Coast Guard, My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard ignored rape allegations cost young woman her life.

by NFM….United States Coast Guard

My niece was in the United States Coast Guard and was raped. She reported it and they told her that she was lying to get attention. They never did any official investigation even though many times she requested it. For over a year she had to work under the direct command of the man that raped her causing even further damage. Summer 2009 she was separated from service for reason of Personality Disorder, a condition that she does not have. She spent many months after getting out of the Coast Guard in a deep depression afraid to leave the house except to go out and buy booze to drink away her problems. In January 2010 she was found by her little sister. She had a fatal overdose on prescription drugs given to her by the Coast Guard that she held on. In her journal she wrote that she could not handle how she felt from being raped and the deep betrayal that she felt from the Coast Guard. She wrote of severe hazing on her ship, being raped, and the Coast Guard reaction to the rape.

I hold the United States Coast Guard 100% responsible for what happened to my niece and to the hundreds of other women that are raped. The Coast Guard still denies that my niece was ever raped and won’t take responsibility for her death.

Thank you for reading this. I sent this email to the Coast Guard Commandant and no response.

Editor note: The Commandant ignored her email like they ignored her niece’s rape allegations. Contact the Commandant yourself and say that this and all rapes in the Coast Guard are unacceptable and that the Coast Guard should do more to protect it service members.


Phone: 202-372-4411

My Duty to Speak

Rape at Camp Pendleton, United States Marine Corps

Sarah ,United States Marine Corps

I joined the Marine Corps in 2003. In 2006, at age 22, I was a LCpl stationed in Camp Pendleton as a Russian Linguist. I guess it’s fair to say I was a partier… I drank several nights a week to the point of drunkenness, occasionally to the point of blacking out. I’ve since learned my lesson… On August 26th, 2006, my friends and I had been drinking in the barracks, “pre-gaming”, waiting for a friend to get home who had promised to take us out and be our DD. When he got home, he took one look at me, apologized, and said I was clearly too drunk to go out. He was concerned it wouldn’t be safe considering my level of intoxication and that it was likely I wouldn’t even be allowed in at a club at this point. I shrugged it off and my friends and I decided to just keep drinking in the barracks. I don’t have much memory of the rest of the night, but I do recall at one point walking past the perpetrator. He was a supervisor of mine, a Cpl 12 years my senior. I had talked to him at work about running, but that was about it. I didn’t really know him. Honestly, I looked up to him, as most of us junior Marines did. He was older, seemed more mature than the rest of us. It was well known that he didn’t drink, or cuss, or smoke, and he was always wanting to talk about God to everyone. Our command adored him. I saw him in a friend’s room. He was standing in her doorway as I walked by. I remember being embarrassed that he saw me as drunk as I was. I APOLOGIZED to him for him having to see me like that! Ugh! Makes me so sick to think about now… He laughed and said, “Oh, that’s alright!” And I kept walking. The next thing I remember, I woke up in his room with him on top of me. I found out through the investigation what had happened: He had come down to my room later in the night. I was there with some friends. He asked me to come watch a movie in his room. Since I was nearing the point of unconsciousness, a friend of mine that I don’t even remember seeing that night apparently answered for me, said yes, and helped carry me up to the perpetrator’s room. But I passed out soon after getting there, so my friend suggested calling it a night. My friend asked the perpetrator, “Is it cool if she just crashes here tonight or do you want to help me carry her downstairs?” The perpetrator told him it was cool to just leave me there… that he would take care of me… The only words I remember from the whole incident were after he raped me: he asked me if I thought God could still love me after what I had just done. I think a combination of having dissociated and still being so drunk are what kept me from responding, but I remember those words…

Completely confused and devastated (not to mention, still drunk), I wandered around the barracks and found a group of shady people hanging out by the smoke pit behind the barracks. They offered me drugs and I took it. For all I know, it was an aspirin, but the point was, I had no clue what I was taking or who was giving it to me, and I honestly didn’t even care at that point. Definitely not something I usually do… I mean, I had just been horrendously violated and it had been suggested to me that God could no longer love me… I was feeling pretty low… I didn’t want to report it at first. I wasn’t even sure if it counted as rape. With my memory as hazy as it was, I kept trying to convince myself it was probably just some sort of misunderstanding, that I must have said or done something to make him think I had wanted him to do what he did. But I wasn’t handling it very well. I was breaking down at work; hiding in the bathroom, crying. Not eating, not showering, not sleeping. So a few days after it happened, I asked a friend what she thought about such a situation, hypothetically… She told me I had to report it and she called our battalion EO Rep, thinking he was the guy to talk to. He came to my office and took me outside to talk. I told him what happened, leaving out the perpetrator’s name. I asked him if that was even rape, and how I could get into counseling because I was recognizing the fact that I was not OK. He demanded I tell him the name. I asked if it would be kept confidential. He said yes. So I told him the name. THEN he told me he wasn’t really the EO Rep, that he was just filling in while the EO Rep was away, and that he was required to report it by law. And that I, too, was required by law to report it. Thus started my personal hell…

My command told me from the beginning to not tell anyone about what happened, “for my own good”. They told me that my safety was “their first concern” and that they would see this through to the end. So they said… In reality, they did everything they could to drag my name through the mud and punish me for having reported it, despite the fact that I was forced to do so!! I was frequently told that I needed to just forget about the incident, and “treat him with the respect his rank deserves!” I suffered a lot of psychological stress (diagnosed with PTSD), several breakdowns at work, hiding under my desk, running away from the office, locking myself in my boss’ office, crying during a battalion hike, having a panic attack during a PT session. All because my command never honored their promise to keep me safe.

Initially, I wasn’t even moved from the office in which the perpetrator worked. I asked (begged) to work a crap job as a guard for a top-secret building. The perpetrator didn’t have a clearance, so I knew he would never be there and I would feel safer there. I was told that would be “special treatment” (despite the fact that it’s the kind of job that newbies are given when they first come to the battalion because NOBODY wants that job!) so they couldn’t do it. I was never even moved to another barracks like I was promised. I was forced to live below him for the next 2 years, constantly in fear, living in paranoia of what could happen. Their solution to that was taking a restraining order out against me (??!!) saying I needed to stay away from the perpetrator, unless it was work related. I was given the “consolation” that it was mutual: he would be forced to stay away from me unless it was work related, too. How nice… I told them I wouldn’t sign unless they took out the “unless it’s related to work” clause. I didn’t want to be forced to work with him. Again, I was told that would be “special treatment” and that I needed to put “personal drama” aside when at work and act like a respectable Marine, treating him with respect and professionalism. This was mere weeks after what had happened! I was in counseling and even saw a psychiatrist to treat me for the anxiety and panic attacks, the sleeplessness, and the severe depression. My command forced me to hand over my list of prescriptions (which I learned later they had no right to do) and told me that it indicated that I was too crazy to deploy or continue performing my job. I was told that I was a “threat to national security”.

They suspended my top-secret clearance, stripped me of my position on the deployment roster, and sent me to work for Area Maintenance. I spent 5 months there, picking up trash along the side of the road with “rejects” from other battalions. Area Maintenance is where you send Marines who are considered useless or troublemakers. It is also where other battalions had sent male Marines who were currently being investigated for rape. So I frequently had to listen to other perpetrators tell stories about how the girl “had it coming” or why she “deserved it”. And every time I communicated with my command, it was again thrown in my face that they didn’t believe me, that they adored him because he was a fast runner and he didn’t drink, and that I just needed to move on.

I had one female lieutenant, who didn’t even have any right to know about my situation, seek me out because she thought she “could help me – speak to me – as one female Marine to another”. She told me, “Well, what he did was capitalize on an opportunity. That’s not really the same thing as rape. You know that, right?” I was constantly being made to feel like I was the crazy one for being hurt by what had happened. They even suggested just charging us BOTH with “Inappropriate Barracks Conduct” as a solution to the whole thing! Him, for having raped me, and me for having drunk hard liquor when I knew only beer and wine are allowed in the barracks. Oh, they also suggested charging me for “drug use” since during the investigation I admitted having taken something from someone that night, even though the rape kit I did revealed no drugs in my system. In all odds, it was aspirin of some sort, but since I admitted that I didn’t know what I took, my command tried to jump on the chance to charge me with drug use… Seriously? Threatening someone for reporting something when they were forced to report it against their will?? THIS is the Marine Corps?? But my command was good at covering their bases. They did conduct the NCIS investigation, as they are obligated to. The thing that’s messed up about that, though, is the right to press charges lies solely with my command. I have no rights in this arena. NCIS has no rights in this arena. Just my command. So, NCIS came back with the results of the investigation, which just listed the facts: “he says he knew she was drinking, but that he didn’t realize she was drunk. She says she was passed out drunk and barely remembers anything. Everyone who saw either of them that night confirmed that she was visibly drunk and he was sober.” The end.

First of all, you would THINK that this would be enough, considering both California and military law say that any alcohol at all equates to inability to legally consent, but nope… They didn’t seem to care about that. I had begged them for a lie detector test, but they said they only issue lie detector tests if the perpetrator denies having “had sex” with the girl. For some inexplicable reason, they can’t ask “Did you know she was drunk?” or, “Did she seem incoherent?” or even, “Did she seem to be enjoying it?” Nothing like that. All they ask is, “Did you have sex with her?” and he had already admitted that. So they denied my repeated requests for a lie detector test. So everything came down to “he said/she said” (why everyone else’ testimony was useless is beyond me… chalk it up to another failure in this system). NCIS insisted that the decision to press charges or determine criminality was with my command. My command insisted that it was up to NCIS to tell them if he was guilty or not. NCIS said they couldn’t make that call, it was up to my command, so on and so forth… My command insisted that the results were therefore “inconclusive” and that their hands were “tied”. Told me once again that I needed to get over it once and for all and put it in the past. That I needed to “give them an honest day’s work”. Like I was somehow a bad Marine for having PTSD. One MSgt even took the liberty of telling all of his junior Marines about my situation, telling them that I was a lying whore trying to ruin the reputation of a “good Marine”. He told his whole office. Probably about 30 Marines… And since I had been advised by them from day one to keep my silence, many of my friends (who weren’t involved in the investigation) had no idea what had happened and were still friends with the perpetrator. I can’t even begin to explain how painful that was… Seeing everyone revere him as this super-Marine, while I was silently suffering from this hell, often wishing I were dead.

Since my command had failed, was now refusing to let me transfer to another battalion, and was now forcing me to go back to working with the perpetrator, I decided to go beyond my command. I emailed news stations, I called lawyers, I wrote to senators and governors (both my home state and California), and I even contacted the base IG (Inspector General). Nothing happened. News stations never replied. Lawyers told me they would love to help but couldn’t touch my case since it was the military. I was advised by my advocate not to trust JAG. She said their primary goal is to support the battalion command and that they would just take anything I might tell them and use it against me, to help my command shut me up. The politicians either told me that I was out of their voter range (not a citizen of California, and no longer living and voting in my home state) or that my command had done everything they were legally required to do. The IG came and talked to me a few times, but that was about it. I vaguely remember there having been a brief investigation into my command’s actions, but since they conducted the NCIS investigation, and that’s all that’s legally required of them, there was nothing to be done. They are legally allowed to refuse to press charges, no matter what. The more pressure I tried to bring down on my command, the more they mistreated me. I had gained weight from the depression and was placed on BCP. Basically, we worked out at lunch everyday. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, except shortly after I was put on BCP, the perpetrator, who had been promoted during this investigation, was put in charge of BCP! I was forced by my command to report to him everyday!!! And they don’t understand how this contributed to my mental instability??? I had my psychologist, my psychiatrist, and my victim advocate all lobbying for me, begging my command to take me out of this situation (and many other situations just like it) for the sake of my mental health, but all requests were denied as this would be “special treatment”.

Finally, after almost a year of fighting with my command… I gave up. I had sacrificed my clearance, lost most of my hair, gained about 30 lbs, and about lost my mind. I was completely defeated and had nothing left in me to keep fighting this system. I “moved on” in the sense that I started running and getting back in shape, working on me. I became very bitter and hardened towards the entire Marine Corps, feeling let down by a system that makes it illegal to sue your boss, no matter what they do to you. Upon giving up, I was called into one of my bosses’ offices and “congratulated” for having moved on. He congratulated me for giving up!! Again, this is the Marine Corps…?? A few months later, our battalion CO even held a battalion wide meeting where he told my story (without names) to everyone, and basically patted himself on the back for having helped get me through it! He even said, “I am proud to say that the Marine is now once again a functional member of this battalion because of our ability to step in and take the appropriate measures.” I hid in the bathroom for the rest of the afternoon-long brief crying. I hate him so much for having so callously swept everything under a rug, destroying so much of who I was, and then freakin’ congratulating himself for it! In front of everyone… Needless to say, I am beyond thrilled to now be a civilian. May they never call me back…

Coast Guard, My Duty to Speak

A witness speaks out. United States Coast Guard

John, United States Coast Guard

We had a woman come on our base from another unit where she reported a rape. Before she even made it to our unit everyone knew why she was being transferred and we were told to stay away from her cause we don’t want to find ourselves in a situation that would have her accusing us of rape.

She was assigned to work at the on-base coffee shop and I saw her every morning when I went to get my coffee. Over time I would have small talk with her and she was very quiet and reserved but you can tell that she was a very nice person and not the “lying, crazy whore that was raped” that everyone made her out to be but I still kept my distance and only talked to her a  few minutes each morning.

All the buildings on base are connected to each other through walkways. One afternoon I was walking to another building and saw a group of Coast Guardsmen in one corner of the walkway towards the building. When I looked closer I saw the woman surrounded by the men crying telling them to leave her alone. They were calling her a “crazy, lying whore” and telling her that she will pay for “snitching on their friend” and one said that “you are hot, I’ll love to rape you too”. I made my presence noticed by asking what is going on here and soon all the men backed off and acted like they were not doing anything wrong. They greeted me and left. The woman, her uniform ripped up and her in tears ran off the opposite direction.  I couldn’t even ask her if she was okay but she was obviously very shaken up.

I went straight to the Coast Guard Investigative Office on base to report what happened and the special agent told me that he knows who I am talking about and that the “investigation is a mess” and it is best that I do “not get involved”.   I was forced to leave. Christine Sullivan and Patricia Tutalo from work life was not any better. I knew that if I pushed the issue that my career would be in jeopardy.

Soon after she transferred out of the coffee shop and sent to work in another department and did not see her as often. Then one day she disappeared assuming she got discharged or transferred.

A couple of years later I was on-line and read something about a woman writing about her rape in the Coast Guard. She talked about being placed to work at the on-base coffee shop and made mention of being told “you are hot, i’ll love to rape you too” and I knew that it was the same woman. I tracked her down on facebook and sent her a message. She was a bit hesitant  at first, I would be too but over time we started to talk. I saw this on facebook and decided to submit my story to get another perspective of what is happening in our military.

Some of us do want to help but we are threatened by special agents or military police that we should “mind our own business” and our jobs are on the line if we do not. Now that I am out of the Coast Guard I can speak more freely. I do wonder at time how her story will be different if I spoke up and tried to help her.

I hope one day that she can submit her own story but for now this is how I witnessed what happened to her. I am a father, a husband and a brother and one of the women in my life were brutally raped and I know how rape affects victims and their families.

My Duty to Speak

a Marine speaks out about her rape.

Anonymous, United States Marine Corps

I was 21. I was from a small town. All my life, I heard my parents tell me how bad I was and how they didn’t want me. I already knew that from the frequent beatings I took. One day I was beaten pretty severely and forced to sleep outside in my pajamas in below freezing weather. I decided right then that my life was going to change and I was going to do whatever I had to do to get away from a horrible situation. The very next morning at 830 on the dot I showed up in the recruiting office. The Marines were the ones in the office and so I went with them. I went down did my testing and was approved. Three days later I shipped out to Paris Island. I thought I was so lucky… I had no freaking clue what I was in for!

I made it through boot and I made it through MCT. I had so much hope that I was going somewhere in life. I felt like I had a new chance but then I got to my MOS school. I went out for drinks with my classmates. I had more than I should have which I didn’t realize because I had never been a drinker. I was brought up in a bible thumping home. I got up to go to the bathroom and didn’t realize that a fellow classmate was following me. He forced his way into the bathroom shoved me down started punching and hitting me till I was on my back. He ripped my pants down and raped me. Then he started to say hateful things to me horrible things that I can’t bring myself to share. He spit on me called me a whore and left me crying on the bathroom floor. I somehow managed to compose myself. That was one time in my life I was thankful I had been beaten all my life. I was able to fall back into survival mode and appear everything was normal. I dressed my self as best as I could being that my jeans were broken. I called for a cab and went outside to wait. My rapist had the nerve to come outside touch my shoulder and ask me if I was okay… like he didn’t do anything wrong. I managed to calmly say yes I am fine. Once again thank god for those beatings because it allowed to remain composed. They allowed me to know how to survive in scary situations where I feared for my life.

I got on base and went directly to the SNCOIC and told her what had happened to me. She literally laughed in my face started making fun of me saying things like don’t come bitching to me because you had sex and changed your mind. I just stood there staring at her. I couldn’t believe she was saying these things to me. Oh she made all kinds of fun of me and enjoyed it sent me to my room and told me not to leave. I thought perhaps the MPs were coming or a higher SNCO, but no one ever came. The next morning, my Gunny came to me and asked me what had happened. I told her and 2 days later, I was brought before the FSGT for conduct unbecoming of a Marine and for lying to an investigating official. They NJPed me! My rapist? Not a damn thing! Not only that they didn’t even seperate us.

Every single effing day for 3 months straight he tortured me and tormented me. He spread all kinds of rumors about me to every person in that place. Before long, I had no friends and was labeled a whore and liar by the FSGT who would not allow me to have weekend liberty. You know because a sh*tbag like me didn’t deserve it. They put me on every sh*t detail they could find. They called ahead to my new unit and told them that I was a whore, liar, and troublemaker. As soon as I got there the CO called me in his office and said I know how your kind is and I don’t want any trouble from you. Of course it didn’t matter I got NJPed 2 more times. Once for smoking my NCO told me I didn’t get a break like the rest of my squad which of course he didn’t tell me until I had already lit up. I didn’t get it put out quick enough for him. The second time, it was because they hazed me in the field for several hours straight and I finally looked at them and said eff you I am done playing your game. I know what you are doing and I know it’s wrong and I will go to the IG over it. The next morning guess who was in the CO’s office again getting NJPed? Yep me. I started drinking all the time. I didn’t care anymore. I would even come to formation so drunk other Marines would literally have to hold me up. I drank the majority of my time in the Corps away. It was easy to ignore the remarks when I was too numb to care. There was one man who was also a Marine who cared enough to try to help me and as luck would have it we ended up together and married.

I was discharged from the Corps with a “personality disorder” I got some disability but the VA refused to acknowledge that I was raped, but they offered me free rape counseling services! Thanks VA that was awesome not. My rapist got away with it and was allowed to continue serving. I am angry so very angry! I am mad at my parents and I am mad at my rapists and most of all I am made at the officials who covered it up and the VA for helping them! I feel like screaming this is MY life you screwed up how can you not care what you all did to me?!!! Yea I get it I shouldn’t have been drinking, but that doesn’t give him the right to beat me down and rape me or ruin my life and ruin who I was and what I have become now. I wish I had a happy ending, but there are no happy endings for stories like mine. I never got justice instead I was tortured and victimized for 2 years. Then discarded like a piece of trash. I still have the scars on the inside and I know and have accepted that I will never be normal again.

Coast Guard, My Duty to Speak

My rape at TRACEN Cape May, United States Coast Guard

By Stacey, United States Coast Guard

Joining the Coast Guard seemed only natural for me. My Grand-father was a retired United States Coast Guard officer, my father and my three uncles all served with the Coast Guard, with an uncle that was a Master Chief. I grew up in a fundamental evangelical home having been home schooled by my mother and father who has become a pastor since leaving the Coast Guard. At the age of 17 I was on the bus to TRACEN Cape May, NJ to continue the family tradition.

I do not remember much about the rape. It was week six. I was called into the office of my Company Commander. He closed the door and raped me. I don’t remember much else. I remember after it all happened sitting on the floor of my squad bay watching my shipmates as if everything was in slow motion. Sitting there, numb. I could not cry. I think they called us to go somewhere or something cause I remember them all leaving. I remember just sitting there and my lead Company Commander (not the rapist) coming in looking for me. He was angry that I was not in formation and kept on asking what was wrong with me but I could not respond. He sent me to medical. I remember the medics asking me questions. Ridicules questions and I could only nod yes or no. I was sent to the hospital in town. A friendly nurse asked what was wrong but I could not respond.I was mute. I could not talk. She finally asked if I was raped and I nodded yes and started to cry. A rape kit was conducted at the hospital. Because of the level of emotional distress that I was feeling I was required to stay several nights in the psych. unit.

When I returned to TRACEN Cape May I was reverted to an earlier company. It was their way of separating us. I still saw my assailant at the chowhall and he found it fun to pick me out in line and question me on Coast Guard-related material. It was not much different than what every other recruit had to do only difference is that I was doing this with the man that raped me. He was eventually told not to speak to me and by doing so they moved my chow hour till after everybody left the mess deck. Not only was I being pulled away from my company to be investigated and questioned but was also ordered to eat alone. That Sunday I went to the religious services that was offered for all recruits. The Chaplin allowed me to use his phone to call home. I left a message for my parents.

On Monday and every Monday after that for almost six months I was reverted to an earlier company. I received orders to Seattle but because of the rape allegations I had to remain in Cape May until the investigation was complete. Instead of allowing me to graduate and assigning me a temporary position somewhere in Cape May they instead decided to revert me. I know week-six of Coast Guard bootcamp like the back of my hand, I did after all repeated it 23 times.

The investigation was a very difficult process. They questioned me close to 20 times often repeating the questions as if they were hoping that I would give a different response and change my story. I did not. I was asked why I went to my Company Commander’s office. What recruit will say no when her Company Commander calls her to their office? They asked if I was flirtatious to him. I was 17 years old being raised and homeschooled by conservative fundamentalist evangelist I do not think I knew what being flirtatious even meant. They also asked what I was wearing and told them my uniform just like every other recruit. The rape kit was “misplaced” and eventually they blamed me for losing the rape kit. It is against policy wherever you go to give the rape kit to the survivor but was to be kept by the hospital or law enforcement officials to review for forensic evidence yet somehow it was my fault for it being misplaced Almost six months later the investigation was concluded and they found “not enough creditable evidence to prosecute”. Years later I was unable to find a copy of my investigation and medical records from the Coast Guard. I was able to locate my hospital records from the civilian hospital that shows that a rape kit was performed. I was allowed to graduate and during graduation I could not find my family in the stands.

I had two weeks off before I had to report to duty. I went home and my mom answered the door and acted like it was any other day. My dad did not even get up from the couch. My Grandfather that lived upstairs in our duplex did not make an appearance. Something was wrong. This was not the welcome home that I was expecting. I went to my room and went to bed. The next morning everybody in my house exploded. My family was embarrassed and angry at me. My Grandfather, in his 35 years of service knew of only three rape cases and in each case the woman was “lying”. He was angry that I became “one of those girls”. My uncle agreed with him. My mother, being very fundamentalist religious was most concern about my virginity-or lack of and how pre-maritial sex looks in God’s eyes. I guess there is a quote somewhere in the bible that says that women who are raped are at fault and we should have fought till we die cause we are useless if we are rape victim and better off dead. I just remember her repeating it constantly to me. I was now a sinner. I spent the remaining days crashing at a friend’s house before making my way to Seattle.

In Seattle a shipmate picked me up from the airport and first thing he asked me was what did I do to get in trouble. I did not understood his question. It turns out that TRACEN Cape May told the crew of my unit that I was being delayed in Cape May due to an investigation, that is true, but it was interpreted by the crew that I was the one being investigated. Less than six months later I was being separated from service.

I was not welcomed back home. Because of my age and no job I was having difficulties renting an apartment in Seattle without a co-signer. I did not even own a car that I could live in. I met some people and went through a downwards, self destructive path. They introduced me to drugs and alcohol. The VA rated at 100% for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I used the disability money to self medicate because the pain that I was feeling from the rape and betrayal was so severe that I only knew how to numb it with alcohol and drugs. I knew I needed to improve my life. I ended up in a college class room. I never completed that semester. The kids in my class were around my age and living without a care in the world while I was dealing with a rape, being betrayed by my shipmates, my family and my country as well as being homeless. I moved constantly, mostly with men who were no good for me. I was battling severe addiction problems. I ended up in Boston at a party where I met my future husband who was a junior in college. We hit it off pretty well and I crashed on his couch for several weeks till he told me to get myself a job or move out. With his help I went through intense treatment for alcohol and drugs and finally made my way back to college and this time I graduated. We got married and moved to Washington DC for Graduate School. I landed a job working with the Congress where I am still employed today. I have a two years old son and another on the way. I have been sober for close to 10 years.

It is not all a happy ending though. My family is still not speaking to me, not even to see their grandson. They are even angrier that I went public with my story. However I do have a new family now; my son, my husband and his very supportive family. I also have my sisters, not sisters by blood but sisters in that we all served and all we been raped. Most importantly my little sister and the only person that I can call shipmate. I met her when she stood on the steps on Capital Hill telling America that she was Active Duty Coast Guard and a rape survivor. I remember just turning around and telling her “me too” and automatically we knew what each other went through and built a bond that won’t ever be broken. That is my family now.

I am lucky, I have a fairly high position working for a Congressperson and access to the entire Congress at my fingertips. But what about other people? It’s my duty to do whatever I can to stop this abuse and I hope by sharing my experience that anyone who feel that they are at the very bottom and do not see a way out that there is help out there and you can continue to live a very successful life despite what we went through in the military. If you told 19 years old me living on the street that one day I’ll be working for a Congressperson and be married with kids I wouldn’t have believed it but as long as you surround yourself with people that want to help and get professional treatment you can get better. It does get better but we need to work for it. I still have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and extreme anger by what happened to me in the Coast Guard but I need to take that anger and channel it in a positive way that would make changes for the better.

Coast Guard, My Duty to Speak

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.

Coast Guard, My Duty to Speak

Sorry, my fault.

I was raped and they said that I wanted it then they said that I was lying then they went back to saying that I asked for it so I told them to make up their mind-Was my rape a lie or did I do something to ‘get myself raped’? and they went back to contradicting themselves; that I wanted it, that I am lying but I deserved it- then they discharged me from service.

That was how it went. That it how it always goes. Every survivor, every story. We are all told that we deserved what they think never happened. Cause you know we deserve being raped or being assaulted or being killed just cause we are the female

and we are the ones that chose to drink- but it okay for our comrade to spike it with GHB?

Our fault cause we are the ones that chose to go hiking with a shipmate-but it is okay when our shipmate throw us down on the trail, punch us in the face and rape us?

Our fault cause we are the ones that chose to use the latrine in the middle of the night – but it is okay when a fellow soldier follow us and rape us?

and we are the ones that are fulfilling every man’s fantasy of seeing a “hot woman with a rifle”.

Yep, our fault.

Cause we wanted to serve our country, cause we been raped and beaten–or killed.

Our fault cause we are young or lower ranked or pretty.

Our fault cause we chose a career that is male-dominant.

Our fault that our shipmates, our comrades, the very men that we signed up to take a bullet for choose to rape us instead.

Never mind you did say that–we are all liars, right?

that we are just out to ruin a man’s career-cause you know we signed up to defend our country, attend basic training, MOS training, deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan or out at sea for months without seeing our families, get raped just because we wanted to RUIN A PRECIOUS MAN’S CAREER. Yep, that is exactly why we walked into a recruiter office when we were 18NOT.

Or we are lying out of regret and remorse for “getting drunk and sleeping around” cause you know, it is our fault for being drugged, after all you did consent when you are passed out from being given a date rape drug, right? Well not exactly.

When we watch our rapists be set free with nothing more than an Article 15, it is our fault for not receiving justice, cause after all you claim to have a “zero-tolerance policy“so if we did not receive justice it is something that we have done wrong even when about ninety-percent of all accused rapists never see their day in court?

and when we are found dead you claim it is suicide, cause a 5’1 woman can shoot herself with an 40 inch long M16, cause it is still our fault when we are no longer breathing for doing what is physically the impossible?

Ninety-two percent of sexual assault survivors report being INVOLUNTARILY DISCHARGED FROM SERVICE FOR REPORTING A SEXUAL ASSAULT but it is the man’s career that matters? Cause we are the ones with “personality disorders” and “adjustment disorders” or whatever the bogus misdiagnoses is of the week.

Cause it is the man’s military and a woman has no place in it, right?

One in three females in the military report being sexually assaulted, so are we all liars or are we all sluts or maybe, just maybe the thousands of women that reported rape in the military were telling the truth?

my fault for thinking that the military actually cared about its sexual assault survivors. sorry.


Written by Panayiota, United States Coast Guard


Coast Guard, My Duty to Speak


It all started when a local newspaper published my rape story. I was called into James Freeman office to be told by James Freeman, Lt. Patricia Tutalo, Lt. Thomas Gwilliam and Commander Joseph Segalla to no longer speak to others about my rape. They were angry that I, an E-3 took it upon herself to inform the public that I was raped and that my command did absolutely NOTHING TO HELP ME. They were concern not about their lack of response to help a shipmate that was raped, they were concern not about the threats that I was receiving from my own shipmates but instead they were concern on how this would this look like for the Coast Guard reputation.  The next day I was handed a DD-214 and knew that I was given the liberty to speak.

The next few years I had the opportunity to share my story with members of the Congress, on national television and in several books including one that been taught in college history classes nationwide. I shared my story while on stage before 20,000 people and shared my story one-on-one with the new XO of the very unit that I reported my rape, in the very room. Each and every time I get to share my story I become stronger and know I am no longer that E-3 rape victim but a woman that survived something horrendous and lived to speak about it.

As I share my command’s response to my rape allegations, the civilian public jaws drop. How can a woman, in this day and age be treated so horrific and straight out backwards just cause she was raped? I have to remind them that what I went through while serving my country is nothing unique. It is happening to as many as one in three women in the military as well as many men. In the year 2011 right here in the United States of America rape survivors are still not being believed, being blamed for, losing their careers and at times murdered for reporting a sexual assault.

I know the pain of betrayal far exceed the physical pain of the assault itself. I know how it feels like to be treated like a criminal just for being a victim. I know how it feels like to lose your career while watching your perpetrator go unpunished. I know how it feels like to walk on base and hear “whore” or “liar” be thrown your way. I know that what I went through in 2006 has been going on for decades and it is still goes on today. I know that I do not want any more of my comrades, my vet-sisters, my shipmates to go through what I went through which is why I am sharing my story.

I am  inviting you all to do so as well. If you are a survivor, a family member, or a service member that witnessed abuse please share your story. Together, with the public knowledge of what is really happening in our military we can put an end to the truculent treatment of Military Sexual Trauma survivors.

To share your story visit: Be Heard


Coast Guard Station Burlington VT and Coast Guard Boston