Regina Vasquez served honorably in the United States Marine Corps from 1998-2002 as a Motor Transportation Specialist. She came from a generation of family members who proudly served in our nation’s military. I, in her own words, “I couldn’t allow the boys to have all the fun, I had to join!” She followed her father’s footsteps and chose the Marine Corps. She is the first female in her family to have served.
After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Regina learned she needed to find something that can help her cope with her inner demons. After 3 years at Texas State University pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Psychology, it all came crashing back. She tried to commit suicide.
For eleven long years Regina had been silent about what happened to her. She was raped while serving in the Corps. Before she could report what happened, she was pulled aside by senior ranking enlisted and told involved she would be killed if she talked. It was only after a series of triggering events and stresses that the buried experience became too much to bear.
Today, as a self-taught artist, her art is helping her cope with those inner demons through photography, painting and drawing. She is the founder of Fatigues Clothesline and an advocate for military sexual trauma survivors. She focuses on a message of self-care to help heal, but also as an everyday healthy life strategy. She helps other military sexual trauma survivors cope and deal with their inner demons by expressing their story through the art on a military piece of clothing. Fatigues Clothesline has been displayed in the Nation Veteran Art Museum in their, Radical Vulnerability and Overlooked/Looked Over galleries.
She was part of a major documentary called “The Invisible War” where she spoke out for the first time against military sexual trauma and demanded the military take all rape investigations out of the chain of command. “The Invisible War” won multiple awards at the 2013 Sundance film fest, one being Best Audience Award and it was nominated for an Oscar. As a result of her involvement in this project, she helped draft legislation called the Stop Act, HR3435. While this legislation has not passed as drafted, elements have been incorporated into more recent legislation and it continues to influence the conversation about the handling of sexual assault in our nation’s military.
Regina also performed for the Austin Telling project along with 7 other cast members. One of her major achievements besides her children and her passion for art, she was awarded, along with 12 other important Latinas, the 2014 Fun, Fearless Latina Award from Cosmopolitan for Latinas.
Regina is a fully disabled veteran. Due to her having post-traumatic stress disorder, she finds it hard to work alongside others due to the many symptoms PTSD encompasses. Art has been a huge healing factor for her. It helped her come out and tell her story about the assault. Not only is she able to use it to help her work through her symptoms but it also allows her to provide more for her Family.
When you decide to purchase one of her works of art, she hopes you will love it as much as she loved creating it. You will not only gain a piece of work done by her but you will be seeing into her heart. Thank you for stopping by and for your support. Semper Fi!