Born: 29 Palms California Marine Corps Base,1978 U.S. Marine Corps, 1998-2002
From the Artist:
I served in the United State Marine Corps from 1998-2002 as a Motor Transportation Specialist. I was stationed at Okinawa, Japan, Camp Foster 99-2000 3rd FSSG and then Oceanside, California from 2000-2002, Del Mar 1st FSSG.
I was raised by a single father in Omaha, Nebraska. My father is also a Marine Corps Veteran. I grew up on the Corps values, Honor, Courage and Commitment. During my teenage years I ended up living with my mother in San Diego, California and graduated out of Kearny Senior High 1997. After graduating, I moved to my mother’s in Virginia Beach, Virginia where I decided to join the military.
Joining the Marine Corps not only helped me with college but I married the best thing that ever happened to me in my life, my husband John. We met while I was stationed at Okinawa, Japan and married in 2000 April 25th. Twelve years later we have five beautiful/handsome and amazing children together, four boys and one girl.
I joined the Marine Corps because it was familiar to me and because I wanted to serve my country with honor. Now I’m not trying to say the other branches folks didn’t serve with honor, but because my father is a Marine Veteran, I wanted to honor my family by choosing the Marine Corps.
After the Corps, I decided to attend Texas State University and chose to major in Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Psychology. Only in my senior year of college did I realize I have a passion, a passion for photography and helping bring social justice to those who have been made silent in the military after experiencing military sexual trauma. Since then I have gone back to the roots of my existence by listening to music, taking photos and painting.
Ansel Adams said, “No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” I believe in Ansel Adams and this particular quote because it is in my photographs and the way I edit them to look is where I find my peace. The subjects I chose, the piece of nature I photograph helps me remember how beautiful nature and the human spirit is.
I am also a survivor of military rape, gender discrimination and sexual harassment. As a women who served in our United States Marine Corps, I am looking forward to the day all women who serve our great nation will be respected and the appropriate justice served.
My first two years in the Corps was miserable, but the last two years, my CO [commanding officer] put the love of the Corps back in my heart. Because of him I learned our command is only as strong as our CO.
About Fatigues Clothesline:
Semper Fi! Every time I meet a fellow service member I always try and greet them with Semper Fi. My name is Regina Vasquez and I am the Founder of Fatigues Clothesline. I have served honorably for four years in our United States Marine Corps, daughter of a Marine Corps Veteran and Wife of a Marine Corps Veteran I am proud to have earned the title and live the faithful way.
Unfortunately, while serving I have experienced many things I pray no one ever has too but I learned later on, I was not alone. The only way I was able to start talking about my experience was through art. It took me eleven years and April of 2010 I finally let it out, I participated in a local Clothesline Event and as I watch spectators look over my t-shirt it felt as if I was getting the justice I deserved. I was finally being heard but in a discreet way. I even pretended to be a spectator just so I could discuss with some how they felt after reading over my t-shirt. One person said to me, "I can't believe this happens in the military."
After the Clothesline event what that person told me never left my mind until one day, I came up with the idea of a military style clothesline with the help of other female veterans who experienced the same thing. I ended up naming the military style clothesline Fatigues Clothesline.
I wanted to bring this form of art therapy to many others who survived what I did so it could bring them a sense of justice by sharing in a discreet way their story.
Since my marriage to my husband I never spoke of what happened, I may have hinted here and there but never shared what happened to me. He only knew of the sexual harassment and gender discrimination I had endured but never the rape. When he learned of it, I felt a sense of relief. Now I was able to share why I acted a certain way, it helped him understand why I acted a certain way and we both were able to learn together and cope with my now Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to Military Sexual Trauma.
Fatigues Clothesline helped bring justice, a sense of closure and it brought my family together.
With every vulnerability comes empowerment and with empowerment comes radical healing.