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.