TSgt raped at Sather Air Base Iraq

Mary Gallager,  United States Air Force

I was at Sather AB, Iraq in November 2009, this was my 3 tour to the region. I was having trouble with a co-worker and one night I went into to the bathroom as I came out of the stall he was standing there and threw me up against the wall and raped me and then told me “that is how you fuck a whore”. He left me there and when I finally left I went to my Commander who told that it is a “he said she said”. 12yrs of service went down the drain that night. From that point on the Air Force saw me damaged goods and they told me I had PTSD and medically discharged me just a year before I was a raising star doing what I love and now I spend my days at the VA, taking pills, and trying to find a reason to live!

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.

Jennifer Norris at Lackland Congressional Hearing

Jennifer Norris, a staff member for the Military Rape Crisis Center and advisory member for Protect Our Defenders,  testified today before the House Armed Service Committee regarding the abuse at Lackland Air Force Base.

Witnesses include: Gen. Mark A. Welsh III,  U.S. Air Force chief of staff; Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of U.S. Air Force Air Education and Training Command; David Lisak, forensic consultant; Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Cindy McNally and TSgt Jennifer Norris.

Watch the testimony here.

Read My Duty to Speak testimonies from Air Force rape survivors here.

Read Jennifer Norris’ testimony here.

Rape at Cannon Air Force Base

Jewel, United States Air Force

In 1975 I joined the USAF. I was 19 years old and very shy and innocent. I believed that most people were good. And still think for the most part people are. My first duty station was Cannon AFB, NM. I worked in a Warehouse where 3 female airmen and about 75 male . I lived off base with my boyfriend he was in the Air Force too.

A friend of his was always harassing with sexual words. One night when my boyfriend was gone this man came looking for my boyfriend he came to the door and asked for him. I didn’t even answer the door, I told him he wasn’t in. He asked to come in I said no. He pushed the door down and pushed me into a spare bedroom by the front door. I remember thinking this wasn’t really happening. He held a gun to my head and said if I screamed he would shoot me. He ripped off my nightgown and raped me. When he got up I just laid in fear. I knew he was probably going to shoot me. But he left out of the room. I thought he was leaving; then suddenly he was back in the room. He had a knife from my kitchen and stabbed me 8 times. I had begged for my life. He left and I could tell that it didn’t look good.

I crawled on my hands and knees to the next door neighbors house. They called the police. Then I remember being taken to hospital. I had to have a blood transfusion. Back then there was no crisis rape counselor just mental health who I saw a man one time and decided I had to get through this alone. They sent me another base to get away from the incident. T

he man went to Leavenworth for 4 years, yes 4 years. I suppressed the whole incident for years. I had a eating disorder for years a form of control of something with my body. I went through 3 marriages , several thoughts of suicide and 1 attempt.. I am 57 years old and I still have nightmares, I am on total disability. I managed some how to stay in the Air Force for 20 years. I don’t think anyone has an idea unless it has happen to you. I pray one day that maybe I could have a normal life. I haven’t given up yet.

Military Women are strong, we learn to adapt to many things in a man’s military. We just didn’t know we’d have to endure rape to be strong.

Airman afraid to report rape.

Jennifer, United States Air Force

I did the same thing Mikayla Bragg did in an effort to appear fine when in reality I was falling apart inside.  I didn’t want my Chain of Command to know how and why I felt the way I did because I was judged, threatened, expected to “suck it up”, and my treatment and medications were used against me.  I, too, was scheduled to go to Iraq in 2008 and had weaned off my medications so that I could do so.  The VA was not willing to sign off on allowing me to deploy because they were afraid that I would have no support if something was to happen to me (they knew that I was trying to be strong but was ready to fall apart).  I tried to fight them but in the end could not continue to hide the information from the military because of Q21 on my security clearance.  Had I been supported from the get go (1999) and allowed to get the help I needed without worrying about how it would affect my career, I could have got healthy a lot sooner.  But, I was not supported at all.  I felt I had to hide the information from my Chain of Command because it was used against me.  I was judged as being “crazy”, “on happy pills”, “a national security risk,” and “weak”.  This type of treatment only compounded the PTSD.  I had no confidentiality if I did get help because everyone in the Chain of Command was informed. This also ties into why PTSD for MST survivors is so traumatic.  The assaults themselves are very traumatic, personal, and shameful.  We wouldn’t see nearly as many PTSD claims as we do if it wasn’t for the continued abuse, judgement, and mistreatment by those in our Chain of Command.  Instead, I would have still been serving my country while getting the help I needed to be the best soldier I could be.

‘Fell through the cracks': Could Longview soldier’s death have been avoided?

Raped at Chanute AFB and raped by a foreign soldier.

DM, United States Air Force
I am currently NYANG AGR..(full time guard). The weekend of the end of April I went on a drinking and anti-depressants and Ambien binge. my life was flashing before my eyes and I needed it to end. I ended up as a non-voluntary admit on the Psych Unit of the Syrace NY VA Hospital. (they were wonderful)

I enlisted in the Air Force in 1977, I went to Chanute AFB for Avionics School. I was having some difficulty with the class, a SNCO in Training called me in to counsel me. After a get to know you conversation, he said it was a rough day, “how bout I get you some chow off base?” I gladly said yes. Fast forward..he offered a quid pro quo..he could get me assigned to another base immediately OJT, no Tech School. All I would need to do is provide him with oral sex. I was 18…from a single parent home, welfare, etc. I complied, after a couple of weeks I received orders for my base and new AFSC.

Move on to 1980, I was the first female on Diyarbakir AS Turkey. Had many problems there, and after much pleading with the Chaplain…got assigned to Incirlik AB Turkey. I worked mainly 3-11 shifts. This was during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and Turkey was under military rule. One evening on my way back to my dorm after my shift, I was jumped, pulled behind one of the huts and raped by a turkish soldier. I immediately walked to the base hospital and reported the rape. I was fairly well cared for at the hospital, they did what seemed like a rape kit, I spoke with Security Forces and they said they would take care of it. two months later, hearing nothing and having a really difficult time…

I spoke with the Doctor on duty, I was feeling really crappy. I was pregnant. I went to my First Sgt and broke down, he was extremely non-supportive. I should have known better than to walk alone, I culd have fought him off cause the Turks were small, was I sure that was what really happened? I demanded he speak with security forces to see where the investigation was going or I was going to file with the IG. About two weeks later I was offered a discharge due to pregnancy. I was so beaten, I felt so let down, that I accepted it.

Fast forward to 2008…I found my military stuff from back then including my health records. The pages from the rape exam were gone. I didn’t look at them when I was doing all my discharge paperwork. The past two years I have been battling depression and anxiety by myself. Self medicating with alcohol..finally spoke with my Primary Care Dr. and got sleeping pills and anti anxiety meds….four days of my life are gone, I have no recollection, but through counseling I cme to see what my problems have been, where my depression and behavior comes from. However, it has been so long, and added stressors at work…I am now just paralyzed. I’m still in the service but on admin duties, I don’t fit in, have no friends, just my husband..he has been fairly supportive but I have done many bizarre things over the years, that he is fairly numb too.

I will be 53 in a few weeks and I am just so exhausted. Thirty plus years, and I can’t recover. My substance abuse counselor thinks I have PTSD/MST..but there is no record of the assault..he put in into my records with the VA. But you know what? it really doesn’t matter. I don’t believe I will ever like myself, ever really trust anyone, ever feel whole….

Jennifer Norris speaks at the National Press Club

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.