Raped and Pregnant at MacDill Air Force Base.

M.T FLorida

I joined the Air Force at age 18, in 1981. I after basic and technical school I arrived at MacDill AFB. I was the first woman in my career field assigned to my shop and was not accepted at all.

My first roll call I was told that I would not be there long as I had no business invaded this man’s career field. I was told that I would be carried out in a body bag, commit suicide, go AWOL, or be put in a straight jacket before they were done with me.

Within a couple weeks I was attacked at the barracks (not raped) and suffered a head injury which my attacker did this in front of a group of people and never was charged. While in the hospital one of the supervisors started to befriend me. He built my trust up. At a party off base he followed me into a bathroom and raped me. I left and couldn’t speak. Then in the middle of the night woke up in my barracks room to find him on top of me. I tried to say something but was told nothing will happen.

I became pregnant and was told I was to have an abortion. The supervisor was high fiving the other supervisors when they found out because they can get rid of me. I don’t believe in abortion and refused. I was dropped off every week at an abortion clinic off base and had to take a cab back to the base.

I had tools thrown at my head. I was harrassed by everyone. Even the guys wife would call or they would let her in the shop to yell and threaten me. I was sent to Eglin AFB psyc unit. The doctor said I was normal and gave me a month to regroup and sent me back to the Hell awaiting me.

When I returned I was told to never where maternity clothes. They tried to hide my pregnancy. My commanding officer (A WOMAN) asked me if she could send me to Europe TDY to get an abortion since I was 7 months. The harrassing and threats continued. I had to move from the barracks to get some peace and got an apartment off base.

The wing commander asked me what was happening and I told him. He had me moved from the shop to another location. Nothing happened to anyone. I had the baby and was forced to give him up for adoption.

In 2007 we reunited and I found out the person who adopted him was a doctor at the base hospital and he and his wife were well aware of the situation and raised him to find me. The rapist is retired from the military and was never charged. I have lived in hell for the last 30+ years and just in the last few years can really speak about this. What is the military doing about the babies from MST, not all of us believe in abortion. They are victims too.

Rape Culture at the Coast Guard Academy

When Rear Admiral Sandra L. Stosz was questioned about the increase of sexual violence at the Coast Guard Academy she released the following statement:

“At a time when they’re exploring their identity, it’s somewhat natural to have people experiment with what it takes to attract a person of the opposite sex. If, one time, a guy or gal is clumsy or stupid and tries to touch someone and they’re repulsed, they learn. Someone who goes around and keeps trying many times, that’s a different kind of behavior than someone who is awkward and experimenting.”

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Sexual assault is not being “clumsy” or “stupid” but a violent crime –a felony with lifelong consequences for the survivor. Sexual Assault is sexual assault regardless if it happened once or if it happened repetitively over a period of time. The Coast Guard Academy should not tolerate Sexual Assault and the superintendent should stop making excuses for sex predators.

read more here.

-PB

 

Message from Panayiota Bertzikis

Greetings,

You are about to read true first person testimonies of sex abuse in the United States military. A lot of the survivors do go into details about their sexual assault, rape and the military response to the rape.  Reading these testimonies could potentially be triggering to survivors of Military Sexual Trauma or rape. Please take that into account before continue reading.

My Duty to Speak started as a writing workshop in Cambridge, MA for Military Sexual Trauma survivors that was hosted by the Military Rape Crisis Center in November 2010. The day workshop was taught by some of the greatest trauma and writing specialist in the country. By writing about what we went through while wearing the uniform we broke the silence of abuse liberating ourselves while also might be helping someone else who is feeling the same way.

We are thankful for so many survivors who came forward to share their Military Sexual Trauma testimonies with us. As you can read from the testimonies the military response to rape is often as disturbing and horrifying as the act of rape itself. Want to do something to help survivors? Take Action and call your representatives and demand better treatment for sexual assault survivors in the military. Head over to change.org and sign our brand new Petition to demand better treatment to survivors of rape in the Coast Guard. If you are interested in sharing your testimony go to Be Heard.

My staff and I are always available to you email me at panayiota@stopmilitaryrape.org . Together we are making a difference and improving the military response to sex abuse within it ranks. However, there is a lot more that needs to be done and we can not do this without you,  your support and your voice!

With gratitude,
Panayiota Bertzikis
Managing Editor
MyDutytoSpeak.com

We do not take liability for anything posted on here.

Soldier speaks about abuse

J, United States Army

 I have been on the sidelines for a number of years, a secret survivor, cheering on those who were standing up, telling their stories. I’ve realized I cannot hide anymore. Hiding for me, has been a way to deny that what happened to me was real, a way to hide from the devastating emotional impacts of surviving.

I enlisted in the Army reserves in Sept of 2005- I had dreamed of enlisting for years – growing up everyone said I was going to be a ministry or a soldier. Although my ASVAB scores qualified me for many jobs, I really wanted to be in the Military Police (31B). I arrive at Ft. Leonard Wood for One Station Unit Training (OSUT) in the middle of the night, having taken the 3 hour bus ride from St. Louis. Honestly, from that point until I left reception, my military experience was pretty normal. Long lines – paperwork, shots, clothing, powerpoints. I got to my training company and things went fine as far as red phase of boots camp goes. The usual long hours, fast pace, never any down time. After a while things began to slow down and we settled into a training routine. That all changed during the winter. I was the victim of non-consensual sodomy and indecent assault when a fellow trainee sexually assaulted me one night after lights out.

The assault quickly became my darkest secret. All through OSUT I pretended it didn’t happen and just tried to ignore it… but by January 2006, the guilt, shame and confusion had grown too much to handle. During a quiet period about 5 or 6 weeks before graduation, I attempt suicide. I had my military belt set up to hang myself in the showers, but I was interrupted by a fellow trainee known as “Mormon” (because he was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). He must have sensed something other than homesickness was wrong and just sat and talked with me for what felt like forever. It was probably only a few minutes, but it was enough to stop me.

I didn’t tell him what had happened… it was still my secret… Later, in February of 2006, in a hazing incident, I was grabbed and duct taped in our sleeping bay. Although this was unrelated to the assault it just furthered the feelings of depression and shame.

The final humiliation came in late February of 2006, during an “amnesty day – when soldiers usually confess where they hid their cigarettes or dvd’s or cell phones during the last few months – but where my attacker told everyone what he had done and faced no repercussions. This series of events have haunted me in the years since.

I never reported it, partially because the perpetrator had confessed in front of the drill sergeants and nothing happened to him and because I thought I deserved it (“I guess I just gave off a gay vibe” or “it was just hazing” ) For years, I’ve tried to keep it a secret, even from myself – to deny that it had really happened or that it was has bad as it was, but all that denial just did was re-traumatize me day after day. I wish I could conclude my account with some pithy and brilliant summary, but I can’t. All I know is that I can’t stay silent anymore. It is my duty to speak.

Military Rape Crisis Center Press US Coast Guard to improve Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

By Panayiota Bertzikis

One in three women as well as many men in the Coast Guard are going to fall victim of sexual assault and rape. While a lot of focus has been on the Department of Defense to make changes, the United States Coast Guard-which falls under the Department of Homeland Security has been exempt from having to implement the same DoD policies that would help sexual assault survivors.

Two weeks ago Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Reps. Mike Turner (R-OH) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA) wrote to the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard to express their concern that the Coast Guard has not yet adopted an expedited transfer policy for victims of sexual violence as have the military departments under the authority of the Department of Defense. To this day the Coast Guard refuses to adopt to the STRONG Act even though it might save the life of a Coast Guard rape survivor.

The United States Coast Guard has refused the Military Rape Crisis Center’s numerous pleas to have trained victim advocates at every single Coast Guard installation. For instance if a woman or man is raped at a small boat station in Maine they have to contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) in Boston, Massachusett-two states away. If that is not daunting enough many survivors and  civilian service providers report that phone calls and emails to the SARC in Boston are often not returned leaving the survivors alone, scared and vulnerable for repeat attacks.

Coast Guardsmen in Maine are not the only ones that lack the support that they need to make a confidential immediate report and receive the help that they deserve. Many Coast Guard stations throughout the United States do not have trained victim advocates to offer immediate help for survivors of sexual assault and rape.

As a Coast Guard rape survivor and a full time victim advocate working with the Military Rape Crisis Center I know first hand the severity of this epidemic. Due to the lax policies on sexual assault in the US Coast Guard what we are seeing at the Center is an increase of Active Duty Coast Guardsmen and women seeking services from us. The rapes are becoming much more violent and the retaliation for reporting an assault is becoming much more vicious.

A group of Active Duty Coast Guardsmen, veterans and the general public got together to help bring awareness to the issue of sexual abuse in the Coast Guard. Together we formedwww.SupportTheCG.com as a way to bring awareness and to help end this epidemic that has hurt so many of our shipmates. Please sign the petition so our shipmates can one day serve their country without fear of being sexually assaulted and/or raped.

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