As I was responding to an email to Captain Christine Cutter, United States Coast Guard District 1 Legal on why evidence that I thought was vital to the investigation and why what I told CGIS during the investigation does not add up to what CGIS documented I thought that many others may have similar questions on their investigation or CG handling of rape cases.
The United States Coast Guard is the smallest branch of the military but has the highest percentage of service members seeking services through the Military Rape Crisis Center and its affiliates. Earlier this month the Military Rape Crisis Center held it first male-only peer support group for rape survivors at the Coast Guard Academy. The response was overwhelming from cadets needing to talk about their trauma in a confidential and safe environment. The Military Rape Crisis Center also holds a women-only peer support group for cadets in New London that meets monthly.
Active Duty members also need our help. The Military Rape Crisis Center Maine Coordinator, Jennifer, tried endlessly to find support for our Maine Coast Guard survivors. As it stands now the Coast Guard does not offer any support for it Maine’ shipmates. My shipmates in Maine who been assaulted first need to contact Boston, hope that the SARC return phone calls in a timely manner-Jennifer had an average of 3-4 days for phone calls to be returned-only to be referred to a non-Coast Guard base in Maine that is rumored to be shutting down. Not acceptable for a woman or man that just experienced the worst trauma of their life and evidence needs to be collected in a timely manner.
If you are like me and feel that members of the United States Coast Guard deserve much better than what the Coast Guard is currently offering to them please use the comment section of this blog to ask questions to Shawn Wren,the Coast Guard’s sexual assault prevention and response program manager, and the Coast Guard numerous SARCs and JAGs. The Coast Guard is reading this blog almost continuously. Let hope that they have the integrity to answer questions from survivors.