw away her sheets before going to work the next day. She wasn’t planning to tell anyone, but four weeks later she found out she was pregnant. She sent home on leave for a month and was convinced to not keep the baby. She tried to move forward with her life and ended up getting married and having a baby girl. About 8 months after her daughter was born, she attempted to commit suicide. She went to the mental health ward and in her attempt to tell the mental health professional what she was dealing with she was shut down. 

When she transitioned out of the military she planned to be a military spouse and didn’t advocate for herself or take advantage of the resources to veterans because she thought she would have the resources through her husband’s service as a dependent. Shortly after leaving her husband was accused of sexual assault and was sent to jail and await a trial. He was the only income provider and he stopped receiving pay so they didn’t have any money.

She moved off base and tried to find a job. Her mother-in-law took the kids and she ended up starting to use drugs and was in and out of jail three times before finally realizing she had to make a change. She moved back to California, went to Veterans Affairs, and started to use her GI Bill while also working to help other veterans.

Since then she has turned her life around and has a BS and Masters and works full time as a social worker. She also continues to help veterans through her new organization Invisible Veteran.  

Currently, it does not hold a non-profit status, she does mostly volunteer work and uses her own resources and support from local organizations. However, they are considering obtaining Non-Profit status in order to provide a wider range of supportive resources and mental health workshops for female service members and mental health supports locally. 

She is currently in the development stages of her website. It will showcase her mental health research, as well as the stories in which she uses her experiences and those of the collective female voice through military culture and mental health theoretical lenses to help increase the discussions about mental health and military culture. It will help identify the gaps that can lead to things like veteran homelessness, mental health challenges, incarceration, and suicide. 

She also has a local committee she is starting in Fresno, CA to help better collaborate with local organizations supporting female veterans and bring relevant awareness, empowerment, and transformation to my sisters in arms here in her town.

Connect with Kim:

www.invisiblecombat.com

Instagram

Facebook

Invisible Combat Online Support group

Related Episodes:

Surviving Military Sexual Trauma in the Navy – Episode 26

Serving in the Coast Guard and Military Sexual Trauma – Episode 18

Overcoming PTSD and what is next – Episode 11

Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman  00:00

Welcome to Episode 90 of the Women of the Military podcast this week. My guest is Kim Sciutto Bailey. She is a military sexual trauma and post traumatic stress disorder survivor. She is a prior incarcerated veteran, a military suicide survivor. And she now works as a social worker and military mental health advocate breaking stigma on mental health, trauma and incarceration of our female veterans at invisible combat. Her story is a difficult story to hear because it has so much heartbreak and struggle that she went through. But now seeing all that she's doing on the other side is encouraging to see that there's light at the end and that you can take your really bad situation and use it to make a positive impact in the world. So go check her out on Invisible Combat at Instagram and Facebook. And Let's get started. You're listening to the woman on the military podcast where we share the stories of female servicemembers and how the military touched their lives. I'm Amanda Huffman. I am an Air Force veteran, author of women of the military and a collaborative author and brave women strong faith. I'm also a military spouse and Mom, I created women in the military podcast as a place to share stories of military women past and present with the goal of finding the heart of the story while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world, keep tuned for this latest episode of women of the military. Welcome to my show, Kim. I'm excited to have him here. So we got connected because Military Families did an article about me and you won a copy of my book. And then when you sent me your address, it had this location that was very close to my heart because you live in my hometown, which is Fresno, California. So I'm really excited that we got connected through that. And then the small world connection that we're both Well, I'm from there, and you're living there now.

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  02:26

Absolutely. It's so it's very, it was very ironic. I was like, Wow, you're from my town, too. That's so cool. Yeah.

 

Amanda Huffman  02:33

So let's start with why did you decide to join the military?

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  02:37

So interestingly enough, I mean, I so I was adopted at a pretty young age. I was probably about three years old. So I don't come from a military home. So that wasn't something that was like brought up but my stepfather did serve in the military, but it wasn't like we talked about it very often. So for me, the military was sort of my escape route. And I think a lot of other service members probably have similar stories to that, you know, because because I wasn't adopted family and I was not Caucasian, but my family that I was adopted by was Caucasian. That left me with a lot of identity crisis kind of questions. And I didn't know my birth parents didn't know the story, my origin story or anything like that. So I was looking for something like looking for a purpose or like a higher mission. So the military was my escape route, basically.

 

Amanda Huffman  03:22

And you joined in 2004. So did September 11. have any effect on why you decided to join?

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  03:29

No, I mean, I distinctly remember that day, of course, I think everybody, everybody does. I did. I wasn't thinking that I was really just thinking about, you know, just getting out of my town. You know, there's no black hole. I know, you probably know, if you don't ever leave here. You're gonna be here forever, and I came back. So that's interesting, but no, I don't think that that really had any bearing on joining the military.

 

Amanda Huffman  03:57

So you decided to join the Army. You were a combat medic and healthcare specialist. So where did you go to basic training? And what was your tech school like? 

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  04:07

So I went to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri For Basic Training. And yeah, it was That was great. I mean, I, it's really interesting. And I know a lot of people can probably relate about basic training, how it's all about teamwork and team building and just kind of breaking you down to like, rebuild you back up again. And so for me, it was really interesting because coming from me being adopted and coming into this new family mindset, right, I already had a lot of, you know, ideas about my identity, like I was having, you know, I had an identity crisis, I was still trying to figure out who I was and where I belonged in the world. So coming into the military, it was like, this is this is it, you know, it's kind of click like, because, you know, of course, we're rebuilding and redefining camaraderie and unit you know, family, right. And so me not having a strong family background, our family unit, it was very impactful for me, even though it was difficult and you know, of course, the Basic Training was very challenging physically, right. And I'm in mentally as well. But I found a lot of family basically. And I felt like this is just this was it for me. And then when I went into it being that I was a combat medic, and a lot of us went to it together from basic training. We started we served from basic training together and went to IIT, but interestingly enough, I was adopted and like when we had free time, like during the second half of my training, I was able to use the computer. So I went down to the computer lab and my mother, my biological mother has sent me a message on MySpace. I don't know if anyone remembers MySpace. Yeah, it was very it was a long time ago was back in 2005. I think she found me on MySpace. So I'm sitting there in AI t connecting with my biological mother on MySpace. And he told me that I had biological siblings as well. I didn't know that I had brothers and sisters. Prior to that, of course, I was like, wow, this is insane. You know, I'm an AI t trying to figure out what I'm going to go to all the unanswered questions about where I'm going to go, you know, next after I leave, it was was in San Antonio, Texas, by the way. And so the next morning I had told her to call me so I before formation before we were going on to PT formation, she gave me a call and I got to connect with her on the phone. And she gave me some very traumatic, you know, explanations about my origin that I didn't know previously to that. So I'm sitting there on the bed, everybody else had already left to go down to formation. And I'm sitting there just bawling, just crying, you know, because some of the information she gave me was, was not the best. I mean, I guess I can share it because it kind of ties into my military experience. So my mother was sexually assaulted when she was very young, probably about 13 or 14 years old. I was a product of that. So that was one of the things I was just learning in it. So the drill sergeant who was a male came up to the floor to find out where it was because there wasn't information and he saw me sitting down on the bed crying, and he immediately just like I saw him come in the door and he immediately just stopped and walked out. He didn't know what to do, you know, so he wouldn't got another female drill sergeant from another unit or another platoon didn't know her. She came up to me to find out what was going on not with me on the bed, hugged me. I mean, it was phenomenal. She She hugged me. And she was like what's going on? And she kind of had like a little pep talk with me. And so because of that, she's like, well, what can we do to help you? And they let me actually go off off base, they let me take a weekend with my mom. So they they flew my mom in to see me. And I got to spend the weekend with her. And then I went back to regular schedule. So I was like, that's a really phenomenal, interesting story. And also it shows just what great leadership is in the military. I've had talks with leadership, but I've also had experiences like this, that show just how caring and how great leadership can be.

 

Amanda Huffman  07:37

Yeah, that's a really positive story. because like you said, sometimes you I mean, that drill sergeant could have came in so you cry him and like, get your butt down to for me, found another female and let her talk to you. That's a really positive and encouraging story from the military.

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  07:56

Right. It's very interesting. I like it because people are like, wow, that because I don't really tell them A lot of people about that, because, you know, of course, I was still in training, our primary focus was just like getting through training, right, and then moving on to our next duty station. But yeah, that was a very impactful story for me because it just showed me at that point I was thinking this is about to be the greatest situation of my life being in the military, if I'm going to be able to serve with people like this right leadership like this. 

 

Amanda Huffman  08:18

And then after you finished AIT. You went from being like this kind of tight knit unit of people who went to boot camp tgether and then you all dispersed?

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  08:28

Yes, yeah, I went to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which was in Germany, and at that time, because it was pretty early on, you know, in the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. We were predominantly like a, you know, a medical Combat Support Unit hospital because we're like the middle ground between, you know, the battlefield. And you know, and the the states, though a lot of the war casualties and severely injured soldiers would come to us, we would stabilize them and make sure their medical state medically stable and perform operations or whatever they needed to have right there that moment and then they will go to the To the states to Walter Reed or to you know any of those other stateside hospitals.

 

Amanda Huffman  09:04

So it was that kind of like, high ops type job where you guys were doing like, all kinds of crazy stuff because it just depended on what the people came back with. And then I mean, it's hands on learningright away.

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  09:17

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, so part of my you know, so for us, it was a regular hospital. So it was the only hospital overseas like an O conus. That had we did regular patient care. So I worked in many different clinics. I mean, I started off working in the PDR. I started off working in ob gyn actually. So I worked there and then I went to pediatric. So we did regular patient care on top of the emergency care that we had. So basically, we had Mantar missions, which was what they were called, and we would be able to stable so they would give us a call anytime of the day, it could be during our patient care, we could be just doing regular patient care with the patient soldiers or their family members, and then we will get a call saying that there was an explosion or that there was some sort of have, you know crisis overseas and then we will have to just basically get to the ER stand there and wait until the airbag came on until the medevac came. A lot of them artifacts came from Ramstein, which is an Air Force Base over in Germany. And they were the helicopters straight from the battlefield from Iraq or Afghanistan, come to us, we would transport them medically stabilized them. Sometimes there was, I mean, a phenomenal amount of soldiers. I mean, it's dependent on what the type of crisis that happened over there was, and we would just be standing there on wait could be three in the morning, two in the morning. It was it was very chaotic, especially during the early parts of the war. We had a lot of soldiers coming through.

 

Amanda Huffman  10:36

Yeah, that's crazy. And especially if you were pretty young, and you were in Germany, and then you're doing this, like kind of a crazy job where you're not on the front lines. The front lines are coming almost directly to you because you're having to, you know, see the people who gotten blown up or hurt and destabilized.

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  10:56

Exactly. We had some pretty, you know, pretty serious injuries. I mean, and really during the beginning parts, because I was there, like, I think I got there about 2005. At that point, we did have a lot of, you know, some casualties. You know, that didn't make it. And so that was really during the early parts of it. I was there 2010 we got better as we as we continued on. And yeah, that's how I think like 85%, or casualties of war and combat soldiers that came directly from the cold. We had, we know, we did all kinds of specialty care. We had, like in the pediatric clinic, we had all the specialty providers, you know, like an endocrinologist, you know, learning disability type of providers, but then we also had that additional support that we had to do for the war casualties.

 

Amanda Huffman  11:38

So you are dealing with that, and you're, you're working a lot and doing your job, huh. Did you face any struggles while you were serving over there in Germany?

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  11:49

Yes. So, interestingly, what because I was very young, you know, how I was saying, coming into the surface, and so I was still trying to figure out who I was right when I got there. And probably the first Like when I got there, I was in like a temporary unit I was assigned to, I think the anesthesiologist clinic. So I had an ncyc, who was in charge of us. And around that same time, he actually had completed suicide. So that was my first, you know, kind of moment in the military, like trying to figure out where I belong this unit trying to figure out how I was going to fit in. And then this happened. It was insane, because I didn't know him personally. But he was my NCIC assigned to me at that time, I don't know how I really don't think I felt, I mean, of course, it impacted me a lot, because I'm like, Well, what did I get myself into what's really going on? You know, and because we didn't really speak a lot about it, because, you know, of course, they had supportive, supportive supports for people that were impacted by this suicide, but I didn't really know it was, you know, it was just really difficult time for me at that point for that, that portion of it. And then after we kind of got through that as a unit, we still continued on with the missions and all that stuff. Everything was always mission first, you know, our patient care was always first making sure that, you know, people didn't, you know, passed away on our watch. We were transporting them all that stuff was kind of in the forefront and then within the first year of my service, Unfortunately, I did experience a military sexual trauma in the barracks where I lived because we had a coed barracks at that time. I think they still have one actually. So I had two really big traumas basically right away when I got there. And so that really definitely impacted me moving forward in my career and definitely

 

Amanda Huffman  13:17

Did you with the military sexual trauma? Did you keep that to yourself? Or did you tell other like your higher ups and file the claim? How did that all happen?

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  13:26

Yes. So sort of so. So. I think most people know when it comes to military sexual trauma, that military cultural stigma, kind of it is not necessarily told to us like we're not told, hey, you can't say anything. But remember how it was we were talking about how a basic training that unit cohesion is just so strong, and that family bond is so strong, that it's kind of like an unsaid thing. So after it happened, and I actually had had ahead and drank during the incident as well. Afterwards, within the morning of when the next morning when I woke up. I didn't want to tell anybody. I was so ashamed and I felt so good. guilty that, you know, somehow it was my fault or that people would find out about it. So I didn't want to tell anybody. So of course I had, you know, TMI but I had bleeding on my head and I had to go I took a shower, wash off my head, took all of the my blankets, everything that was in my room that reminded me of what happened. I before I went to work, I walked into the dumpster and I threw it all the way because I'm, like, out of sight, out of mind, right at that point, I was thinking that way. I was like, let me go back to work and figure out like, nothing ever happened. I just wanted to forget that this ever occurred, because that was it was an NCIC. So somebody who everybody knew he'd been there for a lot longer than I had. Because like I said, I was very new to the unit, though, I really did not want anyone to find out because I felt like if everybody found out I would just, you know, because we're still such a close knit family already, and I'm trying to fit my like, fit in and trying to figure out my way into that family. I was like, I'm not gonna say anything. I went back to work and everything was fine for a little while. I mean, I was having headaches. And of course, I was starting to have issues like challenges with myself. internalized how and just because, of course, for me, I wasn't talking to anybody. I was trying to keep to myself. I wasn't telling anybody I did tell my friend that night that next morning, I told their friend that was with me prior to me going to my room. I had shared it with her. But she's the only one that knew at that point. The only reason why it came out was because I ended up getting pregnant from the internet. And so once I got pregnant, of course, because this is this is my first time, you know, I wasn't married, and I was new to the unit. I was very young. I had to tell somebody, right. I was like, I didn't know what to do. I was really afraid. So I went to my ncyc, who was actually an airman, you know, she was she was in the Air Force, interestingly, left, we were in an Army Hospital, but we also worked with Air Force and Navy as well in that hospital. So I told her and she I don't know if she's ever had that experience before had a soldier or somebody underneath her that experienced that. So she really didn't know what to do. It was kind of like shock. Like, what do I do? Let's, let's go tell the commander right now. And I was like, why I just didn't want anybody to know. I'm like, this is embarrassing, you know. And so she took me to the commander's office, we sat in his office, and they pretty much really encouraged me to tell who it was. I didn't want Tell I was like, I'm not going to tell you who it is. Because once you tell what I tell you, I feel like everyone's gonna find out. And you know, I don't want to be and I'm already feeling shamed and guilty. And I'm like, you know, feeling like some somehow I'm going to ruin everybody's all the unit cohesion. I feel like I'm going to be the one that ruins it. So I don't want anyone to find out who it was. So he he said, Okay, well, we're not going to you know, I'm not going to tell you right now. But I want you to tell me eventually. So think about it. I went home, I thought about it. He called me back into his office again. And he was like, again, really, highly encouraged me. He was pressuring me basically to tell who this person was. So eventually, I told who it was. And I mean, all hell broke loose. It was. I mean, it was one of the worst experiences that I ever experienced my life being in a situation I wasn't in a combat situation, but I felt like I was in a highly hostile and toxic environment afterwards, because everybody found out I don't know how I'm pretty sure I came from the other individual because when he got arrested, I'm pretty sure he probably told people about why he was arrested because I didn't tell anybody. The only The person I told was my commander, my NCIC, and that friend that I had told prior to it all coming out, and it was insane. Nobody would talk to me, like, I would sit in the defense, and people would get up and move, I would walk down the hall, people would turn their back. It was, I'm sorry, I was not gonna get emotional about this. But it's just unacceptable behavior. Right? And we know this now looking back, it's like, it's very hostile. It's very, it's like bullying. It's very young and appropriate behavior. So, me being in that situation I was already, I was already dealing with a lot of shame and guilt over the situation that happened. And now it's like, reinforced right by all of the behavior of the people who I used to call family. Right at that moment, though, and I was dealing with this pregnancy, right. And so I remember during this whole incident, when I was talking to the jag officer, and we were, you know, moving forward with a potential trial, because the only evidence at that point was the baby that I was carrying. And so they're like, we feel this is pretty strong. We have shrunk evidence, right that this is this occurred. I had my medical I mean, but at this time, it was probably about four weeks after the incident had occurred. So there was no other physical tangible evidence because I had thrown it away, right thinking that I was going to repress it and never talk about it again, right? very unhealthy, very unhealthy coping strategies, right. But I remember one of the investigators who was female was talking to me and asking me what what are you planning on doing with this baby? You know, I think she was just curious to know what I was planning on doing. And of course, at that point in my life, I was like, I 100% I'm going to keep it because remember how I said, the part of my origin story that was going to come into play during this discussion was that I was a product of sexual assault. So for me, I was like, no questions asked, you know, because of course, I had to give this child opportunities not the child's fault. So fast forward, because of all the hostility those experiencing in the unit, I had to request a leave of absence or a temporary you know, leave so they granted me a month to go home. So I came back to Fresno, California, I went home, got to hang out with some of the you know, some of my old friends, civilian friends, of course, right and kind of because a month is a very long time. away from the military, and you know, we have a structured environment in the military and especially because being medic, we were very mission oriented, save lives. That's what we did, right? We did the Mac our missions 234 o'clock in the morning, right? That was predominantly my whole life and my existence. So going home, it was kind of like a really huge change of pace, you know, I kind of got used to being a civilian again, right, so to speak, and being around my civilian friends. And everybody that time basically convinced me or highly encouraged me not to keep the baby. Another really big part of my storyline is that I chose not to keep the baby and part of the reason behind that was because I knew going back into my unit, I just wanted it to be gone and over with I didn't want to think about it. At that time. I really didn't even want to go to trial because I would have to discuss it and clearly the way that everybody responded to me the actions so way louder than the words, right, so I didn't want to have to rehash all of that stuff again. So after I decided not to keep the video, I went back to my unit. It was a month, you know, had taken the whole month of leaves. I went back to my unit and I was not knowing what to expect, you know, of course, they had to do a physical examination to make sure that, you know, everything was okay. You know, physically, I'm after this situation. I think I actually at that time, told them about my head injury. So I had an X ray done of my head. I mean, clearly, the way that it was handled was very probably not correct protocol, in terms of like health and terms of documentation and things like that. So I had a head injury. I mean, I had that X ray, nothing came of it. But of course, at that point, I was having a lot of sleep problems. I was having a lot of headaches, I started having headaches and things like that, because I know this now, but the time I didn't know but I had a mild traumatic brain injury. And we'll be here suffering with this TBI separately with all these things. But around this whole time, I also started using maladaptive coping strategies, right trying to further repress my trauma and and basically not talk about it and the only way for me to be able to cope with that and to cope with all the other stuff because you know, it's being that we were medics and that we are dominantly had to see a lot of war injuries. That was another additional stress, right? So there's just no stressor work environment stressor that we had to cope with. And on top of that I was little all this emotional turmoil that was happening inside of me. And they didn't have anybody to talk to you about it. Because when I came back to the unit, it was kind of like, Okay, well, now it's over. Like, basically, the jag officer sat me down and said, Now that you don't have any physical, tangible evidence, he says, I don't want to move forward with this trial, because if we do, it's just going to put you in the limelight again. And it's going to be a he said, she said thing, and he's like, I really don't feel like this is going to, you know, come to anything. So he's like, I don't want to go, I don't wanna put you through that. So let's have a tangible discussion about what what you're going to do next. Right. So of course, for me, I was like, No, I just want to forget about it. I just wanted to be over with and done with and I want to go back to normal. And so things started becoming normal. You know, when it came to like work environments and relationships with other people. I think people started forgetting about it, or maybe they just thought it was mine because, of course a lot of people in the unit did not know that. I had gone I'm pregnant. So that wasn't, you know, that wasn't out in the open. So people just all of a sudden, it was gone. He went back to work, everybody went back to work. And so I think in most people's minds, they are probably thinking, well, she was either a liar, or you know, something else happened. So of course, all that shame and guilt that I experienced with intimate now, it became this whole shame and guilt, like people probably didn't look to me like I was like, and so of course, I had to move forward with all of these things. And mission came first. Always, even after that, I still continued to do what I needed to do in order to it will save lives and do what we needed to do mission first. So yeah, I was dealing with all of that internal conflict, and not once did anybody say, hey, do you think you need to speak to somebody? You know, a, do you think that you should talk to somebody? Do you need to talk to somebody? Not once? Did anybody ever offer that to me? And so the story continues. And so I, I met my wife, my ex husband now, but at the time, you know, I got married while I was in the service. Not too long after this incident, probably within the next I want to say a couple months actually, maybe like not even a year a little bit less than a year I met my daughter's father and so I ended up getting pregnant. With my daughter, she's just 12 now, so it's been a long time, amazing child. But now imagine, you know, I'm painting this picture of the situation where I'm at. And then I get to this point where I get pregnant, you know, with with a child voluntarily, right, you know, dealing with the pregnancy. On top of that, having just had the situation that I just came out of that was an additional stressor. For me, because I page law I talked a lot about moral injuries. It's a discussion that's been happening a lot more often. I like to say moral injury does not just affect combat soldiers, it also can affect military sexual trauma survivors, domestic violence survivors, there's all different types of ways and moral injury can affect our servicemembers. And for me, deciding not to keep the child huge moral injury because one of the reasons why I decided not to keep it was because of military culture, right and that pressure to feel like I needed to fit in and then not being able to speak out about the situation that it occurred and having to keep that silent because I felt like I was betraying somebody or felt like I was not a team player if I if I really advocated for myself, more injury, right. That's it. Really big picture right of moral injury. So continuing on with with that after I had my daughter about a few months after probably about eight months after I had her I was suffering from probably depression, PTSD, all different types of challenges that I was experiencing. And I actually attempted suicide at that time. So I was active duty still really struggling with with that. And so I was hospitalized and the mental health Ward for like, I want to say, like a month and a half or two months. And during that time, of course, I'm in the hospital where I'm working my co workers, they're coming up to where I'm at in the mental health ward. Seeing me they're asking me questions, why are you here? And because I was really good at hiding a lot of the stuff that I was going through internally and nobody really knew. So they're like, this is surprising. Why are you here? So shame and guilt, right? Again, shame and guilt, embarrassment, having to try to, you know, figure out how to best explain this to people because people didn't know what I was experiencing. Fast forward. When I was being discharged from the mental health Ward, mental health provider mailman cell provider. I was trying to explain to him why this happened, what I was feeling when I was going through. And he said to me that No offense, but we don't, we don't need weak dogs in our army substantial statement being made right. And even even fast forwarding fast forward from that we don't want big dogs in our army. Then he says to me, if you continue on this risky behavior, or you can continue on self harming behaviors, we may have to diagnose you with a personality disorder. And at that time, I worked in neurology. Ironically, I was helping support servicemembers who had traumatic brain injuries during that time, and I was suffering through my own traumatic brain injury and other additional situations. And he says to me that you know, so I know personality disorder, I know that if you get that diagnosis, the pre existing condition, you'll be kicked out and you won't get benefit. So I'm like, No, I don't want that to happen to me. So I'm going to now I'm really going to stop talking, I gotta straighten up right and figure out my life because if I don't, I'm gonna lose my career and lose potentially all the benefits that I can get coming out of the service. Yeah, all of that was very eye opening to me and it really showed me My place in the military where I needed to just be mission first, think about my own personal needs. And so to advocate for myself and just, you know, repress my trauma, seriously repress it. Right? And of course, not all. I went out of control when I left the service. But that's, you know, that's continue on after I left.

 

Amanda Huffman  26:16

It's horrible because not only was the rape dealt with appropriately by like your leadership, like, once they got the name, they were like, okay, you're on your own instead of they have a start in the middle in the Air Force. I don't know. I mean, they should have connected you with the right resources instead of like, just pressuring you to get the name and then kind of leaving you off to your own. And then you obviously were having issues I mean, and then to have someone in the mental health Ward not even listen to you. And that's just really kind of scary and really sad because it shows that like, there's a lot of flaws in the system and how easy it is because you talked a lot about like the shame and the guilt like felt like it was your Fall because if you've said something you were like messing up the team and I think that's the military is like a family. And so then when you are betrayed by someone that's part of your family, it's it's really traumatic, and it's really hard to deal with. And so yeah,

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  27:16

Absolutely, yes, definitely. And it really, honestly, that really reinforced that whole remember how the beginning I didn't want to say anything, and I was trying to fit inside and not say anything to anybody in that whole situation and how it played out for me, really reinforced that whole idea that I should never have said anything, I should have just always kept it to myself, which is definitely not healthy. And that's not something that I suggest for anybody to do, especially, you know, giving advice to soldiers that are experiencing this currently. I mean, that's that's definitely not what you should do. Don't take my experience as the reason to not say anything, you know, because of course, it did not pan out well for me when I left service, not being able to speak about it not getting the support that I needed.

 

Amanda Huffman  27:57

So let's transition over to Your transition out of the military and what happened when you left?

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  28:04

because, you know, like I said, After that incident that happened with my mental, the mental health professional. That's what I relied on heavily to get through a lot of the internalized trauma that I was experiencing. So alcohol was my main thing that I used very often. And of course, alcohol is not your friend, when you aren't using it to cope with, you know, mental health challenges. And basically, self medicating is what I was doing. And of course, I had at that time, I had two small children. And so a situation happened. So during the time that I transitioned transitioning out of service, you know, how you have to go through those classes in order to help prepare you and get you ready for civilian life and civilian careers. At that time, I was married to a soldier. So my husband was in the army at that time. And so for me, I thought, Oh, I'm a dependent, right? I'll be just by me and my kids will just be dependent and we'll get health care and I won't ever have to worry about the military part of it anymore, right for me not doing activity. I mean, I was considering doing in the reserves, but at that time, I was inactive. You know, the inactive reserves. So I'm like, you know what, I'm just gonna write this out and just go to school. And that will be my primary focus. So this is kind of before the coping strategies got really out of hand. So I was kind of pretty much in a place of, okay, you know, so I'm able to transition out, I'm going to be a dependent. I'm going to go to school and everything's planned out for me. Well, during this time, I transitioned out my husband at that time, we had gotten stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia. So we were in Virginia, he got in some serious trouble in the military, and I don't want to put his business out there. So I'm not going to speak too much on the details of it. But he was accused of military sexual trauma, though. I mean, you could just you can just see where I'm going with this, this whole generational curse, I felt like was hanging over my head, you know, from my origin story to what happened to me in the service to now I'm like, I'm in a situation where I'm back again, at square one, shame, guilt, embarrassment, right, because everybody found out about this situation. And of course, at that time, I was a military dependent during this time, I got deployment papers. Usually when you're an inactive reserve status, you don't get deployed. I was like, Oh, well, I'm not going to get activated. So while we were going through this potential trial looming over our heads, I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do because I didn't pay too much attention to the transition classes on resume building all those things, because I thought I was going to be okay. I was like, just finish school and I had already enrolled in school. So I didn't pay attention to that stuff, thinking it didn't apply didn't apply to me. And so I kind of breeze through that without really paying attention too much. And then I found myself in a situation where I know I don't have a job, right? Am I my credentials, my EMT, medic school, you get your EMT license that expired because I didn't do my, you know, continuing educational credit. So I'm like, Okay, now what am I supposed to do? So we have this trial, I get these deployment papers to activate to go to Afghanistan, right in the middle of all this. I have my two children. I don't have a family care plan set up for my children. Then I get this phone call from my adoptive mother, the mother that it was that raised me. Her and I were not on good speaking terms. We you know, it's a very complicated situation with us. So me and her weren't Really on speaking terms at that point, but she had she had her aorta ruptured during this time. So they basically called me and told me that I needed to get down to California to say goodbye to her. Basically, I have this trial over my head. I have this continuing shame and guilt, because now people on the base wouldn't talk to me. Like I was basically me, my children were basically secluded in our onbase house because of this situation that was occurring. And my mother had an order rupture, so I had to get to California. So they postpone the trial, I was able to fly on Red Cross home to California. I got my deployment papers differ because of the situation that you know, fam family circumstances, basically, I went home and she actually ended up surviving. So she didn't pass away. But it was a couple weeks of not knowing. And then I had to fly back to Virginia to deal with this, the whole situation that happened. And so during this situation, for me, the impact that it had on me was that he when he got arrested, and he was put in the break, I didn't have any money right that time because I wasn't working. And so the jag officer that was in charge of the case, asked if I can get out of court For me, my children could have money to survive because none of us we were I didn't work, the commander of the base had the opportunity to apportion the money to me and my kids and decided not to because of the egregious situation that you know, that he had put us in, which, of course, looking back on it. Now I can say to myself, none of that was my fault. None of that was my doing. But again, it's like this whole punishment situation with a military, basically criminalizing a victim. This is this. Now this is probably the third time this has occurred to me, you know, so I really put the military and the veteran services in a really bad light for me. So of course, it makes sense. I did not Access Services at the VA because I didn't feel like they were very trustworthy at that time. So I didn't I didn't access services. So at that time, I wasn't diagnosed with PTSD or with TBI or any of the things that I was struggling through. I was never diagnosed because I wasn't going to the VA for services. I had to move off base. And at that time, because my mom's health situation, I didn't move back to California. I stayed in Virginia at that time thinking I could just figure it out as I go. I'm strong and resilient, I tough. I've gotten through worse. I'm like, I can do this. And so the only thing that really at that point was really holding me together was my children, because I had to keep myself together, right? Because I had to care for these two young children that were in my care. And so I sold my vehicle just like to get a place to stay. The military didn't help me, the only thing that they did was basically move my furniture to another location of my choosing. They never asked me during this time, do you need support? Do you need someone to talk to you have you access your veterans benefits? So at that time, I hadn't been to the VA to access my own benefits never got support. So my story is like this huge timeline of falling in between the cracks, every single section of my situation probably could have been prevented, probably could have been stopped before I did my whole spiral out of control situation. And it never was because it was never identified because nobody ever took the time to find out. Have you access to benefits have you own? Do you need support? Do you need someone to talk to you? So I could just see how all of this was very, very preventable, but at the time in my life, I didn't see it. See, all I could see was surviving by any means necessary, right? That was where I was at that moment in my life. And so survival for me was reverting back to my old coping strategies that had helped me in the military. Alcohol, right. And so, at this point, I'm thinking to myself, the only thing that's keeping me in check is my children. So my spiral happened because my children at that time, I was trying to find a job trying to figure out what I was going to do to survive. And my mother in law at that time, offered to take the children temporarily until I could get myself back on my feet. So it was only a temporary thing was only supposed to be for a few weeks or whatnot. Until I find a job. I was having difficulty finding jobs because I wasn't able to access the VA benefits. I had no idea what was what was there before in terms of resources for me, of course, I know now that there's so many resources that VA offers, but at that time, I wasn't accessing the services, so I had no idea that they were there. So I'm trying to figure out how to get restaurant jobs and to do to just to survive. So of course, I reverted back to my old techniques of coping. And when the children weren't there, I got into like drugs and alcohol so I was into like other substances sale of alcohol because at that time, I had gotten a job in a restaurant restaurant and I'm not saying that they're all like this. But oftentimes you're connecting with other people who maybe do that kind of thing, right. And so I was exposed to this. And so now this became my new coping strategy to the point where I got myself arrested. And now I'm finding myself in a whole nother situation that I have to try to get out of. And so you can just see where the story is going. It was, it was really bad. I was in a really, really bad situation. I mean, even I was even to a point where I overdosed. And I had a stroke, a physical stroke, just very out of control. And now that I've realized that there are resources available, such as veterans treatment, during that time that I was going through all these things, I was never identified as a veteran. So I was going through the court systems, I was being channeled through civilian rehab facilities and treatment modalities. I had a very difficult time connecting, because they didn't, it wasn't it didn't speak to my trauma, didn't speak to the situations that I was going to. So it wasn't very helpful, right. I wasn't getting the support that I really needed. From the VA or from anywhere else, I think one of the primary reasons why I wasn't identified as a veteran was probably because I was female, because during the time that I was going through the court system, looking back, they had the treatment court, in effect, it was available there, but it was never provided to me as a resource. And probably because they didn't, they assume that they didn't assume that I was a veteran, right? And so I never I never got identified during that situation. So I continued to fall through these cracks, right, and these, these little gaps in services, and to the point where they arrested again, and again, three times just have control. So basically, that was my rock bottom. It was completely just not character of me because I mean, before I joined the military, I was never in trouble. I was a straight A student, I was you know, all of the all of these promising things that were in line for my life, right and my career and everything else. And then I'm sitting in a situation where I'm at this rock bottom, and at that point, I had no idea how I was going to get out.

 

Amanda Huffman  36:52

When you talked about like not being identified as a veteran, I'm sure it's because you are a woman and the people you know when people find high care, veteran And you're like, Yeah, I was in the military. They're like, well asked me like, what does your husband do? And I'm like, No, like, I was in the military. And they're like, Well, what does your husband do? I'm like, Who cares? I think I don't understand the question of like, like, no, like, I understand like, what a military response is and what a veteran is. And I I'm both women are the highest in homelessness, and they're the highest. And I think that one of the main reasons you just pinpointed it is that people don't give them the services that they need. Because they assume Well, they're they're a woman, and then they don't realize they're a veteran. And like you said, all those they weren't connecting with you because it wasn't a military resource thatwould have probably helped you a lot more. 

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  37:44

Exactly. Exactly. You pinpoint. I mean, that's what I'm saying. This whole my whole timeline of situations that I found myself in every single last one of them was very preventable. I mean, that eventually we'll get into the discussion about what I do now. But that's kind of where it's like, advocates need to be able to identify the gaps in these services in these areas right or because too often veterans right and female veterans they can find themselves homeless or struggling. And if they're reverting to maladaptive coping strategies such as alcohol for me, eventually it turned into other substances other than alcohol. But those are very common coping strategies for veterans who don't know how to speak about their trauma who don't know how to identify what's happening internally, maybe the lack of education around for me traumatic brain injury, I had no idea what was happening to me, I questioned myself often like what is wrong with me, often all the time, like, Why can I get my life together? Lo and behold, and no idea that I was actually experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury that was never treated, it was never diagnosed was never identified. And I think one of the primary reasons for that too, was during service. They assumed because I wasn't I had never been in a combat support, I mean, a combat area, where you know, most of the time when you think of two Medic brain injuries you think of blasts or war related injuries, right? You don't think a lot about domestic violence or about military sexual trauma, right about female TBI. There's very little research done on female traumatic brain injuries and the connections between that and some of the correlating symptoms that I had going forward. Because oftentimes, maladaptive coping strategies such as alcohol are the go to for people who aren't diagnosed with those conditions. Like for me, I was having a lot of cognitive processing issues. I was having a lot of memory issues I got in trouble with during work often falling asleep on the job because, of course, sitting here dealing with this traumatic brain injury, I had no idea that I was experiencing this. Nobody else knew I was experiencing this I never identified because I wasn't a combat soldier. So it wasn't those questions weren't asked. And I'm chronically remember I was telling you I worked in a TBI clinic. Currently they have a TBI and rehabilitative program in launched Germany. I actually helped implement that. So right before it got implemented, I was in the research and development areas. I mean, I was taking the notes but generally speaking, they were trying to get funding For this rehabilitative program meanwhile I'm over here, uh suffering myself Miss TBI, and I'm and we're talking about combat related TBI and how we can best support our combat soldiers that are coming through our clinic. And I was totally dismissed, right, the opportunity to support me at the time was totally dismissed because I wasn't a combat soldier. And so that's also one of the things that we have to think about is that these don't just affect combat servicemembers. They also affect people like military sexual trauma survivors that maybe are experiencing these things and nobody knows. And it makes you feel very invisible. Like for me, going through the motions, even through the treatment courts and stuff. I felt just so invisible. Like I wasn't like people didn't couldn't see me. Like, it's like, I'm here. I need support, but like, nobody could see, like the size of all the things that could have could have happened, right. And all the supports that could have been given, right. They weren't given at that time. So yeah, so identifying those gaps is key. It's very crucial, right to to helping support female veterans going forward.

 

Amanda Huffman  40:56

Yeah. And so today, you're helping female veterans so what was the thing that turned your life around and change you and you were able to find the help that you needed to get where you are today?

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  41:08

Yeah. So the last time that I found myself in jail, you know, it was I can't I thought I hit rock bottom a few times. I wasn't sure what rock bottom look like for me because I mean, you think having a stroke? That's rock bottom, right? No, I didn't. I kept going, right? going to jail. That's right by them, right? No, I kept going. I kept I kept trying. Because I mean, for me, that was my survival techniques. Right. I was reverting back to what I thought was working for me, because avoidance works very well for people, right? Because you don't have to think about the trauma. You don't have to sit down and actually face it. So the last time I was in jail, I thought I hit rock bottom. I thought this is it. And for me, it was because, you know, and even during jail, I met some phenomenal ladies. I mean, you wouldn't you wouldn't think that this would be a good experience. And looking back, you know, for me, it was it was a learning opportunity. And I was able to identify the gaps that happened to me and while I was in jail, I met some really fun nominal ladies who, of course, were not veterans, you know, because I wasn't I wasn't with other veterans I was with regular civilians, just learning their stories and talking about talking about their experiences and their traumas really put a lot of things in perspective for me, since I was little, I always kind of wanted to be in the helping field and I wanted to support other people. And that's one of the reasons why I chose to be by chose medic, um, as my job in the military was that I just didn't know how I wanted to help people, right, what capacity that looked like for me, and during that time, that's what that's what helped me look like for me, but when I learned when I was in these situations is that there's just so many people out there that needs support and need help. And at that time, when I was thinking about my own situation, I was like, I cannot let this be the end of my story. Like this cannot be this cannot be what I was created for all the experiences that I experienced, even just putting in perspective, my origin story, right when I was born, all those things. I made a really conscious decision, the last time that I was arrested that that my situation was not going to end here. If I was going to change my situation around, I was going to get support. And I was going to use these learning opportunities, learning the things that I had learned through my experiences, right? I was going to use them to better support others. And so after I was released from jail that last time, I didn't say this, but in between this time, I had gotten my children back in between the times when I was arrested, so I was homeless. During a lot of this, this different points of incarceration for me, I was kind of homeless, and for me homeless look like couchsurfing on people's couches. So it wasn't like we were out in the streets sleeping on park benches. I mean that that did happen to me at times too. But when I had my children, I was trying, by any means necessary to make sure that we were safe and that we were in a situation with a roof over our head. So during this time, I took my children to California and drop them off with my mother. Thankfully, I had that that resource available to me. So she took my children temporarily and enrolled him in school while I went to you know, jail for the last time that I went. And so I got out of jail. I knew my children were already at that time, I petitioned the judge to allow me to move to California because I wanted to get my life back together. And I felt like where I was, it was not I wasn't going to get that right, I needed to separate myself from the situation that I was in. I moved back to California, I was reunited with my children immediately went to the VA, and I got enrolled in school. So within maybe like, two months or so I had started my bachelor's program in sociology with a background of military so I have my minor in military operations. So I went back to school, I started a work study program, I actually had to pay my way. So I found out about the work study program through the VA when I went to school using my GI Bill. There wasn't any opportunities in Fresno to do work studies for veterans. They didn't they only had opportunities that maybe like the local colleges, but they were already filled. So there wasn't really an opportunity there. So I'm like, I need to find a place for me to work because I probably wouldn't be able to get a traditional job because I was still on probation at that time. Right? So I'm like, I need to figure out how I'm supposed to survive. So I got to work study job. I paid my I had to call the add the Employment Development Department and I knew that they had a Veteran Resource office there. So I'm like, I had to pitch myself. I had to say, Hey, you know, do you need a work study student because I'm here to help and I want to support veterans in any way I can. So they created a position for me there as a work study students. I was actually the first one that was there in Fresno in Fresno, California. And I was able to help other veterans find resources. So ironically, I still had an Access Services besides my GI Bill. So at that time, I didn't have disability. I had no idea what was going on for me. I just knew I was on this for progression that I couldn't stop how to keep going. There's momentum, right? I was going to school, I was helping other veterans find resources. I was helping other veterans connected jobs. I was doing the resumes for them. I was doing workshops and resume building. Mind you I'm over here, nobody knows this. But I'm over here struggling trying to figure out how I'm going to survive just having dealt with all of these things. And one of the one of the people that I connected with at a at a stand down, you know, because I was helping, of course, I was volunteering with a stand down at that time. She was like, Well, why don't you go get disability benefits. I'm like, I don't know, I don't know why I don't I maybe I should, maybe I need to go to the VA health care. So I went to the VA and I got, you know, I went and got my CMP evaluations, I did all the things I needed to do to get my benefits and I was able to get my benefit. And that's when I was officially diagnosed with chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and some of the related symptoms that I was experiencing, like the nightmares, and all, you know, all of the collective experiences that you have the flashbacks, all those things, and it really put things into perspective for me, because I, like I said, I continually asked myself, What is wrong with me, you know, not necessarily what was happening to me or what developmentally was happening to me or what I was, you know, what had happened to me, it was always about what is wrong with me. And so having that diagnosis and having that understanding of life isn't over, you know, you're able to, to cope and figure out ways to now learn how to survive right with this diagnosis. And I had to teach myself and learn all those techniques. So that was kind of like the factor that kind of helped me do it. Complete 180 right. So once I got support, I got enrolled in school I just continued on and never stopped. So I finished my bachelor's, I enrolled in my master's program. You know, I currently have a master's in social work. I went to the University of Southern California, and I'm actually newly enrolled in a Ph. D. program. So I'm getting my PhD in psychology now. But yeah, so it was it was a continuing onward motion. And I just made a conscious decision that my storyline was not going to end here. And I was going to just continue on, and I haven't stopped since.

 

Amanda Huffman  47:30

Yeah. And what's really powerful is how you you are giving out resources to veterans and you weren't using them. But yeah, you were helping veterans and you were serving them. And I think that's something that I found is like a common theme is that when you're able to give back, it can like help you either get you to the right place, or you in the right mindset or connect you with the right people. And so it's really powerful that you were able to like make that switch, get out of the situation you were in and moved to California. And then make all all these things happen. And it's a testament that you like didn't give up. Because it could have been really easy, but it just been like, well, this is my life. And you, didn't you change you that shows what kind of person you are and the perseverance that you have. And so let's talk a little bit about invisible combat because I don't want to I know we're a little longer than my episodes, but you talk about invisible combat so that people know what you're doing. And we're recording this in March, but this won't go live until the summer so I'll make sure to put updates of notes because I'm sure a lot will happen between now.

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  48:37

Yeah, because we're always bored or and moving right. It's always about forward progression of but yes, so invisible combat. So once I graduated with my Master's in social work, which was actually just last August, I just finished my master's not too long ago, and I did a lot of volunteer work in the schools working with kiddos, doing therapy with kids with high risk children, you know, and an adolescent but my primary passion has always been the veteran population. Because, you know, because of the experiences that I had, and I don't want those experiences to happen to others, right, I want to be able to help me do my part and identifying the gaps and those those issues, right. So I started invisible combat as a healing journey for myself, because I realized even in Social Work school, we talk a lot about self care, we talk a lot about identifying your own trauma, right and about moving forward. So we don't allow it called countertransference. Right, where we, we allow other people's stressors, other people's issues to like to reflect on ours. So I'm like, I need to do a little bit of personal healing for myself, because I've never actually really sat down and healed from the stuff that I experienced. When I started that whole progression. I just kept going and never stopped. But I never really stopped to think how did all of this affect me? So once I graduated, I'm like, Well, now now what do I do you know with myself, and so I started invisible combat. It's a do basically Instagram and Facebook. I just started sharing about my experiences and putting, like the story that I'm sharing with you now. I just started talking about it and but not just talking about it, but really using it as like a almost like a case vignette, like a theoretical with a theoretical lens with a military cultural lens, putting all of these experiences that I had into perspective, hopefully to make other people feel less alone or to like, you know, just to help maybe other people identify some of these gaps that I experienced, so that we can collectively and collaboratively figure out how to not have this happen to other people. And so like I said, it became a healing journey for myself. But as I started sharing about my own experiences, people started reaching out to me and asking me more questions about my experiences, you know, VA professionals, other people who have mental health professionals started asking me, you know, my opinion on things and started wanting to know more about my story. And other individuals such as, like, veteran, you know, female veterans came to me and said, Hey, I feel less alone because you're sharing these things. I didn't know anybody else was experiencing these things. And it's funny how we're in this society now, where mental health is such a huge topic, everyone's talking about it, but people can still feel alone and isolated, even with all This discussion that we're having, and putting that human perspective on it to remind people that, okay, we're humans before we're soldiers. And we're humans after we're soldiers, and any experience that you have any reaction that you have from trauma, this is a human reaction. And we can do we can, we can get through this, right, we just have to progressively figure out how to keep board moving. And so invisible combat became that for me, and so right now, locally, we don't have a lot of supports for female veterans, specifically here in Fresno. So this is kind of a new thing that I'm starting to develop. I started before all of this situation happen. I know right now we're in March. So we have a lot of things going on in the world right now in the nation. And so meetings are kind of put on hold. But before all this happened, I started I was starting to form a committee of female veterans here locally, because I really wanted to focus on inter collaboration between the organizations here in Fresno, I want to develop mental health workshops for locally for some of the female veterans here, because we don't have a lot of that here, locally. And so some of those, those are some of the things that I want to focus on here. So besides my blogging, I'm doing I'm actually my website is currently in development, I'm going to be putting a lot of research that I do a lot of my experiences blogging, you know, like I was saying all this stuff that I share on Instagram and Facebook, I want to expand on that, you know, on my website, and then also do, I've been doing a little bit of empowerment events for female veterans. It's on hold right now. But I have a lot of plans for when this when this all blows over, hopefully, right. And I'm going to have a lot of other empowering events just to make people feel like they're less alone less than visible, that you matter, your voice matters, your story matters. And it doesn't have to end, even if you've been surviving by any means necessary. None of that matters. None of that defines you. You are fully capable of being resilient, you know, and I just I think that community and social networking and social connections, and being able to share these stories in a safe environment are just really important to healing.

 

Amanda Huffman  52:49

Yes, that's so true. I mean, that's what the podcast is all about. So I'm so excited that we connected and I'm so excited that I got to hear your story. It's it's powerful. And I think that it's not surprising that people are connecting with you, because you're making changes. And you you, they can relate to you because you went rock bottom, and then you came back. And so I really appreciate you taking time to share your story and to share your experience. But I have one more question. So I always in the interviews with what advice would you give young ladies who are looking to join the military? So what would you say to women who are looking to join the military?

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  53:30

So that's tough because I think a lot of people question me like, what I tell people not to join the military now that I know all of these things that have happened to me are now that all the experiences that I had, and I wouldn't tell them not to join. I mean, I remember how I mentioned earlier on that I had that really great experience with leadership. There are people that have really good experiences in the military. Basically, my first My best advice would be just to know your resources to to know yourself to always show up authentically as yourself to self advocate that cuz there are resources out there. And there's there are people who care. And there are people who will support you, even if you have to tell a few people, right, even if you have to figure out a way to support with the right people, because not everybody is toxic. Just because you've had some bad experiences with people does not mean that every experience is going to be bad, you know. So those are important. And then also to have you ever experienced trauma or anything ever happens to you. Just remember that that shame that guilt that you're experiencing, it does not belong to you, it is not yours, do not own that release that give it back to who it belongs to. Even with no toxic leadership, all of those things there are like I said, there's people that care, just know your resources and know you know, know your support and have those readily available to you, in case you ever need them.

 

Amanda Huffman  54:40

Yeah, and I'll put resources in the show notes. But you should know if you are a sinner, you can always reach out to me via email and you can connect with me on social media and I can help you if I can't help you I can find someone who will So know that you are not alone and you have support and so yeah, I think the military has A lot of great things, but it is really easy to get isolated and to feel like you're alone. And so if you feel that way, know that you're not alone and that you have people to reach out to. Absolutely. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate that you took your time out of your day to do this interview. And I think it's really going to help people just to hear your story and to know your experience

 

Kim Sciutto-Bailey  55:23

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate this. And I'm so glad we connected, you know, fellow Fresnan, right? I'm really glad. 

 

Amanda Huffman  55:38

Thank you for listening to this week's episode of women of the military podcast. Do you love all things women on the military podcast become a subscriber so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. It really helps people find the podcast and helps the podcast to grow. Are you still listening you can be a part of the mission of telling the stories of military women By joining me on patreon@patreon.com slash women of the military or you can order my book women in the military on Amazon every dollar helps to continue the work I am doing. Are you a business owner? Do you want to get your product or service in front of the women of the military podcast audience get in touch with a woman of the military podcast team to learn more. All the links on how you can support women on the military podcast are located in the show notes. Thanks again for listening and for your support.