Raped by a Coast Guard Captain and why I didn’t report it.

by Bethanny, United States Coast Guard

I was a 21 years old MK3.  A Captain (O-6)  in my unit solicited the crew for babysitters for his three young children. Myself and an E-3 volunteered to do so. Alternating weekends as our duty schedule allow us we’ll take turns babysitting. This went on for over a year and I grew to love the children, his wife became my mother away from home and I was sad when I received orders to another unit and had to leave the children. On my last day of babysitting I was at his house watching TV, the kids were already upstairs asleep when his wife and him came home from a wedding. The Captain was slightly intoxicated. His wife went upstairs to check on the children while the Captain remained downstairs with me. Since it was my last day I wanted to say a proper goodbye to his wife so I stayed downstairs for her to come back down. The Captain said he has something for me in the kitchen, I assumed it was a good-bye gift or something so I followed him into the kitchen where he threw me against the wall, ripped my clothes and raped me. As soon as I could I ran out of that house and drove home. I never said good bye to his wife.

I don’t know why I did not report it. I was an E-4 and he was of higher ranked and very liked and well respected in the fleet. I also were PCSing to a unit within 03 weeks and he was set to retire in the upcoming year or two. I knew that I wouldn’t see him again after these 03 weeks. The next few weeks were difficult though and he was on my case for everything. He ended up giving me a negative page 7 for being late, something a man of his rank would never had taken the time to do  if it was any other situation, the two shipmates that I car pooled in and arrived at the same time as me were given a free pass. I knew that he was only trying to ruin my credibility in case I ever chose to report what happened.

I spent the next three years on a 210′. His wife sent me an email telling me how the children misses me and how I am always welcomed at their home. I deleted that email. Sometime during that tour I read an article that the Captain retired and quotes from others on how a wonderful human being that he was and how he always put his crew first. It just went on saying how a great person and leader that he was. You know, typical words of praise that someone gets when they retire. I ran to the head and vomited.

I ended up advancing to MK2 and my contract was up. I spoken to the Chief, my mentor at the time, who were encouraging me to re-enlist and stay in the Coast Guard. He saw how passionate I was about the Coast Guard and my job and felt that I could go really far in the service. I think it was a shocker to all when I declined to renew my contract.

What I did not allow anyone to know is how I felt inside. How I go in complete panic mode when I see a man with a Silver Eagle. How I wake up each night from a nightmare that I am back at the Captain’s house being raped. I knew that I needed to leave the Coast Guard to get help and get my sanity back. The summer of 2009 I left the Coast Guard and made my way home to where I grew up in Southern Connecticut. I enrolled in the VA system and sought counseling for Military Sexual Trauma. I attend support groups in New London hosted by the Military Rape Crisis Center and hear cadets and other Active Duty Coast Guardsman on why they too can not report their assaults. I applied for disability compensation and was denied because I did not report it and therefore there is no record that it ever happened. Everyday has been a battle just to live and often I am barely making it.

I do not regret leaving the Coast Guard. I knew that I had no other choice. I do not regret not reporting. the rape. Remember how a wonderful person and leader that this Captain was said to be? Why would anyone believe an E-4 instead of him? I do miss his children though and his wife and fear for his daughters. I just wish that there was a better system in place where we could feel safer to report it. I am now married and have a child of my own and just trying to get my life back together but the pain from the rape is still there and probably would forever be.

12 thoughts on “Raped by a Coast Guard Captain and why I didn’t report it.

  1. MK3 you need to keep trying for the Disability. I know how you feel, been there. I am working on getting my PTSD-MST disability with the help of a great Vet Center in Norristown, PA. I live in New Jersey and have to travel, but it is worth it. You can also contact Child Protective Services about that you worry about his children, you don’t have to give your name. Then maybe his wife will find out what a nice guy he is. I understand where you are coming from on not reporting the rape. But, this is a problem in the military, these guys know that you did not turn him, so now he can be free to maybe do this to others and even if one does report it anything happening in way of punishment is rare. This is the problem with the military, not giving us a safe way to report and basically they are not protecting others who serve or civilians. I hope you understand what I am trying to say. In no way am I saying or blaming anyone for not reporting, I am blaming the good ol’ boys club and the layer of protection that they enjoy. I did not report my rape because the rapist was blackmailing me. When I did report sexual harassment they wanted to turn it on and bring me up on charges.
    I did contact Child Protective Services on several abusers. I hope you understand this, keep going, be strong, get that disability. E-mail me if you like.

  2. I will be posting a blog regarding this very topic some time in the next few days. I hope you will take the time to read it.

    I am a survivor. I know exactly what you are going through. Good luck to you. Thanks for your service. I’m proud to call you Sister.

    Staff Sergeant, US Army Retired

  3. I know how you are feeling, but keep trying for that disability. When I saw my MST counselor at my local VA clinic she warned me not to be discouraged if they deny my claim the first time around. She said to keep trying if that happened. Luckily it didn’t but I know how hurt you must have been by that rejection. Keep going to couseling, keep trying for the disability and try to find a good support network. All the best, Ashley

  4. I feel your pain…Stay strong sister…And thanks so much for your honorable service as a Coastie. Semper Paratus!

  5. What the hell is wrong with these military men raping military women. Do they think that just because you are women that you aren’t their equals? That you’re not really their to fight and serve your country but there for them to abuse and rape whenever they have the whim to? I do not want these kinds of men fighting for my freedom if they can so easily take it from a woman doing the same thing as them. It makes me sick and makes me lose any kind of faith I have in the men serving our country.

    1. The vast majority, 90%+, of all men & women in the Armed Forces are honorable people just as they are in society at large. You can see that in the responses from the others at the station in their comments responding to this blog. There is still a serious problem, obviously, but there is no solution to be found in labeling all servicemembers or all male servicemembers as rapists.

  6. I am sorry that you had to go through this. I wish that you were able to name names cause I am can almost guarantee you that you are not his only victim. Most rapists do not just rape one woman.

  7. I was raped at my first duty station aboard CGC Polar Star. I did not report it either. I was an E-2 and he was an O-5. Fireman Apprentice v. Commander who do you think was going to win?

    I am still in and things has not at all improved. As a matter of fact they may have gotten a lot worse. Perhaps it depends on the leadership of a particular unit but back in the day they’ll drill us non-stop on sexual assault and sexual harassment. I have not had a sexual assault or harassment training in at least 03 years. However it magically shows up that I have taken it.

  8. I’m sorry to hear of all of this abuse of Rank. Please accept my appoligies for the Men who abused there Command Authority. I’m wishing each of you the very best in the years to come.

    Best Regards

    Ricardo Torres
    Lieutenant Colonel USA (Retired)

    1. The UCMJ allows certian people in the military to think their rank gives them rights above any court. I’ve heard so many stories like yours, allow me to say you are not alone and what happened was in no way your fault. This is one of the great tragedies of the Coast Guard that goes unspoken out of fear of reprisal or not being believed innocent by others. I have not right to tell you what to, but I would plead that you don’t allow fear or shame to rule your decision. What ever happens to a person by you reporting their crime is on that person, not you. If his family suffers it is because of his choice to violate your rights as woman and a human being. I will never apologize for such people, and the fact this allowed to happen brings dishonor on the entire Coast Guard. Never give up, there are decent people in the world that are willing to help you stand up for your rights and I pray that God brings those people to you. I’m just an E4 and have no special expertise, but let me know if you think I could help in some way. Thank you for being courageous and telling your story.

      Brandon C. Mitchell
      IS3, USCG

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