My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard recruit molested at Tracen Cape May, 2011

United States Coast Guard

I joined the Coast Guard this year. During my time at basic, a company commander from another company molested me. I was at the squad bay alone. I came back from a dental appointment to find that my company was not there. Panic struck cause I knew that my company should have been there and didn’t know what to do.  A lone recruit walking around Tracen Cape May looking for her company would have caused me tons of problems. Instead I assumed that they might be outside doing some IT or something and be back soon.

I walked through the male squad bay to the women squad bay.  Between the two-squad bays there is a small hallway. I was walking quite fast to the women squad bay. I bumped into a company commander from another company and froze. He had the reputation of being the meanest.  My mouth was numb from some dental work and could barely be understood when talked. He asked me why I was running indoors. I apologized. He said that I talk “like a retard.”  I explained to him that I just had dental work done and he asked to open my mouth so I did. He put his hands in and said, “You should take care of your teeth more. Having a cavity is lack of self control.” I nodded.  He ended up pushing me to the wall unzipping my ODU pants and started to finger me.  I did not tell him to stop. I did not run away. I froze and felt that I could see from afar what was happening. With one hand he was fingering me and the other hand he was touching himself. After it was all done he put his finger in my mouth and made me taste myself. He said that it was going to make the numbing all go away.

I did not report it. Reporting anything at basic training is close to impossible. You don’t have that trusting relationship with anybody.  I felt gross. I felt disgusted. I felt like a slut for getting sexually aroused. I could not even take a shower until the evening.

I still think about all that happened. I read the other stories on here. I am sad to see that I am not the only one that been abused this way.  Thank you for reading this. It helped me to be able to share my story.

My Duty to Speak

Soldier writes about her rapes.

Jana, United States Army

Well, here it is.. another night I am up crying and shaking, and with every second my eyes are closed tight, all I can see are the filthy pigs on top of me. Maybe talking about it will finally help me release some resentment I have held since my deployment in 2006? Let’s see, first there was my so called battle buddy, SPC  ****, an older married guy who came off as my friend yet got me incredibly drunk and had his way with me a few times. Telling me all kinds of horse shit any 19 year old would believe. Stupid me for believing he would leave his wife for me. Well, next there was my E-7 SFC *** that forced his tongue down my throat and his hand down my pants after shoving me in a corner after hours. Me, 19 years old, and he, married and awaiting the birth of his first child he KEPT. All the girls swooned over him. I made them jealous, secretly.

Our little secret. I never spoke a word of it because he was in really well with the command. He retired last April as a Master Sergeant with full retirement. If only I spoke up. I came home from deployment in Sept. 2007 (guess this is why these things are haunting me again). I got married in Dec 2007 to my friend and long time infatuation from high school. He joined the Navy and we moved to South Carolina. He cheated on me with a 13 year old (he was 20) and instead of me pressing charges for adultery – the bastard told me to just take everything I wanted. He ended up getting discharged 2 years later honorably due to medical conditions. He’s been married and now has a kid, living happily ever after. I’m. still. messed. up. I never gave myself a relief period from the war to transitioning back into the civilian life. So, now with a divorce pending, what does a girl do? She drinks heavily. She parties every weekend. She shows up to work with a hangover. She has sex with random dudes just to hear she’s wanted, just never needed. I was never needed ever again. I thought feeling wanted was enough, even if it fizzled out after a few days, weeks.

I’ll never forget everyone’s favorite First Sergeant, 1SG ****, who took me out for shots the day I made my E-5 in 2009. We took a shot for every rank I’ve held in the Army, then talked for hours about everything. After insisting he was not attracted to me “like that”, tell me how I end up in his hotel room half naked with him about to put it in? I bolted. I drove on base drunk as hell and cried myself to sleep. The Unit Victim Advocate and CDR counseled the 1SG with me in the room, and he was put on “probation” for six months. I left the unit on voluntary terms, and later found out he was promoted to Sergeant Major. So… I speak up… and he gets promoted?

My most haunting experience was when I was at a local bar in Beaufort, SC with some Navy friends of mine. We were celebrating a friend’s birthday, and I got really drunk and didn’t realize my friends left me there alone. I started being a social butterfly and ended up going home with random Marines. I remember walking up to the house and what the hallways looked like. I remember telling him I would sleep on the couch, I just wanted to sleep. I remember him taking off my jeans and my statement “Ahh no, I didn’t shave my legs!” then I woke up the next morning, completely nude and look over and he’s laughing at me. I’m like.. “Uh, did we have sex?” He laughs again and was like “Duh”. He takes a shower and I’m left smelling like a used condom. I saw it on the floor and was so hung over and in shock I didn’t think to keep it for evidence. At first I didn’t think it should bother me, I’ve hooked up with dudes before… but this just made me feel horrible.

I did a rape kit and police report..5 days later. I was still unsure about what I should have done. The guy lied on his police statement, so I never went further with charges. He got off clean. Just like all the other assholes. I ended up contracting chlamydia from this asshole. Talk about feeling like a dirty slut. To this day, I am still haunted by these memories. It has ruined every relationship I’ve had since I returned from Iraq. I do not trust males in my units. I feel like I’m a joke to the military – like I can be pushed around because I’m so easy to walk all over.

I’ve been in 6 years and honestly I’m over it. I want out. I harbor so much pain and animosity and feel like no one is listening to my silent screams. I’ve been suicidal since these events. I cut up my hips really bad.. so I wouldn’t be attractive to anyone. I didn’t want to be hurt by any more filthy pigs. I don’t want to be the joke anymore. After my last suicidal episode last month (overdosing) I was put on Celexa with the VA. I’m hoping to FINALLY start seeing someone for MST counseling. At this point, I don’t know what they could do except NUMB the hurt. The memories will always be there.

My Duty to Speak

MST Veteran feels left out

Mary V. United States Army

In 2007 I was raped 6 months into my services with the Army. I reported the rape and my rapist were never prosecuted. Instead, I was viewed as being mentally unstable and as a result lost my career in 2008. In 2009 I enrolled in school to take advantage of the GI Bill and had a difficult time.

I attend a large state school. We have tens of thousands of students and we have a very active veterans organization. The first group on campus that I joined was the Veterans organization. I was treated with a cold shoulder yet still wanting to be accepted I will continue attending their meetings and events.

On Veterans’ Day we had a dinner event on campus. We were given stickers to wear for which conflict we were apart of. If you were never deployed you do not get a sticker. Each table was dedicated to each conflict. If you served in Iraq or Afghanistan you get the two best tables in the house up front. If you served in Vietnam you get the table right behind them. If you were never deployed you get to sit in the back behind the pole behind the professors, staff and others who may not be veterans.

I served a total of 11 months. When the Student Director of the Veterans’ Organization asked me how long I served he said “well you not really a veteran”. An assistant director said that I was “lucky to never have deployed” I wanted to tell them that I wanted to serve longer, that I enlisted with the desire to make it a career then I was raped and forced out but I could not tell them that. I rather have been deployed because I would be viewed as a hero and not a traitor for reporting rape.

It is hurtful when male student veterans won’t acknowledge what us women veterans may have gone through. Through my classes I met other women veteran who are not part of the veterans organization for reasons that they also feel left out.

During sexual assault awareness month I spoke to the veterans’ organization to have an event for military sexual trauma. They denied it and said that it was not “relevant to their mission” so I went to the counseling center and women center who was organizing various events on campus for sexual assault awareness month and asked if I can plan an event for military sexual trauma and they responded by saying that they “can not single out one group of people” and my request to do something MST-related was once again denied.

In the veterans community MST survivors are often shun out and not welcomed. In the feminist community veterans are often shun out and not welcomed. Even among women veterans community MST veterans are often shun out and not welcomed. I posted on a women veterans’ organization facebook wall and they deleted it because according to the admin they did not want women veterans to only be known as having MST but also to be known for all their accomplishments. Surviving MST is an accomplishment in itself. Read the stories on here. We all deserve medals.

Emotionally sitting in class is difficult. I always sit in the corner and that is my safe spot. If I don’t come to class early enough and someone takes my seat I break down in tears because I am overwhelmed in panic.  I cannot have male professors and can only deal with women professors.  It is so difficult. I tried to go to counseling on campus and the counselor did not understand the military structure but did try to convince me that she did because she read an article about military sexual trauma.

It is so difficult being an MST survivor.

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard blames children victims, age 8 and 10, for sexual abuse.

Denise L, Abused by a member of the United States Coast Guard

A year ago today my father died.  My father served in the Coast Guard for 30 years and received an Honorable Discharge and a generous pension. I am a Coast Guard brat. My father was also a pedophile. My sister and I was molested by our father who was at the time a Chief in the Coast Guard. I was 10 years old and my sister was 8 when we finally reported the abuse to my mom who in turn reported it to civilian authorities. With the help of dolls the policewoman in town took down our testimonies and arrested my dad for questioning. Coast Guard took over the case and made my sister and I go into the painful details of the abuse once again, this time without the help of the dolls. I remember the Coast Guard asking me if my mom put me up to saying this and to stop “playing pretend” because it can get my father in trouble. Coast Guard concluded that my sister and I were just looking for attention.

Our mother took us out of state to live with my maternal grandparents while filing for divorce. My father after being issued divorce papers he came looking for us armed with a Coast Guard-issued gun. My mother requested a restraining order but was told that since my father was a member of the Coast Guard that it must done through the Coast Guard channels. The Coast Guard refused to issue us a military protective order. As a result we ended up moving again and a total of 12 times until I was 18 and went off to college.

I was an avid soccer player for my college and newspapers and a google search on my name all comes up with information about my college and my team. One day my father arrived on campus with a Coast Guard issued weapon and threatened me to tell me where my mom is. The campus police arrested him and handed him over to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard chose not to punish him. Thirty years of service in the Coast Guard, two arrests including an arrest for child sexual abuse and the Coast Guard still handed him an Honorable Discharge, bumped up his rank and gave him a pension.

What sick organization is the Coast Guard for telling children that they are at fault for sexual abuse? It is more than just a few rotten apples.  So many people were involved in protecting my father. In my eyes they are all at fault and should be investigated and punished.

I wrote dozens of letters to the Coast Guard and after a year they finally responded by saying that they did nothing wrong and that it was the fault of my sister and I. We were age 8 and 10.