Jennifer, United States Air Force
I joined the Air National Guard in 1996. Like everyone else, I had to go through a recruiter. I was in the process of applying for civilian police officer positions. I decided that joining the National Guard would not only be exciting but would supplement my resume and my income. I am very patriotic but I didn’t realize how much until I joined the military.
Shortly after joining the Guard, my recruiter, invited me to a “new recruit” party. I was very excited about meeting new people. The party was held at the recruiter’s house in a town about 45 minutes from where we were stationed. I arrived at his house and the only people there were his neighbors, a couple. One of them was in the Air National Guard with us. No one else showed up that night.
The recruiter immediately proceeded to commence in drinking games. It was his idea and he was the one serving all the drinks. We played quarters. I am horrible at quarters so he kept insisting that I drink and he kept serving me more alcohol. At one point, I had like five or more shots in front of me that he tried to pressure me to drink. After a little while, I started to get annoyed. I refused to drink anymore and didn’t care if I had 10 drinks in front of me. I wasn’t going to drink regardless of how much he pressured me. I eventually got up from the table and left the room. When I stood up, I felt dizzy.
I went into his livingroom and laid down on his couch. The recruiter and his neighbors stayed in the kitchen and continued to drink. I passed out. When I woke up, the neighbors were gone, the house was dark, and the recruiter was carrying me into his bedroom. I couldn’t move. I felt like I was outside my body watching everything. The recruiter raped me. I was physically unable to resist and mentally frozen. After he was done with me, he turned his back to me and went to sleep.
I passed out again and awoke around 4 or 5 in the morning, it was light out. I woke up in a panic, confused about what had happened. I put my clothes on and darted out of his house. He continued to sleep. I showered when I got home. I couldn’t face that I was raped. I felt so ashamed and blamed myself for being stupid. I should never have gone to his house in the first place.
Because he was in the Air National Guard, the chances of running into him increased. I couldn’t face what had happened so I avoided him like the plague. It wasn’t hard to do if I stayed out of the main building at the Station. I found out later that he had invited one other new recruit that I worked with. The other new recruit told me that he couldn’t find the recruiter’s house so he went home. He chocked it up to bad directions but I knew that it was intentional.
While attending technical school training at Keesler AFB, I met a fellow Air National Guard member. We got to talking about the recruiter. He told me that his female cousin wanted to join the Air National Guard and was also invited to a “new recruit” party. She, too, had been sexually assaulted by this recruiter. As a result, she did not join. My blood boiled when I learned about this information. I recognized the pattern immediately. I was so upset that I called the recruiter at work, flipped out on him, and told him that I was going to turn him in when I got home. I told him that I knew what he had done to the other woman as well. He hung up on me. I needed to get through my training knowing that when I got home, I would deal with him.
When I got home from technical school training, he was gone. He had quit a job that people just don’t quit. He had walked away from all the years he had put in and his retirement; he was a Technical Sargeant (E-6) in an AGR position (active duty Guard). I heard that he had moved to North Carolina. I felt satisfied that I had made an impact because he left, he was gone, and I didn’t have to turn him in and risk harming my career. I never wanted to see him again. I never told anyone, not even my friends and family, what happened.
I think the recruiter drugged me. And I never want to experience that out of control feeling ever again. As a result I rarely drink. When I do, I keep an eye on my drink and I am with people who make me feel safe. I have a hard time when my husband sleeps with his back to me. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it triggers me because of that one night. I am sickened that this man is still out there preying on other innocent victims. He is by all accounts a serial rapist, using the same modus operandi. This was the first of four perpetrators I encountered in the first two years of service to my country.