by Bethanny, United States Coast Guard
I was a 21 years old MK3. A Captain (O-6) in my unit solicited the crew for babysitters for his three young children. Myself and an E-3 volunteered to do so. Alternating weekends as our duty schedule allow us we’ll take turns babysitting. This went on for over a year and I grew to love the children, his wife became my mother away from home and I was sad when I received orders to another unit and had to leave the children. On my last day of babysitting I was at his house watching TV, the kids were already upstairs asleep when his wife and him came home from a wedding. The Captain was slightly intoxicated. His wife went upstairs to check on the children while the Captain remained downstairs with me. Since it was my last day I wanted to say a proper goodbye to his wife so I stayed downstairs for her to come back down. The Captain said he has something for me in the kitchen, I assumed it was a good-bye gift or something so I followed him into the kitchen where he threw me against the wall, ripped my clothes and raped me. As soon as I could I ran out of that house and drove home. I never said good bye to his wife.
I don’t know why I did not report it. I was an E-4 and he was of higher ranked and very liked and well respected in the fleet. I also were PCSing to a unit within 03 weeks and he was set to retire in the upcoming year or two. I knew that I wouldn’t see him again after these 03 weeks. The next few weeks were difficult though and he was on my case for everything. He ended up giving me a negative page 7 for being late, something a man of his rank would never had taken the time to do if it was any other situation, the two shipmates that I car pooled in and arrived at the same time as me were given a free pass. I knew that he was only trying to ruin my credibility in case I ever chose to report what happened.
I spent the next three years on a 210′. His wife sent me an email telling me how the children misses me and how I am always welcomed at their home. I deleted that email. Sometime during that tour I read an article that the Captain retired and quotes from others on how a wonderful human being that he was and how he always put his crew first. It just went on saying how a great person and leader that he was. You know, typical words of praise that someone gets when they retire. I ran to the head and vomited.
I ended up advancing to MK2 and my contract was up. I spoken to the Chief, my mentor at the time, who were encouraging me to re-enlist and stay in the Coast Guard. He saw how passionate I was about the Coast Guard and my job and felt that I could go really far in the service. I think it was a shocker to all when I declined to renew my contract.
What I did not allow anyone to know is how I felt inside. How I go in complete panic mode when I see a man with a Silver Eagle. How I wake up each night from a nightmare that I am back at the Captain’s house being raped. I knew that I needed to leave the Coast Guard to get help and get my sanity back. The summer of 2009 I left the Coast Guard and made my way home to where I grew up in Southern Connecticut. I enrolled in the VA system and sought counseling for Military Sexual Trauma. I attend support groups in New London hosted by the Military Rape Crisis Center and hear cadets and other Active Duty Coast Guardsman on why they too can not report their assaults. I applied for disability compensation and was denied because I did not report it and therefore there is no record that it ever happened. Everyday has been a battle just to live and often I am barely making it.
I do not regret leaving the Coast Guard. I knew that I had no other choice. I do not regret not reporting. the rape. Remember how a wonderful person and leader that this Captain was said to be? Why would anyone believe an E-4 instead of him? I do miss his children though and his wife and fear for his daughters. I just wish that there was a better system in place where we could feel safer to report it. I am now married and have a child of my own and just trying to get my life back together but the pain from the rape is still there and probably would forever be.