Coast Guard recruit molested at Tracen Cape May, 2011

United States Coast Guard

I joined the Coast Guard this year. During my time at basic, a company commander from another company molested me. I was at the squad bay alone. I came back from a dental appointment to find that my company was not there. Panic struck cause I knew that my company should have been there and didn’t know what to do.  A lone recruit walking around Tracen Cape May looking for her company would have caused me tons of problems. Instead I assumed that they might be outside doing some IT or something and be back soon.

I walked through the male squad bay to the women squad bay.  Between the two-squad bays there is a small hallway. I was walking quite fast to the women squad bay. I bumped into a company commander from another company and froze. He had the reputation of being the meanest.  My mouth was numb from some dental work and could barely be understood when talked. He asked me why I was running indoors. I apologized. He said that I talk “like a retard.”  I explained to him that I just had dental work done and he asked to open my mouth so I did. He put his hands in and said, “You should take care of your teeth more. Having a cavity is lack of self control.” I nodded.  He ended up pushing me to the wall unzipping my ODU pants and started to finger me.  I did not tell him to stop. I did not run away. I froze and felt that I could see from afar what was happening. With one hand he was fingering me and the other hand he was touching himself. After it was all done he put his finger in my mouth and made me taste myself. He said that it was going to make the numbing all go away.

I did not report it. Reporting anything at basic training is close to impossible. You don’t have that trusting relationship with anybody.  I felt gross. I felt disgusted. I felt like a slut for getting sexually aroused. I could not even take a shower until the evening.

I still think about all that happened. I read the other stories on here. I am sad to see that I am not the only one that been abused this way.  Thank you for reading this. It helped me to be able to share my story.

28 comments

  1. I am sorry that you had to go through this.

    Just because you had a sexual response to it does not make it any less severe what he did. Also by not saying no it still does not make it okay. Remember that rape/sexual assault that unless you have a clear YES then it is rape. In the freeze, fight, flight response you froze and that is perfectly normal.

    I hope that you are getting the help that you need now. Remember that it is NOT your fault.

  2. This is horrible. I am thinking back on my own time at basic training and what I would have done if that happened to me and I can’t imagine one person that I felt comfortable enough to tell. Even walking by yourself to medical could have gotten you in a A LOT of trouble. That is something many people do not realize. I am so sorry that you had to go through this. You are very supportive and loved on here. Talk to Panayiota if you want counseling. She can get you help and the Coast Guard won’t ever know about it cause counseling in the Coast Guard is basically a career killer if not directly then certainly when you advance in rank and apply for security clearances that you won’t be able to get. So she can help you bypass all that and get you the help that you need. Have you thought of reporting it now? Most men who do those things don’t just target one women and usually have many victims.

  3. The man who did this to you needs to be punished. I am very concerned about how many victims he has. He needs to be stopped. He is sick and will not stop without some kind of intervention. I cannot imagine one more person going through something like this. Please consider turning him in to the authorities. You did nothing wrong. He took advantage of a scared basic training recruit, when you were at your most vulnerable. The fight or flight response is real. I froze too. His actions are the ultimate example of taking advantage of power and control. I am disgusted by this animal and he needs to be removed from his position of power so that it does not continue.

    1. The man and his command need to be examined…who the heck is running that place where a CC thinks he can do that to a recruit?

      1. Well unfortunately no one will ever be held responsible if the victim does not come forward with a name so an investigation can take place. It is sad that a victim is told to keep her mouth shut in fear of her career. I am personally disturbed that this young lady knows each week many young women get off the bus each Tuesday night and is not protecting them by coming forward. Perhaps one day she will encounter one of her shipmates that had the same unfortunate fate & they can come forward together, seems like our society needs numbers ,but until then this arrogant egotistic piece of crap will continue to do whatever he thinks he can get away with. And before everyone jumps all over me I am no way blaming the victim, I am the first to admit I could not possibly understand the dramatic effect rape has on one but this victim does have the power to at least get an investigation going & protect other young ladies. But then again, is she really the first victim so why haven’t any others come forward?? Maybe cause they are all told to keep their mouths shut in fear of their careers.

    2. It comes right down to this…there is nothing that can be done unless she comes forward. It takes guts and a belief that what she is doing is right. Not everyone can do it and it is hard. Very hard. But I come back to my first statement, nothing can be done unless she comes forward. There are Victim Avocates that are there to help along with EAP if the command is not trusted. All reports of sexual assualts are investigated by CGI, not the command.

  4. Shipmate,

    I am sorry that you had to go through this. It is NOT your fault. You did absolutely nothing wrong. If you want to report him or get counseling or want to talk please email or call me. You are not alone and there is a lot of support here.

    Panayiota

  5. I am sorry that you had to go through this. I was raped at basic training in the Coast Guard many years ago. I did report it and it ended my career before it ever began. If there is anything that I can help you with please let me know. I can be reached at stacey@stopmilitaryrape.org

    1. this is not the right thing to do, you should report everything all the time, do not give this information out. nothing can happen to you for reporting abuse or harrasment.

      1. I was raped by a very well liked, very well respected Coast Guard officer. I was at the time an E-4, did not have the same social power as he did. Prior to my rape I have witnessed a non-rate report sexual harassment and sexual assault against an E-5. They swept the allegations under the rug, made the victim look like she was crazy and discharged her. Nothing happened to him. Not even a negative page 7.

        When I was raped I knew that nobody was going to believe me over this officer. I didn’t report it and therefore never had to deal with the trauma of being called crazy or a liar. I knew that I was going to PCSing within weeks and that after that I’ll probably never have to see my perpetrator ever again. Why will the Coast Guard punish a man with the training, rank and doing a vital job in the Coast Guard because a woman like myself, an E-4 that the Coast Guard did not invest as much time and money into and am disposable, was raped? It should not be that way but story after story from survivors on here and survivors that I know in real life shows just that. Less than 10% of all rapes ever reported in the Coast Guard end up in Court Martial and even less are actually prosecuted.

        I left the Coast Guard when my contract was up and got myself into counseling. I attend individual counseling at the VA. I also attend group counseling at the VA and the Military Rape Crisis Center support groups in New London. At MRCC’s support group it is a lot of cadet and some enlisted Coast Guard members who are petrified for reporting the assault or rape or have reported the rape or assault and are being slut-shamed, victim blamed and their perpetrators are able to continue walking around like they did nothing wrong. At the VA many survivors who did report their abuse report losing their careers right after reporting it. From the survivors that I spoken to being treated as crazy, a liar, or at fault for a rape is by far more traumatizing than the rape or abuse itself. I rather not deal with that. It is not an isolated case where a woman report rape and their discharged her. it is a systematic problem that should be addressed by the Coast Guard but it is not. There is a story on here that an Active Duty member wrote about her rape. She reached out to the Coast Guard who offered to “help” her on here including some at Headquarters. Within a month she was kicked out of the Coast Guard. People at headquarters were even part of discharging her.

        ideally when a woman reports abuse in the Coast Guard the Coast Guard takes seriously her allegations and ensure that she is safe and justice is served regardless of the rank of the victim or rapist. That is not the case. The Military Rape Crisis Center study shows that 92% of rape victims to be discharged from service for reporting a crime done against them. Those numbers do not make anyone want to report their rape.

        If the Coast Guard is serious about sexual assault and rape they should stop discharging survivors. They should offer support to rape survivors. They should prosecute not only rapists but those that were responsible for victim blaming and discharging the survivor.

        Until then I stand by my statement that if you been raped you should not report it. Even what Kate and Stacey said who are both advocating to report the rape/sexual assault they both stated that they reported their abuse only to be discharged as a result.

        The woman behind this website was also raped. Her story is posted on here. The Congress even investigated her rape and found that a rape did occur but the Coast Guard to this day is still denying it. The Coast Guard is still saying she is at fault for what happened and that is how they can justify her losing her job. If the Congress had to do an independent Congressional investigation and the Coast Guard ignores that then why will the Coast Guard care about some girl who was raped at basic training. Why will the Coast Guard care about me who was an E-4 and raped by an O-6? Why will the Coast Guard care about the 92% of women that report rape and later discharge them? why will the Coast Guard care about every single woman in the Coast Guard that have to continue working with men that been accused of rape or sexual assault? Why will the Coast Guard care about survivors who have to read victim-slandering statements online written by Coast Guard Master Chiefs (Motyka)? Why will the Coast Guard care about the women who have to go to work everyday and be told that they are crazy, lying, whores because they report a rape? Why will the Coast Guard care about the many women who are going to work everyday and have to work with the man that raped them and knowing that they have to choose between their careers or the slight, almost non-existance chance of justice? Again if the Congress investigated a rape and the COast Guard refuses to acknowledge it then why will it matter for those of us who do not have the US Congress standing behind us? Why will the Coast Guard care about the women who try to join the Auxiliary only to be denied entrance to a Coast Guard base where the meetings were held because they been raped? You can say all you want that the Coast Guard has a zero-tolerance policy but the way that they act shows otherwise.

        I want to see this jerk that did this to the recruit behind prison but the Coast Guard has shown year after year and sexual assault after sexual assault that this is not the case.

      2. Nothing can be done if it is not reported. if it’s not reported how does it help the next victim. not all commands are like the one you were at and not and not all cases are the same . I have read the stories on here and they are all bad stories that I read I have not found good ones yet. Think about it. Bigger picture.

      3. Sexual assault is a crime that takes away all your power. The best thing that anyone can do to help a survivor is to allow the survivor to make all choices in his or her recovery. This includes rather or not she wants to report it. All survivors that come to me for support or advice are well aware of all of their options including if they want to report it. Whatever they choose to do is completely up to them and they know that they are supported regardless of what they choose. Nobody knows what is best for a sexual assault survivor other than the sexual assault survivor.

        I have worked with thousands of rape and sexual assault survivors in the Coast Guard and the way that each one of them want or was looking for in support was different from the next one over. There is not one common response to sexual assault. There is not one common solution to help a survivor.

        As for the 92% statistic those numbers are very real. If it pisses you off that survivors are losing their careers because of rape then do something about it. We already been through enough. We should not be fighting for our careers while healing from rape.

  6. Bethanny even though I agree with you that reporting a sexual assault in the Coast Guard is a career killer I still think that it is important that all rapes and sexual assaults are reported. I lost my career after reporting my rape but am glad that I reported it even though nothing happened to him.

    1. mst can kill you, it kills the spirit, i seen that first hand with the death of my daughter!!! I CANT BRING HER BACK!!! WE MUST ADDRESS THIS CRAP!! I WANT PROSECUTIONS I WANT THERE GONADS NAILED TO THE FLOOR!!!CARRI’S DAD!!! i agree kate!!!!!!!

      1. Dear Mr. Noling,

        Please accept my personal sympathy for your loss. This is a CRIME, a DISGRACE, that EVERY American citizen should be ashamed of. I suffered at the hands of the Coast Guard as well – not in a sexual way, but I am still traumatized by it! My spirit died a while ago. I would have taken a 9mm sleeping pill if it were not for my wife, but I still thik about it!

        For what it is worth, I will pray for you, your family, and of course for your Carri! Although God has “call blocking” on my prayers.

        I tried to bring this and the rest of these cases to the attention of the Archbishop of the Military Diocese of the US Military. He ignorred it.

        This “Bishop” is Timothy P. Broglio, http://www.milarch.org. maybe if enough of us e bomb him he might get off his ass and do something.

        GOD BLESS YOU, and I hope Carri is right there next to him.!

    2. Not a career killer. You had a bad command. this is a mans world sad to say but us women need to fight back and we can’t if we don’t speak up on stuff like this.

      1. 92% of all who report abuse in the Coast Guard are kicked out of service it sure sounds like a career killer to me.

      2. I think you should check your numbers again. I know plenty of people that reported abuse and are still in snd are senior petty officers. If they are out it’s for other reasons

  7. One other thought for what ever it is worth, the Politicians in this country can control the American Press/Media.

    Might I suggest That we contact the Press/Media in english speaking foreign countries, and even non english speaking countries. I know for a fact that countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, France, … love to publish stories of arrogant american hypocracy.

    SKYNEWS (UK’s equivilent of us’s CNN/FoxNews Network ) might be a good place to start.

    SHAME will force this country to respond to us!

  8. Maybe the people who are telling you NOT to report this crime are the people who do this!
    How clever of them!
    How about reporting this to someone in another command, or chaplains, rape crises centers, legal offices……you are letting this man loose on every female that goes to boot camp.
    Not a career killer……..it has to be stopped…..but it takes courage and conviction to do the right thing for yourself and other who follow. Keeping such secrets gives those sick people power.

    1. I was raped by a Company Commander at basic training in Cape May. I was made out to be lying and crazy and therefore lost my career after months of putting me through hell. My rape happened many years ago but I know that it still happens to the majority (92%) of women that report rape or sexual assault in the Coast Guard. I work with Panayiota and we help Coast Guard rape survivors and victims are being forced out of service upon reporting it.

      Even though I lost my career for reporting my rape in the Coast Guard I still personally feel that every sexual assault should be reported but how I feel does not matter. Forcing a victim to report a crime or forcing a victim to not report a crime is equally damaging. What Panayiota and other experts in the field recommend is that the survivors make their own decisions on rather or not to report it.

      A bigger issue that we should look into is the number of survivors that are reporting assaults and as a result losing their Coast Guard careers while their perpetrators are often promoted or given an ‘Honorable Discharge’. Perhaps if rape survivors are treated better than over 90% of all rapes and sexual assault in the Coast Guard that are currently NOT reported to authority (but are reported to Panayiota or other advocates, VA, etc..)would instead be reported to the Coast Guard. However the Coast Guard is not making helping sexual assault survivors a priority right now. Instead they want to get rid of them so survivors are being forced to fight for their careers while healing from rape. 92% of rape survivors that report a rape in the Coast Guard is a large percentage.

  9. After I reported the rape and sexual assaults, it ended my career at that particular squadron. I transferred to a new squadron and then it followed me for the next 10 years. It ended up being the reason that I was finally let go on a medical discharge after 14 years of service. But, if I had to do it all over again, I would have done the exact same thing. I turned the pigs in because I didn’t want them doing to others what had been done to me. It completely ruined me and robbed me of my soul, energy, and life in general. I don’t want that happening to any other woman (or man) because I know the depths of the pain. I stuck it out because I didn’t want to lose my retirement. In the end, I got my retirement anyways. Everything worked out in the end. It may be hell while you are going through it but now I can sleep at night knowing that I tried to do the right thing despite the negative consequences it had on my career. I have since realized that in the end, nothing matters as much as my mental and physical health.

  10. How to stop this crime and make people accountable?

    Start by admitting that there is a problem. Even with the so called ‘improvements’ the Coast Guard has not changed much at all in how they deal with sexual assault and rape cases. Like myself, survivors continue to be blamed, not believe and punished while perpetrators are rarely punished and if they are often charged for a lesser crime.

    One initiative that I have worked on with Congresswoman Jackie Speier out of California is the introduction of the STOP Act. More info can be found here:

    http://militaryrapecrisiscenter.org/get-info/legislation/h-r-3435-sexual-assault-training-oversight-and-prevention-act/

    The Coast Guard has proven for decades that they do not have what it take to prosecute men. There were more than enough evidence to prosecute my rapist. The Congress even looked into and said that the way that the Coast Guard mishandled my case yet the Coast Guard still won’t admit that what they have done was wrong. They handed him, the man that severely beat me, broke my tooth and raped me an Honorable discharge. My Executive Officer that locked me a janitor closet after reporting my rape was eventually awarded and is still serving. There is a lot more to my story and you can read it on this website (go to the Station Burlington, VT rape) but my story is not the only one. There are thousands of wonderful men and women that I had the honor to know from my work with the Military Rape Crisis and what we all been through could have been prevented if only the military dealt with our rape cases with sensitivity and dignity.

    In conjunction with the bill is the introduction of a new non-profit dedicated to prosecuting rape in the military. Protect our Defenders which was launched last month also shares the personal testimonies of rape survivor. Please go visit http://www.protectourdefenders.com, listen to our testimonies and when you are done and if you agree that our service members deserve better sign the petition and call your elected officials and urge them to support the STOP Act.

  11. Thank you for writing this. I was sexually assaulted at basic too. My lead CC always rubbed himself on me and tried to touch me whenever I passed by. I did not say anything. I know how difficult that it is to come forward. You have to be with your company at all time. Not like you can leave and go talk to someone without approval! The CC that was assaulting me was not going to grant me permission so I can go report him.

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