I was pretty excited to join the military. I spent every chance I could running and working out in the gym so that I would be trained the best that I could prior to entering the Air Force. I signed the dotted line and shortly after this I was invited to a “new recruit” party. It was my opportunity to meet new people like myself, therefore, I was excited to meet them and have some comrades going through the uneasiness of giving yourself to the armed services.
My recruiter organized the event and it was held a couple of weeks after I enlisted. I showed up to his house that night for what I thought was a military sponsored event. It was about 30 minutes from where I lived so it felt like I was driving to the sticks. I was not concerned in the least bit about the event being at the recruiter’s house because it did not seem appropriate to have a party at the Guard Station. This recruiter was also known for motivating his new recruits, working out with them to help them get prepared and basically spending time with them off the job. I thought he was dedicated.
Upon my arrival, I immediately noticed that no one was there, aside from his neighbors, one of which was a current member of the military. This man was there with his wife. I thought I was early and just settled in until others showed up. The recruiter immediately began to pressure me to drink. As a way to make it easier for him to “force” me to drink, he suggested playing drinking games. They decided to play “quarters” which I am horrible at. Each time I missed getting the quarter in the shot glass, the recruiter was pouring another drink and I had at least 5 shots in front of me at one point. I forced down a couple shots due to the extreme pressure I felt to drink and fit in but I also got upset and told him that I was not going to drink all the shots in front of me. He continued to pressure me. His pressuring was so powerful and so aggressive that I started getting angry. I felt like I was literally being pushed into drinking and getting drunk. I still had to drive home and I was not going to risk my new military career by drinking and driving.
It was at this point, that I got up from the table to step away from the drinking game, and I realized that I felt dizzy. It just felt like I was really drunk and needed to lie down for a minute because the room was spinning. I wasn’t sick to my stomach, just dizzy. While the others continued to drink, I meandered my way into the living room and lay down on his couch. I passed out on the couch and when I awoke, the neighbors were gone, the house was dark, and I was being picked up and carried by the recruiter.
He carried me into his bedroom. I knew what was happening but I had absolutely no life and could not move. I didn’t realize it until later because I was not aware of date rape drugs back then but I now know that I was somehow chemically restrained. I did not have the choice to decide. This man took advantage of my powerless body and then after he was done, he rolled over and turned his back to me. I remember feeling completely mortified and humiliated. I remember feeling like this was not right but I could not move. I fell back asleep and woke back up early in the morning, I presume after the drug wore off. The recruiter still had his back to me and he didn’t even wake. I quietly slipped out of the bed, put my clothes back on, and left his home immediately.
I could not believe what had happened. When I got home, I remember feeling horrible about myself and thinking that if I wasn’t so stupid, I would never have gone there. I beat myself up immensely and questioned how I could have let this happen. I still did not understand what had happened. I just felt dirty and ashamed. The first thing I did was take a shower. I was also devastated that I most likely had unprotected sex with this man and now needed to get tested for STDs to be on the safe side. I went to get tested less than a week after it happened. I had a pap smear completed and a full set of STD tests completed after sharing with the doctor that I had had unprotected sex but I didn’t tell her what had happened. My tests came back negative and she explained to me that although I was tested for AIDS that I should get retested in 3-6 months because it doesn’t always show up immediately. I was so angry that this man exposed me without my consent. I was celibate so I wasn’t exactly prepared to have sex and I was not on birth control.
A couple weeks later, I noticed that I was feeling nauseous like every day all day. I hadn’t even considered the fact that I might be pregnant but of course it was a deeply engrained fear. I went back to the doctor to see her about my condition and found out that I was pregnant. I was devastated. I immediately started crying and the baby inside me felt like a disease or a cancer that was spreading. It was not a joyous experience whatsoever and all I remember is thinking I want this out of me. I was so upset and I remember thinking I wanted an abortion. There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I needed to right the wrong that was done to me. I should not have to pay for this man’s act the rest of my life. I probably never would have needed an abortion in my lifetime because I was very responsible with my health care needs. I took good care of myself and utilized the services of Planned Parenthood. I was not going to get pregnant. And here I was pregnant with a rapist’s baby, with no money, and nowhere to turn. I was forced to turn to my dad for the $400 I needed to get the procedure done. He told me that I better never ask for money again for something like this. I didn’t tell him what happened. I was so embarrassed and ashamed.
As most people enjoy their baby growing inside me, I was resentful that my choice was taken away from me, that I was forced now to get an abortion, and that if I didn’t get an abortion, my military career would be over before it even started. What are you supposed to do? I found someone safe to take me to the abortion clinic. I told her that I was pregnant but she didn’t know anyone that I knew and I knew she would never tell. She dropped me off and picked me up which was one of the conditions that you had to agree to prior to the procedure. You would never have known that the building was an abortion clinic. I now realize that this was for safety purposes but back then I didn’t know why the building didn’t have a sign, that the doors were locked for a reason, and that you had to be buzzed in and only you could enter the building.
You could not bring anyone with you. I met with some medical personnel prior to the procedure. They explained what would happen and then I was led to the room where the abortion would be completed. I was crying the whole time. It was not painful physically, but it was painful emotionally. I felt like something was ripped away from me and I cried in anguish. I never wanted an abortion to begin with, let alone to be faced with this. But now, here I was the victim of a rapist who took the control away from me not only once but twice. I wanted nothing to do with him and I certainly did not want a child out of wedlock that I was forced to take care of by myself. I had no money. I was so broke that I had to ask my dad for the money for the procedure. That was not easy. I left that place and never looked back.
It is now sixteen years later and this is the first time that I have ever talked about it let alone described the experience. This issue is personal for me and I strongly believe that every circumstance is individualized and that the person deserves the choice. How can anyone force and expect another human being to carry a child they don’t want to term, a child that they did not have the choice to create, or a child that is the product of a sleazy manipulative rapist who uses his position to set up his attacks. Do I harbor guilt and resentment over my decision? Yes. I am considered a murderer to some segments in society. But there is so much more to it than that. My life turned out the way I wanted it to for the most part.
Our Armed Forces teach our service members about core values such as honor, courage, and commitment. The military has skated out of taking responsibility for this issue for far too many years. When one of our nation’s service members is the victim of a rape resulting in an unwanted pregnancy it should be the duty of the Armed Forces to provide for the care, and the physical and mental well-being, of that service member.