Active Duty Coast Guardsman face retaliation for seeking treatment for rape.

Active Duty, United States Coast Guard

I was raped and chose unrestricted reporting. My Chief and others told me that they would stand by me and that my assailant is going to go to prison. They saw my injuries and knew of “the history” of my assailant that they promised that they would testify against him and want to see him sent to the brig.  I was interviewed by CGI and it came back that there might have been other victims.

I was sent inpatient for almost one month to help with me with the rape.

After the program I was sent to a different unit than my assailant.  I called my old Chief and those at my old unit that promised to stick by me and they told me that they were advised to no longer speak to me. I left a message for my victim advocate a couple of weeks ago and am still waiting to hear back from her.

The investigation came back as not enough evidence to move forward. Everyone found out and called me a liar for crying rape. I was told that because I was the one in the loony bin and not my rapist that something was obviously wrong with me.

My biggest mistake has been to agree to go inpatient. Before that I had witnesses that were willing to testify, CGIS that believed me, a command that was trying to help me. Because of my inpatient treatment I now have a scarlet letter on my forehead that reads warning. crazy woman who spent almost a month at a treatment program.

At the program I was told about MRCC by a few patients and MRCC were able to set me up counseling for as soon as I got out.  The doctor that the Coast Guard requires me to see told me that my diagnosis for PTSD is a mistake and is trying to determine what is wrong with me. The doctor feels that because my parents divorced when I was a child that I am having problems dealing with that and it might make me ineligible for military service. The doctor also thinks I might be having problems adjusting to the Coast Guard. The doctor that I am seeing that been referred to me by MRCC told me that I am suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of Military Sexual Trauma.

I want to stay in the Coast Guard but reading all the stories on here and knowing that I have problems because my parents are divorce leaves me very scared and depressed.

4 comments

  1. Hi there,

    I am not in the military but I am very compassionate to your story. I do have military folks in my ancestral background. But I have been listening to women like yourself speak about their experience of being violated for years, because on an early childhood incident of sexual abuse I had myself that was never brought to light. I learned that the act of the violation of my sexuality is not as painful as the fact that noone believed me and even tried to deny it. That pain was greater. I found support with groups of women who had common experience and got stronger about my experience. When I say stronger I don’t mean that I don’t feel hurt about it anymore – what I mean is that I accept it happened, that it wasn’t my fault, and even though some people will never acknowledge or validate it, it did happen and I find support from those who do (the women in support groups) . I no longer spend my energy trying to get validation from people who will never validate me. I don’t need it.

    Your parent’s divorce should not even be a factor on this. My parents never divorced and I can relate to all of your feelings.

    Please go easy on yourself for your experience in the “loony bin”. You were traumatized and needed help. I also think your fear and depression is very normal, and just an indication of the seriousness of the event and its impact on your very soul.

    I have much compassion for you and wish you more self compassion.

  2. Dear Little Coastie Sister (because you are my “little sister”),

    I am so sorry this happened to you. There is NOTHING “wrong” with YOU! What is wrong is the bullshit Survivors have to put up with. I love the USCG. It’s certain people in it that screw it up. The “Corporate Mentality” (we used to be called “members” of the Coast Guard, then it became “employee” and the boating public became “consumer”… WTF??) is that it is better for business to support those in which you have the most invested. That’s usually the purpetrator – the more senior person, rather than the victim. It boild down to the excuse “Needs of the Unit/Guard”. How will supporting the victim affect the watch/duty schedule? How will affect the readiness of the unit? Deployment schedule? etc…. It’s all bullshit. There is NO WAY they can say “Zero-Tolerance”, because it’s a lie.

    I started to share my story here and decided it’s not the place. I can’t remember if I shared it before… I think I meant to and put it off… I don’t know. CRS. You do NOT deserve to be treated this way… unfortunately I don’t have an answer. Using a broken family in this day an age is pretty stupid. It’s a straw at which they can grasp to use as an excuse for why it’s not their fault. Those who failed to support you should be ashamed. I know that doesn’t help you.

    Using your inpatient treatment against you is… it’s no different that a shrink telling you “If you want to stay in you have to say you’re fine”. You have been betrayed by those who once supported you. Most likely because it’s easier and cheaper for them to throw you under the bus.

    KEEP ALL DOCUMENTATION. I cannot stress this enough. Especially the documentation regarding PTSD. DO NOT let the Coast Guard get away with discharging you for Administrative reasons – make SURE you push for an independent PTSD evaluation. You can do that, even if they tell you you can’t. They sent me to Madigan Army Medical Center – not just a local CG Doc. The Doc that’s “trying to figure out what’s wrong with you” and blaming it on divorced parents is an idiot at best. Of COURSE there’s something “wrong” with you… You were raped and assaulted by a shipmate and then revictimized by not being supported by those who SHOULD have stood by you! Your marks probably tanked after your assault – that is evidence. If you told your family or friends, have them write down what you told them, what they noticed about changes in you. What documentation do you have for the purpose of inpatient treatment? This is all super important if you do end up getting out because you will need to immediately file with the VA for MST.

    I know that you want to stay in the Coast Guard… Knowing what I know after my career, if I knew how hard it was going to be and how much hurt it would cause me, I think I would have opted to get out… I just hope that everything I endured will HELP other Coasties. Remember that it’s not the Coast Guard f*cking you over, it’s some people in it. Your Victim Advocate should be canned! Not returning your calls is unforgiveable. They have made you feel useless, unstable and of no value. THEY ARE WRONG!!! You raised your hand to protect the US and uphold the Constitution… nowhere did you volunteer to lay down your body as morale gear! You DESERVE to be supported. If that support ends up not being from the CG, but from VA Disability… it will hurt, but we’re here for you. Seriously, we are.

    Continue to be proud of being a Coast Guardsman because you earned it. Some day, some way we WILL see it change… but it’s not going to be nearly fast enough. I am sorry about that. You are loved and you are not alone.

    Love,
    Your New Big Sister, BM1 Elsa Nethercot (USCG, Retired)

  3. Agreeing to inpatient treatment was the biggest mistake of my career. It too gave me that scarlet letter feeling around my station, and didn’t make me better in any way shape or form. It was an awful feeling coming back to the station, not sure of how they’d look at me, I was avoided when asking for help getting the last of my quals done. Since then I have made it to my third year in the service. I’m due to leave this unit because I pray that my next unit could show me what the real coast guard is like, the one I imagined on grad day. Not this, where an fs who beat his wife gets restricted duty and his only messcooks are females. I’ve moved past the rape but will never move past the fear I had of unrestricted reporting and the fear I had to face him for twenty five more days until he got kicked out. And how badly depressed I became overtime not having anyone to talk to who wouldn’t turn it over to cgis. If you ever need to talk please hit me up. We are all brothers and sisters in the service and should stand by one another!

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