I am a Senior Chief with the US Coast Guard. I am writing this because I need help. I mentored hundreds of people throughout my career. A SN that I mentored early on in his career made it to Chief and I helped him through every step of the way. Throughout all of these years I kept in contact with almost everyone that I ever served with. A woman that reported a rape was no exception.
After her command discovered e-mails between the rape victim and me I was forced to cease all communications with her. All the emails were professional and sent through Coast Guard email. Emails to her were similar to what I have sent to my other mentees. I advised her about staying focus and shared my experience and insight with her. Often I send out the same motivational email to all who consider me a mentor. She not once mentioned her rape or anything that might hinder the investigation.
I read every single Coast Guard story on here and it saddens me. The posting about a woman that was invited to the base and later was turned away, humiliated and harassed because she was a rape victim angers me. In another posting a woman wrote that her two brothers in the Coast Guard felt that rape victims are skanky that do not deserve even an investigation? There are the many victims that posted that they did not receive an investigation even if they wanted to go with an unrestricted reporting which is clearly against violation but who is holding anybody accountable?
The Coast Guard was very good to my family and me. I am always the first to defend every negative press about the Coast Guard from our response to the oil spill to the embarrassment of Deepwater. At this point I am lost. I am angry with the Coast Guard for putting me in a situation to choose between an organization that I love and a shipmate that was raped. I no longer want to work for an organization that tells me that I cannot speak to someone because they have been raped but I also know that my family and livelihood depends on this job.
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.
Anonymous, United States Coast Guard
As an E3 in Alameda (5 years ago), I was assaulted at a party. I was drinking, and the person who assaulted me managed to have me leave the party with him- several friends saw me leave and did nothing to stop me- and I ended up in his apartment. I remember vaguely being on this guy’s floor with my pants off. I graduated from a well known college before joining, so its not like I had never had a drink with the opposite sex before. I’ve fallen asleep on fraternity house couches and was never treated with anything but respect, because I am a sister not a piece of meat. The next day I reported it to my supervisor (completely unaware of the restricted and unrestricted reporting guidelines) and he launched a CGIS investigation. During the investigation I was told that it was my fault because I was drinking, and that I welcomed it because I had previously told someone that I thought the guy was cute. This incident cost me my relationship, friendships, and eventually my credibility. I’m still in, but I can’t shake the anger and disgust at this organization for the way rape survivors are treated. CGIS is a joke, the reporting requirements are a joke. The only person who helped me was the Victim Advocate. What’s amazing is I had no follow up medical care, no counseling, nothing. I only hope I can save other females from experiencing this as well.
Anonymous, United States Coast Guard
I am in desperate need for some help. I reported my rape and it went nowhere. I was told that there were not enough creditable evidence to bring this case to trial. They have separated the two of us and I am safe from him. My problem is since my allegations came back as not having enough creditable evidence to bring the case to trial I am being viewed as a liar. I am called a nut case and a liar every single day often by CWO and a Captain.
Yes, I made some mistakes that I am beating myself up for such as not going immediately to the hospital and waiting some time before reporting it. I was scared. According to the CWO and the Captain the reason why I took so long to report it was because I was making a plan to lie. I did NOT lie. I can’t stress that enough. After the rape my rapist told me that if I told anyone that he’ll kill me. It was not until I felt suicidal and that I no longer could keep it in that I finally told somebody. I did not expect the allegation to go anywhere when I did report it but I needed help and needed to get away from him. It went unrestricted because I told some friends that are also in the Coast Guard wanting their advice on what I should do and support to help me report it. Since I told people it automatically because unrestricted and they had to investigate it.
I requested some time off from my Chief so that I can attend a counseling session in town. He told me that he doesn’t know why I still go to counseling since it was determined that it was a false allegation. He forbid me time off to attend counseling.
I am an E-3. How can I stop the bullying from those much higher ranking than me? They are slandering my name, tearing me apart and everyone believes them over me because of their rank and position with the Coast Guard.
This is much worst than even the rape. Can someone offer me some advice?
HS2 Federico Sanchez was on officer of the day duty when he thought it would be funny to further victimize a rape survivor. According to the rape survivor she was invited on base for a meeting, followed all necessary steps including being on an approved guest list and provided a valid government ID. After realizing that the woman invited on base was a rape survivors that his friends/shipmates helped cover up her rape he did all in his power to further victimize her.
Rape survivors in the Coast Guard often don’t just have one victim-blaming act committed against them. It is often dozens of small act of abuse that do have life long psychological consequences for the rape survivor. It also builds an environment of intimidation that might defer others from reporting a rape.
This blame-the-victim culture at Coast Guard Base Boston needs to stop before more members of the U.S Coast Guard are punished for reporting a rape. All these small acts of making the victim be punished for reporting a rape do add up to a culture of intimidation.
Calls to HS2 Federico Sanchez were never returned. Electronic communications from Active Duty coasties that witness to the event confirm that forbidding the rape survivor to attend a meeting that she was invited to was because she is a rape survivor.
Our Coast Guardsmen and women deserve better. Time to fix the Coast Guard.
written by M.O
Jennifer Norris, Maine Director of the Military Rape Crisis Center speech at a recent press conference hosted by Protect Our Defenders. Jennifer was in Washington DC with other sexual assault survivors of the military asking elected Congressional leaders to conduct a full investigation on how the DoD is addressing rape and sexual assault in the military.
repost from feministing.com
Melissa, United States Air Force
I am writing regarding an incident on the Open Guard USCG Facebook group page on July 26, 2012. A Coast Guard reserve member within the LGB community felt safe enough with Open Guard USCG to come out as a rape survivor. She expressed how she felt her rape was mishandled because of her sexual orientation. What followed was several other women both Active Duty and Veterans stated that they too been victims of sexual violence while serving in the US Coast Guard. The thread became an educational, supportive and healing medium for many within the group. Sadly it was all put to an end after Mark Dietrich, a Coast Guard officer and a moderator for Open Guard USCG, felt that suffering from rape because of one’s sexual orientation is “off topic”.
A Coast Guard member responded by saying, “Thank again for reminding me that I have no place in the Coast Guard even in the LGBT Open Guard” and a Coast Guard veteran also responded by saying, “I thought this group was to support each other as shipmates to improve the Coast Guard for future generations?” These two comments were determined to be criticizing the Coast Guard and negative so therefore every woman that reported that they been sexually abused because of her sexual orientation was barred from participating in Open Guard USCG. This is super concerning, particularly coming from a gay-oriented group that not too long ago had suffered the same oppression that rape survivors today are suffering: to keep it to your self. The Military Rape Crisis Center a nationwide advocacy and support group for Military Sexual Assault survivors estimates that 92% of all that report a sex crime in the Coast Guard are kicked out of service. Rape has become the new DADT.
While we have rightfully earned our rights to celebrate our accomplishments for repealing DADT, the fight is not over. We have to continue working on getting equality until all service members feel safe to open up to who they truly are. Sadly, homophobia is still very present in the United States Coast Guard and these Coast Guard members are at times using sexual violence as their weapon of choice to promote their hateful agenda. While the United States Coast Guard is not required like the four other branches of service to release their sexual assault data, the Military Rape Crisis Center reports that a disproportion numbers of Coast Guard Active Duty and Reserve members are seeking services through them. Some of these survivors are members of the LGB community that feel that their sexual orientation were the reason they have been victimized or that the investigation focus was primarily on their sexual orientation and not the felony that took place.
I am a survivor of sexual assault while serving in the United States Armed Forces. My rapist, an O-6, knew that he was able to get away with raping me because I am a lesbian. He was right. He was never prosecuted despite enough forensic evidence that shows a rape has been committed. Corrective rape in his eyes was the right thing to do for his God. He saw nothing wrong with what he did. He is still serving. I lost my very promising career.
As a member of several Active Duty, Veterans and civilians group for the LGBTQIA community, Open Guard USCG is the only group that I am aware of that is not actively working to eliminate sexual violence within members of this community. While I do believe that Open Guard USCG or a similar organization might be viewed as helpful to connect LGB members service wide Open Guard USCG’s blatant backwardness, hypocrisy and systemic silent the victim rape culture is something that cannot be overlooked. I welcome an open dialogue on this important issue.
Until Open Guard USCG is open to diversity and is inclusive of all members of the United States Coast Guard, including those that been victims of sexual assault or rape, I recommend that members of the United States Coast Guard think twice before associating themselves with Open Guard and it board members. I also request the leadership within the United States Coast Guard stop the Coast Guard’s affiliation with the group, including listing them as a resource on uscg.mil diversity page, until Open Guard is open to discuss the sexual assault and rape epidemic in the United States Coast Guard and how it affects members of the LGB community.
Open Guard’s mission statements states: “Open Guard is a Coast Guard centric support group for gay, lesbian and bisexual Coast Guard members, active duty and retired, and their families and friends” and I believe that this should include those that feel that they have been retaliated by use of sexual violence for coming out.
Resources for military rape survivors: