G, United States Army
I have hidden inside my career as a nurse and a lifetime student with multiple masters degrees too long. It’s time to let others know that this is a long term problem in the making. We can no longer hide behind the screen of “if you don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen” attitude of our previous generations, and of the military.
On the night of November 27, 1986, I was very sick, running a very high fever with a sore throat, lethargic and “quarantined” to the second floor of the barracks by myself due to being sick and coughing so much. In the middle of the night, I felt someone feeling my face, throat and chest. I could smell alcohol. The more I moved, the more the Drill Sgt. touched me and the more aggressive the sexual assault. Early the next morning, he woke me to go to sick call, telling me not to say a word, and that I had enjoyed it. He further elaborated that no one would believe any way because of my past. Somehow he knew that I had been kidnapped and raped when I was 13, and that manipulation was pretty effective. It was at this point that I became very reclusive, refusing to be anywhere that could place me in the same area as him, although this was near impossible.
On January 5, 1987, I qualified at the range with my rifle. Due to being sick again, I was trucked back and forth from the range. I came back early, disassembled my weapon, cleaned it, put it back together, and hung it on my bunk. I laid down on the bottom bunk and fell asleep. I was not awakened to turn my weapon in with the rest of platoon. Before long, I was grabbed by my collar and ripped from the bunk, hitting my head on the upper bunk, and then slammed up against the locker wall with blunt force to the right side of my body. I was pinned with my feet dangling above the floor by him. From the corner of my eye, I could see the female Drill Sgt. as she topped the stairs, she was yelling about the crashing noise. She saw me pinned, said ‘oh shit’ and walked backwards down the stairs. He let go and I dropped to the floor landing on my right hip and coccyx. I was told to turn in my weapon and report to their office. I reported to his office and they were both there. He told me that I could be court martialed for leaving my weapon unsecured. He said he knew that I was still sick, and would let it go this time. The female Drill Sgt. left the office and there I was, alone with him. I was scared to death considering what he had just done to me, and what he did to me in November. He threatened to hurt me again if I ever repeated any of these instances to anyone, and said that he had just lost his cool because he and his wife had been arguing and fighting about his drinking and not coming home. I just nodded until I was released.
The next morning, I was hurting in my shoulder and down my right side. I had a bruise on my forehead and on my right hip. At physical training, my shoulder kept popping out of socket, and I couldn’t raise my arm above my head. It was January 7, 1987. The AC joint was swollen and tender and my arm and my shoulder were swollen. The shoulder was back in the socket. I was placed in an immobilizer and placed on a profile. I was referred to orthopedics that same day. I told the Chief Warrant Officer (orthopedic DO) what had really happened with the Drill Sgt. in November and on January 5th.
Chief told me to keep it quiet and put in a referral to Social Work Services on January 8, 1987. I never got an appointment. No one did anything to help me. I learned at the age of 13 that I don’t win. The person who raped me at 13 got 3 years of probation and a psychiatric evaluation. I was scared to pursue anything, completely believing that I would be the one hurt again, and he would walk away laughing. Once in Europe, I tried getting help. I wasn’t sleeping and my migraines were out of control. I was still seeing and orthopedic because my collar bone was permanently dislocated at the base of the neck and liked to migrate to my airway from time to time. I finally got to see someone in psychiatry in Frankfurt, Germany, records of which have disappeared.
I had told TOP, 1st Sgt. everything that had happened in basic training after the Drill Sgt. showed up at the post office I was working at a few months before my discharge. I was too terrified to write any of this down, much less tell anyone else about it. I felt like I was in a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ horror of my own. I have had nightmares, waking up screaming and fighting in my sleep due to the nightmares ever since. I have grinded my teeth down to almost nothing. After a medical discharge because of the shoulder injury, I had to eventually have an inch of collar bone surgically removed. The VA is trying to say that my PTSD is due to my trauma at age 13, that assumption is right in only ONE way. It prevented me from going after Drill Sgt. and avoiding being blamed for being raped again, that it was my fault and being ridiculed and ostracized everywhere I went in the military.