My Duty to Speak

Army War veteran/MST veteran adjusting to going back to school.

Anonymous, United States Army

I am a 28 years old Army war veteran. I am suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that resulted from being raped while serving. I am a student attending a small yet prestigious liberal art college. There have been talk on here about military sexual assault survivors returning to college and I have added my two cents but feel that there is so much more to say.

I went back to classes today after a long weekend. I was able to complete most of my work and academic wise I am doing fine. Emotionally I am a mess when sitting in my classes. I sit in the back seat always, partly due to my PTSD and safety and partly because I feel that nobody should have to see me. I sit quietly with tears rolling down my eyes. For no reason other than I feel like an outside. I feel like I am ostracized. I simply do not have anything to say to the 19 years olds in my class who are living without a care in the world.

It is being ostracized that is the worst. It brings such emotion from my time in the Army that I feel like I am back every time I step inside a classroom. I know that my classmates are not doing it on purpose. I  know that I do not make myself the most approachable while wearing my BDU blouse and sitting in the back crying but the hurt is still all the same. I can put on a fake smile and pretend to care about the keg party that is going on that evening but quite frankly I could care less. I don’t want to change who I am to make friends. I want to make friends who understand what I have been through.

Most who attend my college are wealthy, suburban kids straight out of high school. They were just starting high school, some were still in Junior High when I was being raped in a war zone.  They do not have much real life experience. At times I just want to scream that there is more to life than the mall.  I want to scream to them that there is more to life than parties. I want to scream to them that I WAS RAPED. I WAS TOLD THAT I AM A LIAR. I LOST MY CAREER. DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW THAT MAKES ME FEEL? Instead I keep quiet and sit in the back alone.

We do not have a veterans organization or support on campus. Veterans Day came and went with more thought on being another free day off than the meaning behind the day. Like last year I requested a ceremony to honor our military on Veterans Day and they felt that it was not appropriate. They instead display books on Veterans in the library as we are some sort of case study and said that they are doing more than enough to observe Veterans day. Last year during a showing of the film Lioness I requested to be part of the panel to  answer questions about the film. I was denied because I did not have enough experience. I did not have the credentials or the degree to speak about women at war. According to my college a PhD who read books on combat has more credentials than a war veteran to speak about war.

My college  wants to put me on a medical leaves of absence while I deal with my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The idea of not being able to go back to college in the spring scares me. The idea of not having anything to do next semester scares me. I was actually looking forward to the spring semester and felt that it’ll be a change from the norm. I signed up for 2 on-line course, an internship, leaving only 2 classes to be taken on campus one is the internship class which only meets a few times a semester so pretty much just one three credit class which I think was manageable. The Dean of Students contacted my Professors and a couple wrote back saying that I make them feel uncomfortable, that I make them feel unsafe. I sit in the back of the classroom, alone and do my work. I am sorry that I make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. I am sorry if being a quiet, depressed veteran scares you. I fought to protect your freedom and I’ll never hurt you.

I feel the same emotions that I felt when I received my discharged papers. I am no longer wanted. I am broken. Something is wrong with me. As I watch my classmates without a worry in the world caring more about the keg party than the final papers I feel envious. I know that they have a greater chance of graduating college than I do. I know that they have a greater chance of being happy than I do. I know that they have a greater chance of living out their goals than I do. Yes I am envious of them.


My Duty to Speak

Air National Guard Recruiter Rapes New Recruit

Jennifer, United States Air Force

I joined the Air National Guard in 1996.  Like everyone else, I had to go through a recruiter.  I was in the process of applying for civilian police officer positions.  I decided that joining the National Guard would not only be exciting but would supplement my resume and my income.  I am very patriotic but I didn’t realize how much until I joined the military.

Shortly after joining the Guard, my recruiter, invited me to a “new recruit” party.  I was very excited about meeting new people.  The party was held at the recruiter’s house in a town about 45 minutes from where we were stationed.  I arrived at his house and the only people there were his neighbors, a couple.  One of them was in the Air National Guard with us.  No one else showed up that night.

The recruiter immediately proceeded to commence in drinking games.  It was his idea and he was the one serving all the drinks.  We played quarters.  I am horrible at quarters so he kept insisting that I drink and he kept serving me more alcohol.  At one point, I had like five or more shots in front of me that he tried to pressure me to drink.  After a little while, I started to get annoyed.  I refused to drink anymore and didn’t care if I had 10 drinks in front of me.  I wasn’t going to drink regardless of how much he pressured me.  I eventually got up from the table and left the room.  When I stood up, I felt dizzy.

I went into his livingroom and laid down on his couch.  The recruiter and his neighbors stayed in the kitchen and continued to drink.  I passed out.  When I woke up, the neighbors were gone, the house was dark, and the recruiter was carrying me into his bedroom.  I couldn’t move.  I felt like I was outside my body watching everything.  The recruiter raped me.  I was physically unable to resist and mentally frozen.  After he was done with me, he turned his back to me and went to sleep.

I passed out again and awoke around 4 or 5 in the morning, it was light out.  I woke up in a panic, confused about what had happened.  I put my clothes on and darted out of his house.  He continued to sleep.  I showered when I got home.  I couldn’t face that I was raped.  I felt so ashamed and blamed myself for being stupid.  I should never have gone to his house in the first place.

Because he was in the Air National Guard, the chances of running into him increased.  I couldn’t face what had happened so I avoided him like the plague.  It wasn’t hard to do if I stayed out of the main building at the Station.  I found out later that he had invited one other new recruit that I worked with.  The other new recruit told me that he couldn’t find the recruiter’s house so he went home.  He chocked it up to bad directions but I knew that it was intentional.

While attending technical school training at Keesler AFB, I met a fellow Air National Guard member.  We got to talking about the recruiter.  He told me that his female cousin wanted to join the Air National Guard and was also invited to a “new recruit” party.  She, too, had been sexually assaulted by this recruiter.  As a result, she did not join.  My blood boiled when I learned about this information.  I recognized the pattern immediately.  I was so upset that I called the recruiter at work, flipped out on him, and told him that I was going to turn him in when I got home.  I told him that I knew what he had done to the other woman as well.  He hung up on me.  I needed to get through my training knowing that when I got home, I would deal with him.

When I got home from technical school training, he was gone.  He had quit a job that people just don’t quit.  He had walked away from all the years he had put in and his retirement; he was a Technical Sargeant (E-6) in an AGR position (active duty Guard).  I heard that he had moved to North Carolina.  I felt satisfied that I had made an impact because he left, he was gone, and I didn’t have to turn him in and risk harming my career.  I never wanted to see him again.  I never told anyone, not even my friends and family, what happened.

I think the recruiter drugged me.  And I never want to experience that out of control feeling ever again.  As a result I rarely drink.  When I do, I keep an eye on my drink and I am with people who make me feel safe.  I have a hard time when my husband sleeps with his back to me.  It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it triggers me because of that one night.  I am sickened that this man is still out there preying on other innocent victims.  He is by all accounts a serial rapist, using the same modus operandi.  This was the first of four perpetrators I encountered in the first two years of service to my country.

Coast Guard, My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard admits to covering up rape, sexual assault and hazing.

This is what Sabrina Elgammal, a Coast Guard public affairs told a rape survivor because public affairs were fed up that the rape survivor was speaking out about her rape.

As per the request of the survivor we can forward the entire thread to CGIS or Headquarters if they choose to investigate.

My Duty to Speak

Raped At Naval Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois

Anonymous, United States Navy

I left for Navy boot camp when I was 18 years old, fresh out of high school, on August 12, 2002. I was my happiest and had more self esteem than I ever had my entire life when I graduated from boot camp. For the first time in my life I actually felt like I had made my father proud and my father and I grew closer from this experience. Then about a month after I graduated from boot camp is when my life hit rock bottom again.

Here is my story:

Right before Thanksgiving in 2002 (November 22, 2002), I went to a hotel party with two of my shipmates that I considered friends from boot camp (one a male and the other a female). The two friends I went with were in a dating relationship.

I had only been out of boot camp for about a month. I was at IT “A” School in Great Lakes, Illinois. The majority of the people at the hotel party attended IT “A” School where I attended. I didn’t know most of the people because I attended the evening classes at IT “A” School that went from 1630 to 0100. Most of the people attended the day classes from 0730 to 1600. The people I went to the hotel party with ditched me.

I’m not sure who threw the party or rented the hotel rooms but about 8 rooms were rented for the night and party. I hadn’t had a single alcoholic drink all night. I drank water. I even took care of a guy who was so drunk that he was throwing up for about an hour then he passed out. I talked to multiple people in the room for several hours. I stayed in the same room all night in hopes my “friends” would come back for me and it would be easier for them to find me when we were ready to go.

I had talked to this one guy for several hours. Him and I started making out. We made out for about an hour or so. People kept coming and going from the room until about 2AM. Once it was just my rapist, the passed out drunk guy and I left in the room and the guy I was making out with noticed it was just us in the room, he started touching me between the legs with my pants on while making out with me. I pushed him away from me enough to tell him not to touch me on the vagina.

What happened after this is very cloudy to me because I can’t differentiate between what happened to me when I was raped and when I was molested when I was younger. I will explain more of this later in this writing. What I do know is that I was pushing him and squirming to get free but he was too strong and I was too weak to break free. As he penetrated my vagina with his penis I blacked out and had flashbacks of what happened when I was molested by my great uncle from when I was 4 years old until I was 6 years old. When I came back to reality, the guy was walking out of the room. I put my panties and pants back on. As I was walking out of the bedroom, I saw a used condom on the floor.

I went to one of the other hotel rooms because I was looking for my “friends” but they weren’t there and I couldn’t get ahold of them by phone. I had no clue how to get back to base since I was new to the command and fresh out of boot camp. I stayed in the room because there was all females in the room and one guy. I tried to act like myself. I fell asleep in one of the two beds in the hotel room since I was exhausted and just wanted the night to be over.

I woke up with two other people in the bed (the guy and a girl). The guy was in the middle. I woke up with the guy laying on his side facing me and caressing my boob and trying to touch my vagina. I knew he was drunk so I didn’t flip out. Instead I rolled onto the floor purposely but made it look like I didn’t do it on accident. At this point I was so exhausted I just wanted to sleep so I went back to sleep.

In the morning, I was one of the first ones awake so I called one of my close guy friends who friend/roommate had a car. I begged him to come pick me up. The whole ride back to base I was quiet. Once I got back to base I went straight to my barrack’s room and laid in my rack and cried. My guy friend who came to pick me up knew something was wrong and kept calling me on the phone and asking me what was wrong and I kept telling him, “Nothing. I just want to be left alone.” He tried getting me to go to the movies with him but I didn’t want to leave the barracks.  Since I wasn’t acting myself, he sent my friend, *****, to my room to check on me. She kept questioning why I was being so distant from ***** (the guy who picked me up from the hotel). I just told her I was tired and wanted to be alone.

So on Monday morning, November 25, 2002, before PT, I talked to my best friend, ***** ****** from back home and told her what happened on Friday night. We cried together on the phone. She said she felt helpless since she was half a country away and that I need to tell someone so after I got off the phone with her I told ***** about it, ***** flipped out and said I should tell *****. At PT that day, Monday, I told ***** what happened but wouldn’t tell him who it was. He was pissed. That evening, I went to class at 1630. On my dinner break I called ***** again and talked to her more about it and cried some more. When I went back to the schoolhouse my eyes were puffy and red. As we were awaiting the arrival of our instructor, IT1 *******, I started crying uncontrollably. My class leader, Petty Officer *****, took me outside to talk about why I was so upset. All I told him was, “Don’t worry it will all be over on Wednesday.” He asked me what I meant by that but I wouldn’t discuss it. Once IT1 ******* arrived, Petty Officer ***** pulled IT1 ******* and I outside and told IT1 ******* what I had said and IT1 ******* then looked at me and asked me what I meant by that statement. I told him not to worry about it. He told me if I didn’t tell him what I meant then they will take me to the hospital to be evaluated because he would take it that I was suicidal so I told him what happened. What I meant by it will all be over Wednesday is the guys were due to transfer to a new duty station in 2 days and I wouldn’t ever have to see them again.

The MA’s (Master-At-Arms) were called and I told them what happened, they took a report, and they assigned a sexual assault advocate to me. The next day, November 26, 2002, I was called to go down to NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Services) to give them a sworn statement in which I gave them my statement to the best of my knowledge in the emotional state that I was in. I was never told that I could have someone present with me while I made my statement. I saw my counselor, ******* *****, at the Fleet and Family Support Center and told her what had happened. I had been seeing this counselor ever since I got out of boot camp. Not sure of the date but I was called into NCIS for a second time and they took a second sworn statement under duress.

I was referred to a psychiatrist at the Naval Hospital by my command and forced to go see her on December 18th, 2002. I was sent there to be assessed for risk of harm. At that time, I was assessed to be low risk. She explained to me that people don’t generally see a counselor and a psychiatrist because they pretty much do the same thing so I chose to continue seeing my counselor, ******* *****, since I was already established with ******* and felt comfortable talking to her. The guy who raped me and the guy who sexually assaulted me both were released of charges around January 2003, I believe.

On March 5, 2003 ( a week before my graduation from “A” school), I arrived at my schoolhouse for class and my instructor told me that I wouldn’t be attending class that night and that I would need to report to the legal building the next morning. Even though I questioned why he couldn’t give me any information.

On March 6, 2003, I appeared at the legal building and was advised that I was being charged with falsifying official documents and statements (Article 107 of the UCMJ). They wouldn’t give me any more information that that except that I needed to report back to my schoolhouse for placement. The only document I received from legal was a copy of the charge sheet. I went back to my schoolhouse was told that I wouldn’t be graduating from “A” school with my class and depending on the outcome of my case would determine if I would receive my certificate of completion. I was directed to report to the Holds Petty Officer, CTR1 *****, so I did. I caught my instructor in the hall and spoke to him briefly since he knew my situation and since he was one of the sexual assault advocates on base. I explained to him what was going on and told him that I didn’t know where to turn to and that I hadn’t heard from not got any guidance from my sexual assault advocate. He recommended I contact JAG to get some sort of legal representation. At this rate, within days, my emotional and physical health deteriorated and I became extremely suicidal.

Every time I left my barracks room, I was called a slut, a whore, a cunt, a tramp and various other names by guys that were friends with my rapist since they all lived in the barracks next to me. It wasn’t until later on that I found out that a ton of people claimed that they were there and that it was consensual. I spoke to *****, the guy friend who picked me up from the hotel the morning after it happened, on the phone. It was then that he advised me that those people came forward and said that they were there because the two guys were well known on base and the two guys were knocking on tons of people’s doors in their barracks telling guys to vouch for them and say they were there when it all happened. How can they be witnesses if they weren’t there and there was only three people in the room when it happened including my rapist and I? I went back to the psychiatrist because I needed help.

At this point, I had no self worth, didn’t trust the Navy as a whole, had no respect for the Navy, and felt very betrayed. I knew there was no way I could be stationed on a ship with a bunch of men and be okay emotionally. They put me on medicine (Celexa) but they did the opposite for me. I discontinued the medicine at the advice of my doctor and refused to try any other anti-depressants because I felt like a lab rat and didn’t feel comfortable trying different kinds until I found one that worked. At one point, I told the psychiatrist that I was sexually active and that I knew what I was doing was wrong and felt dirty for doing it but that I couldn’t control myself. She explained becoming sexually active is completely common for someone in my shoes because it’s easier to give in then possibly be put through a rape again. I signed release forms for my JAG Officer, my psychiatrist and my counselor to share information with each other. My JAG Officer also requested my records from the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office from when I was molested from when I was 4 years old to when I was 6 years old and when my great uncle was charged with such charges and incarcerated in State Prison from such conviction.

My sworn statements to NCIS were a little different since when I gave my statements in detail I couldn’t determine nor differentiate between when I was raped and when I was molested. I do know I yelled NO several times. Even to this day, I can’t tell which event happened during the rape and which happened during the molestation. I can see what is happening to me but I can’t tell how old I am nor can I see a face on the perpetrator. My JAG Officer told me that even with my records from the molestation and with the emotional state I was in when I gave my sworn statements, they wouldn’t help my case even though I begged to differ. Also, my JAG Officer told me that my current sexual activity would be brought into play and it would definitely appear that it was consensual. He said cases like this never have a good outcome and people never win and are never found innocent. At this point, I had no fight left in me and it appeared that odds were against me according to my JAG Officer so I took the plea bargain that my JAG Officer pushed me to take.

At my court martial, the Navy Officer who acted as the Judge for my case, told me that he believed that it truly happened to me but that he had to sentence me since I plead guilty. He said this after the court went off the record so this was no recorded nor reflected on the court martial paperwork. My mom, my grandparents, my instructor from IT “A” school and the chief from my schoolhouse were there but they wouldn’t allow them into the courtroom. I was sentenced to thirty days restriction, no jail time, no extra duty, forfeiture of 2/3 of my pay for one month, and reduction from E-2 (Seaman Apprentice) to E-1 (Seaman Recruit).

My mom asked my JAG Officer after the court martial why they did this to me and his response was, “The Navy needs these guys more than they need your daughter. “ My command and legal let me have 48 hours of liberty with my family and I didn’t even have to come back to base at any time during that 48 hours.

When I came back from the 48 hour liberty, I checked in at legal and come to find out they counted the 48 hours of liberty as my first two days of restriction. At the restriction musters they had me signing all the restricted people’s walking chits and had me take roll call at the restriction musters. Normally on restriction you don’t get off restriction until the last muster of the day on the final day of restriction. Well, on my last day they let me off the first muster of the day and let me go home on leave for two weeks that day.

I definitely no longer felt safe in the Navy nor did I trust the Navy anymore. My psychiatrist put in for Admin Separation due to the PTSD and Major Depression.

Also, around February, I was hanging out with two of my female shipmates and two guy shipmates. The guy shipmates went to pick up food for all of us after we had called in our order for Chinese food. When they got back, the guys handed each of us our food. When I took a bite, my food tasted a little weird but I was so hungry that I ate it anyways. The next morning I woke up and went to brush my teeth, I noticed my tongue was white. I went to medical right away and come to find out the guys had peed in my food and my food only. I found out that they did this because one of them was friends with my rapist and they thought it was funny. Nothing ever happened to those guys for peeing in my food.

The VA, Naval Air Engineering Station, Lakehurst, and myself have all asked for copies of my medical record and neither the Archives nor Great Lakes Navy base acknowledge that they have my medical records. Both state they don’t have it. I was not discharged due to the court martial but in the remarks section of my DD-214 the Navy mentioned the court martial. It wasn’t until I went to the VA that I found out it was on my DD-214. I recently found out that had I stayed in the Navy and continued with my deteriorating mental issues but served my four years in the Navy, the Navy would have given me an Honorable Discharge instead of a General-Under Honorable Conditions and my DD-214 wouldn’t have reflected anything about the court martial.

It is only because of my mental state that I was discharged not because of behavioral reasons so I feel that I was wronged more than once by the Navy. My DD-214 also reflects that I was an E-2 instead of an E-1 when I was discharged which proves that the demotion that the Navy gave me in the court martial was not reflected in my service record. I never received a certificate of completion from IT “A” school but my DD-214 reflects that I completed the course and I was given credit for such.

My Duty to Speak

Army Officer convicted of sexual harassment and assault . Allowed to keep full retirement pension.

Col. Michael Robertson – a Fort Bliss officer with nearly 40 years of service and commanded the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Afghanistan, will only spend three months in military prison after he was convicted today of sexual harassment and assault; a punishment that most find to be a slap in the face for sexual assault survivors. Upon the end of his prison term Col. Robertson will be able to retire and keep his full taxpayer funded pension.

Continue reading on Army Officer convicted of sexual harassment and assault . – National Women in the Military |

My Duty to Speak

Sex abuse onboard CGC Eagle

We have an international training program at the Coast Guard Academy where we allow foreign cadets to study with us. I was onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle with a cadet that joined us from Northern Africa.  For most of the time on the Eagle I had to put up with his sexual harassment that included being groped, sexual comments, whistling as I passed by and an attempted rape. I was able to fight him off.

They tell you to report all cases of abuse. They drill in us that there is a zero-tolerance policy and support if and when we ever need it. When I took them up for their offer for help I was not helped. I was told that for foreign relation purposes that it’ll be in the best interest of the Coast Guard to not allow it to ruin his tour.  I was told by the so-called “support” that it was culturally acceptable in Islam culture to sexually harass women. In her exact words that repeat in my head to this day was: “In his country women have to cover their entire faces and bodies. This is a culture shock to him. Give him some slack.” They did not investigate my allegations.

My Duty to Speak

Nothing is good enough for this Coast Guard Chief

I wasn’t raped or sexually abused. I just don’t know where else to turn to. Since this past summer I have been having problems with a Chief. He is now on his way to make it to Senior Chief and I don’t understand why they are keeping and promoting a man with such bad leadership.

On Monday it was my turn to cook. I made hamburgers, fries and salad. I asked my Chief if he wanted a Cheeseburger or a burger, and if he wants fries and salad. I put the Cheeseburger on the plate and filled 1/3rd of the plate with salad and the remaining 1/3rd with fries and served him his plate. I did the same for the Bm1. Everyone else got their own food buffet style but the Chief and Bm1 always demand that I serve them.

The Chief was staring at the BM1’s plate and asked him how many fries did he get. Bm1 counted off like 32 or something and Chief freaked out. Threw the plate across the table, pulled me by my arm and brought me to his office for a scream fest. He was angry that I gave more fries to the BM1 than him. In all honesty I did not count how many fries that I gave to the Bm1 and the Chief. I put roughly 1/3rd of the plate of fries and what looks like even to me may have been 2 or 3 less.

Another incident I was washing a boat and Chief came and peed right on it as I was cleaning it. Then laughed and left.

Chief demanded that I give him my bank account information that I refused. He said that he was able to get my bank information regardless because it is in my records from direct deposit so I might as well give him my bank information to save him time. He said that he’ld write me up if I did not give him my banking information. He slapped me. I was scared so I gave him what he asked for.

Everyday there is something that triggers his temper. At times he’ll physically assault me. I feel that no matter what I do that it’ll piss him off. No matter what I would do something to piss him off.

Nothing is ever good enough for him.

I talk to others in the crew and their advice is to ignore him. They think that he is doing all of this because I am a woman and a non-rate. It is all part of the initiation process for enlisting in the Coast Guard. To me it is downward scary. I want to get out.