Coast Guard Academy rape survivor advice to the class of 2016

Kristen, United States Coast Guard

I was sexually assaulted and groped throughout my time at the Academy. I was raped by a 1/c when I was a 2/c. It was reported. They laughed and told me that I had sex and regretted it. I was the one punished in the end.

I completed my military duty and am having difficulties finding a decent job. I am working at a job now that a high school graduate could do! I don’t dare tell anyone that I was in the Coast Guard. I have signed up for classes at a state college and plan on getting my undergrad degree in Psychology. I had to start from scratch so I can wipe clean of any thing that has to do with CG.

I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have difficulties sleeping. I get flashbacks. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression all which led back to how I was treated at CGA. I filed for compensation and 7 months later I am still waiting for a response from the VA.

A good friend little sister just got her acceptance letter to the Academy and it breaks my heart to know that by her going to the Academy she has a greater chance of being assaulted or raped than if she was to go to any other university in the country. When I told her what happened to me she claims that it’ll never happen to her and that she’ll fight off any man that comes on her. If only it was that easy.

Everyone that received their acceptance letters this week Congratulation but don’t expect the Academy to be easy. The most difficult part would be to not get raped or assaulted. If you can do that you’ll do just fine. If you are a guy do not rape anyone. If you know of anyone that been raped or assaulted do what you can to help them. Remember that the CGA has been voted to be the worst place in America for a woman. We have the worst professors. We have the most unhappy students. Treat everyone with respect and dignity. It’ll make things better for all during your time at CGA and the Coast Guard and makes things easier when you leave the Coast Guard and look for a job. Hiring a CGA alum is too much of a liability for many companies. It is up to you now to be the future of the Coast Guard and improve the reputation that those before you destroyed.

post has been edited since original posting as per the writer’s request

7 comments

  1. I never understood why CGA alumnis are looked down upon in the corporate world. I understand that they do not want rapists for liability reasons but they are also putting rape survivors or others who tried to help survivors in the same category. rape survivors are suffering still because the rest of the world is being cautious to not hire a rapist.

    Coast Guard has become a synonym for rapists. In the end the ones who are suffering the most are the survivors. makes me sick.

  2. This breaks my heart. Young people so excited about getting into the CGA. They are supposedly the cream of the crop, the best and the brightest leaders coming out of high schools….what happens behind those Academy walls? As a parent, this and the many other accounts of abuse, hazing, and rape are terrifying. The competition to get in the CGA is so high and then young people are ashamed, blamed and trying to get out of the CG. This is a broken system…shame on the people who are turning a blind eye to this reprehensible behavior. Where is the honor concept? Hypocrites. I am so sorry to learn this is happening. Tax dollars support these sick a users.

  3. As current cadet and a sibling of a graduate, I assure you, both Kelli and JC, that Kristen’s experience is in no way a trend at the Academy. The Academy has always been and will continue to be an institution focused on Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. There are many promising careers available to Academy grads both within the Coast Guard and in the private sector.

    Before you pass judgement on the Academy and the United States Coast Guard there are many factors regarding gender relations that must be considered:

    The Coast Guard Academy is the first and only US Service Academy to have a female Superintendent.

    The United States Coast Guard is the only military service in which all rates/positions are available to both genders.

    The class of 2016, who reported in today, has the highest number of females of any class to enter CGA.

    The Corps of Cadets participates in monthly sexual harassment and assault prevention courses during the school year.

    Sexual harassment and assault is in no way tolerated at the Academy or looked at as a joke. Earlier this month, one of my classmates was kicked out for sexual harassment.

    I am truly sorry for the trauma Kristen endured while at the Academy but my female shipmates and I agree that we have never felt endangered by male cadets.

    It is important to remain aware about sexual harassment and do our best to prevent it, but we must also keep in mind the facts about sexual misconduct with in the service before stereotyping an entire service full of talented and outstanding individuals.

    Feel free to ask me any questions about the Academy accurately portray one of America’s most prestigious colleges (ranked #1 on the East Coast according to Princeton Review last year).

    1. According to MyDutytoSpeak.com investigators, the above comment was written by a male 3/C cadet Kyle Carpenter trying to impersonate a woman cadet. Despite the false identity given to us by Kyle we decided to approve his comment to show that some at the Coast Guard Academy would go to great length of denial instead of supporting Coast Guard Academy rape survivors. This common denial is often a barrier for many cadets seeking services and assistance after reporting a rape or assault. As a result the Military Rape Crisis Center continues to support members of the United States Coast Guard and Coast Guard Academy through their monthly off-base support groups solely for survivors of rape at the Coast Guard Academy. Even though the support groups are not meeting throughout the summer they’ll be resume in the fall. Visit http://stopmilitaryrape.org/support%20groups for dates of next support groups.

      1. I guess that what you get when 1/3rd of the Coast Guard Academy women have sought services through MDTS and MRCC. Those behind this page and the Military Rape Crisis Center just have way too many connection at the Academy that nobody can hide.

  4. As a former cadet who left over two years ago – I completely agree with the majority of the statements made in this post. I was overjoyed, excited, and ready to face what was to ensue when I arrived at the academy on R-day. I worked hard every day during swab summer – and worked harder in my academics throughout the first year. I was treated horribly by the upperclass female cadets – snide comments, harassment that was not done to other female cadets, even a upperclass online file about how much the upperclass female cadets hated me. I had a 1/c sneak into my room while I was sleeping during swab summer and go through my underwear drawer (as a swab, your ability to speak out is limited and thus pretending to be asleep seemed to be the best option) and then later on in the year I woke up to another upperclass cadet on top of me, in my bed, with his hand over my mouth. The idea of telling anyone never crossed my mind – how do you convince everyone you’re not lying? Especially to the other female upperclass who presumably already hate you. While at the academy, I had female upperclass enter my room and tell me they hated me, I had a target on my back, that I better watch myself because no one liked me. If it wasn’t sexual abuse, it was mental abuse I endured.

    I sometimes wish I had stayed, endured, and gotten over the abuses I experienced because of the opportunities that would have come out of it – but life is too short to be scared, alone, and hated. I often think back and regret leaving because of the things I would have experienced and its an every day struggle to not blame myself for what happened to me.

  5. Sounds similar to what has happened to Black cadets at every service academy since day 1. Things never change.

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