Anonymous, United States Air Force
Unfortunately, this is another story of MST in our armed services. I joined the Air National Guard so that I could serve my country and make my parents proud, with the added bonus of having a full-time job. One of the great things that attracted me to the Air National Guard was the fact that you could stay at one base for as long as you wanted. Little did I know that this would be something I would hate.
My assailant was a family friend. Our families did a lot together with other groups of people, mostly from our base. His wife and I were friends, she threw my baby shower for one of my sons and was there for the birth of my second son. I was a single mom, they helped me move, we exchanged babysitting, and I got to know her mother and sisters. How would I have known he would violate someone who was supposed to be a friend of his wife and kids? Like some other rapes, alcohol was involved.
We were celebrating my criminal’s wife’s birthday and I had one too many. She told him to drive me home so I could sleep it off. One of my good friends helped him put me into the car. He took me to their house where his three children and in-laws were sleeping and took advantage of the situation and exercised a control he would have never had in any other situation. I did say no. My exact words were, “Get off me!”. He showered and went back to the party as if nothing happened.
He forced me into a life that I would have never imagined. I tried to compartmentalize this for as long as I could until I couldn’t take another second of his treatment as my supervisor. When I couldn’t take it any longer (8yrs!), I finally said something to my commander, incidentally she was a female, and of course she looked at me with this blank stare as if I was now adding “drama” to her job that she would have to deal with. He, of course, said it was consensual and feed comments to the commander that I had emotional problems so that I would keep my mouth shut. She actually wanted me to sign a document stating I wouldn’t report this crime. I didn’t. I took this as far up my chain of command that I possibly could. Nothing. I even took it outside of the Base and State, still nothing.
I lost my job, a job promotion, rank, dignity, soul, and more that the military could never give back or make right. “Time heals all wounds.” No it doesn’t. All that time does for us is help us deal with situations differently. Time helps us get up in the morning and brush our teeth. Time helps us want to play with our kids. Time gives us more time that intrusive thoughts get to run through our minds. We don’t heal, we learn. Of course, he was allowed to retire with full military benefits and was never even given an Article 15.
Our command did its best to sweep everything under the carpet. Regardless of what anyone thinks or says, this is a crime. And, I’m not sure what is more criminal, what the assailant did, or what those who we’re supposed to trust to uphold the Integrity that the Air Force advertises did. The reprisal and retaliation was incomprehensible. Integrity? I would have never imagined as a 19 year old joining the military and having all levels of the government fail to keep me safe as I worked to keep them and our country safe.