Rape at Sheppard Air Force base

Med Ho, United States Air Force

I was raped during my technical training at Sheppard AFB by my “wingman” in 2003. I was 23 and it was my first sexual experience. My rape wasn’t as brutal as many I’ve heard described. I said no. He did it anyway. It was almost as if he thought I was kidding when I said no, despite the unmistakable seriousness in my tone and demeanor. I fought back, cursed at him, and told him to get off of me. I was able to push him off of me fairly quickly. I was not physically injured, given a disease, nor did I get pregnant.

In a twisted way, I felt lucky. After all, one of the first things we were told upon arrival at tech school by the first sergeant himself was that we were statistically almost guaranteed to be raped. At least mine didn’t seem to be as brutal as most. Rape is horrible no matter the circumstances, but you can’t even begin to imagine suffering something like that so far away from home and with ZERO support.

I didn’t report it. I knew better. I couldn’t tell my family because I knew it would devastate them. I finally confided in an instructor because I felt like holding it in was killing me. I had to let it out, even if it was to an almost total stranger. I’m pretty sure the instructor was reprimanded for not betraying what I had confided in him. For that I am deeply sorry.

As for me, I was sent back to Phase I from Phase IV, meaning I was back to to the restrictions of an Airman straight out of basic training. I was also put on suicide watch, ensuring that some strange man or another would be coming to my dorm room every two hours, twenty four hours a day. Keep in mind, I hadn’t even reported anything. I shudder to think what would have happened had I actually officially reported it. I don’t suffer from flashbacks, insomnia, or PTSD. Again, I suppose I should feel “lucky”.

I do suffer from the knowledge that an act that should be a pleasurable expression of affection will always be painful for me. I will never be able to share that part of myself with someone else. I can’t describe the grief that wells up every time I am made painfully aware of that fact, which has been any time I’ve tried to engage in a healthy sexual relationship.

Post script: The ‘med hos’ are what the (mostly female) medical squadron is called. It was called that when I was there in 2003 and a currently enlisted acquaintance says that it still is. Mention the term to any Airman and they will know exactly to which squadron you are referring.

2 comments

  1. So sorry this happened to you. I must disagree with you though. You wrote:

    I do suffer from the knowledge that an act that should be a pleasurable expression of affection will always be painful for me. I will never be able to share that part of myself with someone else. I can’t describe the grief that wells up every time I am made painfully aware of that fact, which has been any time I’ve tried to engage in a healthy sexual relationship.

    THAT is PTSD. The sooner you come to terms with that and seek help, the better. That’s just my humble opinion. You are also eligible to file a claim for PTSD due to MST with the VA.

    PTSD isn’t always about flashbacks, nightmares, etc. It effects each of us differently. Think about it.

  2. I think Wendi has a good point. I was raped as well, and didn’t know how much it effected me until I got married. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband. Eventually, I was able to come to terms with it after many years, therapy and antidepressants included. But for you it’s different, just like it is for every rape victim. This rape was your first sexual encounter, and you owe it to yourself to get some help, and begin the healing process. Otherwise just like you said, you are going to find it difficult to engage in any health sexual health relationship. And that my friend, is just the tip of the iceberg.

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