My Duty to Speak

Air National Guard rape

Anonymous, United States Air Force

Unfortunately, this is another story of MST in our armed services. I joined the Air National Guard so that I could serve my country and make my parents proud, with the added bonus of having a full-time job. One of the great things that attracted me to the Air National Guard was the fact that you could stay at one base for as long as you wanted. Little did I know that this would be something I would hate.

My assailant was a family friend. Our families did a lot together with other groups of people, mostly from our base. His wife and I were friends, she threw my baby shower for one of my sons and was there for the birth of my second son. I was a single mom, they helped me move, we exchanged babysitting, and I got to know her mother and sisters. How would I have known he would violate someone who was supposed to be a friend of his wife and kids? Like some other rapes, alcohol was involved.

We were celebrating my criminal’s wife’s birthday and I had one too many. She told him to drive me home so I could sleep it off. One of my good friends helped him put me into the car. He took me to their house where his three children and in-laws were sleeping and took advantage of the situation and exercised a control he would have never had in any other situation. I did say no. My exact words were, “Get off me!”. He showered and went back to the party as if nothing happened.

He forced me into a life that I would have never imagined. I tried to compartmentalize this for as long as I could until I couldn’t take another second of his treatment as my supervisor. When I couldn’t take it any longer (8yrs!), I finally said something to my commander, incidentally she was a female, and of course she looked at me with this blank stare as if I was now adding “drama” to her job that she would have to deal with. He, of course, said it was consensual and feed comments to the commander that I had emotional problems so that I would keep my mouth shut. She actually wanted me to sign a document stating I wouldn’t report this crime. I didn’t. I took this as far up my chain of command that I possibly could. Nothing. I even took it outside of the Base and State, still nothing.

I lost my job, a job promotion, rank, dignity, soul, and more that the military could never give back or make right. “Time heals all wounds.” No it doesn’t. All that time does for us is help us deal with situations differently. Time helps us get up in the morning and brush our teeth. Time helps us want to play with our kids. Time gives us more time that intrusive thoughts get to run through our minds. We don’t heal, we learn. Of course, he was allowed to retire with full military benefits and was never even given an Article 15.

Our command did its best to sweep everything under the carpet. Regardless of what anyone thinks or says, this is a crime. And, I’m not sure what is more criminal, what the assailant did, or what those who we’re supposed to trust to uphold the Integrity that the Air Force advertises did. The reprisal and retaliation was incomprehensible. Integrity? I would have never imagined as a 19 year old joining the military and having all levels of the government fail to keep me safe as I worked to keep them and our country safe.

My Duty to Speak

Air Force Rape Survivor

AirForceLadyVeteran, United States Air Force

This is my story, I became emancipated 3 months after my 17th birthday I passed the GED and entered The Air Force on May 28,1979. At the time, there was a big push to put women in male dominated jobs. This set the stage quite well for the events that occurred. Against my will, I was forced deal with rape, sexual harrassment, threats of harm, being drugged against my will. These numerous intense stressors left me reeling with a lifetime of continuous negative feelings about myself; including fear, rage, confusion and humiliation. As a result, it has since been a history of struggle with physical & mental health. In the years following my service, I was never the same. I was a failure at everything. I was very detached from loved ones, I was a terrible mother, daughter, and sister.

My image suffered. I became morbidly obese, for safety in girth. My obesity resulted in multiple surgeries. I developed poor health, and declining ability to maintain healthy relationships. For survival sake, I’m often anxious, numb, irritable, and depressed requiring medication. I have an eating disorder, I‘m not able to maintain employment. When I entered the service, I don’t recall that there was ever anyone to tell, or places to go to turn for positive female peer support. I wasn’t given any tools or resources to access if I had any issues. Most importantly, one thing for sure…

Never bring any attention on yourself. It was clear… no one wanted to hear about problems. I was told to be a good little girl, and shut up if I know what’s good for me. Just stay out of trouble. But it seemed like trouble always found me. It led to the obvious self-numbing destructive devices and desperation to cope.

Upon acceptance and induction in to the US Air Force 28May1979, I was evaluated both mentally and physically and found to be “Suitable for Military Service” Then, 16 months later I was discharged following a short “Psychiatric Evaluation” that resulted with an Honorable 39-10 Discharge, and a diagnosis of apathy, defective attitude, and unable to adapt to military life. I believe this showed quite a big shift in my mental health in a fairly short time.

In 1979, I don’t believe PTSD was even a diagnosis yet. My delicate questionable mental health status was clearly confused as simply “bad behavior” yet I was trying to scream out for help ineffectively. By today’s standards in Psychiatric Care, the signs of sexual abuse, MST, and PTSD were all there, but misunderstood and misdiagnosed by the evaluator.

Within six months of my discharge I had to seek the care of a Psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with depression, insomnia, and was treated with medication. I was not aware of any available support for me in the VA System. Ever since, in one way or another I have suffered and endured a lifetime of issues including drug addiction, and treatment that span over 30 years. As a result, I never told anyone that I was a Veteran. I avoided it. I did not want to talk about it or explain why I got out early. As far as the military is concerned, I was just damaged goods with a defective attitude, and unable to adapt to life period.

In September 2007, I was hired by the VA Medical Center. As soon as I began working for the VA, I started having nightmares, night terrors, and flashbacks of my entire military career. I was flooded with emotions, memories and more questions. It all steamrolled out of control and turned into a mental health crisis.

From the very first day when I raised my right hand and recited my oath to serve my country, it was obvious I was less than 1% of females in military service. I was young attractive petite, and had an outgoing personality. It was a recipe for disaster.

For me, it all started in basic training. July 4th 1979-Basic Training (Lackland AFB, TX) I was tricked into a male dorm occupied by security police trainees, kept for a time against my will for the purpose of sex by Airman XXX. I was terrorized with fear of what would happen to me if anyone ever found out. Airman XXX was training as a Security Police Officer which made things worse because he used his status to convince me that if I ever told that I would never be believed and he could make certain it would haunt me forever. Besides, I had no one to tell.

August 1979- While in Technical Training School at Chanute AFB, I was asleep in my bed my roommate Airman XXX, was not present. I was awaken by a female Airman. She entered my room through a shared bathroom. She climbed in bed with me and tried to molest me in my room in my bed. Her hands were all over my body trying to remove my clothes. I paralyzed with fear. I was so shocked. I told my roommate but no one else. I learned that I was not even safe amongst women. Also at Chanute AFB, IL, I sexually assaulted by Sr. Airman XXX. He was in charge of a cleanup detail. Our whole squadron was moving out of one dormitory to another building. Part of that was checking beds/linens/mattresses, etc., and he forced himself on top of me. He tried to get my pants off and tried to rape me. I managed to get free, but not before he had an erection pressing hard against my body. I told no one.

That was the way it was for me. I was made to believe at some point that providing pleasure for my peers was my real duty in the Air Force… Moral support for our male troops Just before I left Chanute, I was ill and quartered in the base hospital. It was all coed. I made friends with a male nurse. One night, I awoke to him at my bedside. He had placed his hand under my covers; and molested me. Very creepy! It was surreal and again I was paralyzed, and shocked with disbelief. I thought I was dreaming when I realized what a violation had just happened to me again; like always… I just shut it out for a very long time. As if I hadn’t already had so many confusing and difficult experiences in such a short time.

When I finally left Chanute, in November 1979. It was my first chance to return home to my family. I couldn’t run to home for safety, fast enough. When I arrived at Travis AFB my first duty station, I should have had a clue what I was in for there. On my first day there I was given the name Jail Bait… SSgt. XXX, Jet Engine Mechanic @ Travis AFB, CA 1980. I met at a party 12/31/1979. He was quite charming and persuaded me to celebrate the New Year with a drink I and became too intoxicated( I was not used to alcohol). As it got late, my ride had left, and he offered a ride back to base and took off with me to San Francisco on a drunken ride from hell, it turned into date rape. I felt guilt and shame, as though I brought it on, he worked hard at “being sorry” I allowed him to woo me I was in deep denial and had become used to the abuse…

I became pregnant which resulted in harassment and threats of harm from his so called fiancé. I was told if I kept the baby I would be sorry, and he would never stick around and leave all on my alone to raise this baby. I was never aware he had a fiancé until this situation arose. Threatening notes began to appear on my car, all 4 tires on my car were flattened with a knife in my dormitory parking lot. She would show-up places off base as if I was being followed. I was unknowingly given LSD at a party. It was a horrible scary ordeal. I could not take a risk that the fetus was damaged as a result I had to get an abortion, that I anguished over. I suffered a depression as a result of the forced abortion.

During my inpatient stay in XXX, January 8, 2010. I was brutally raped and assaulted by an OEF/OIF Navy Veteran. I agreed to give him a ride to a 12-step meeting we were required to attend. I was drugged with quetiepine, then raped in my car@ a secluded park. I reported it. He was charged and indicted by the Grand Jury. He was arrested and stayed in jail for 3 months until the case was dropped by the D.A. 3 months later citing she didn’t think she could win, but I know it was political bias since we were dealing with the VA.

My Duty to Speak

Hazing at the Coast Guard Academy

I was at the CG Academy from 2005-2009.  In our first year we took part in initiation games that determined our status and acceptance for the next four years. One such game was that we had to stand in a circle and jerk off into a cup. The last person who came had to drink from the cup. If you did not participate you are called a wus and a faggot for the next four years.

I know many women that were raped.  Probably more than half of the women in my class.   Speaking from first hand experience I’ll never allow my sister or my future daughter or son to go to the Academy. I rather they go the enlisted route or choose another service Academy.  If I had to do it all over again I would have chosen the Air Force Academy or West Point. I am leaving the Coast Guard in a couple of years and fear that having Coast Guard Academy on my resume is going to hinder my employment in the corporate world. The Coast Guard Academy lost it prestige years ago.

My Duty to Speak

Rape at Sheppard Air Force base

Med Ho, United States Air Force

I was raped during my technical training at Sheppard AFB by my “wingman” in 2003. I was 23 and it was my first sexual experience. My rape wasn’t as brutal as many I’ve heard described. I said no. He did it anyway. It was almost as if he thought I was kidding when I said no, despite the unmistakable seriousness in my tone and demeanor. I fought back, cursed at him, and told him to get off of me. I was able to push him off of me fairly quickly. I was not physically injured, given a disease, nor did I get pregnant.

In a twisted way, I felt lucky. After all, one of the first things we were told upon arrival at tech school by the first sergeant himself was that we were statistically almost guaranteed to be raped. At least mine didn’t seem to be as brutal as most. Rape is horrible no matter the circumstances, but you can’t even begin to imagine suffering something like that so far away from home and with ZERO support.

I didn’t report it. I knew better. I couldn’t tell my family because I knew it would devastate them. I finally confided in an instructor because I felt like holding it in was killing me. I had to let it out, even if it was to an almost total stranger. I’m pretty sure the instructor was reprimanded for not betraying what I had confided in him. For that I am deeply sorry.

As for me, I was sent back to Phase I from Phase IV, meaning I was back to to the restrictions of an Airman straight out of basic training. I was also put on suicide watch, ensuring that some strange man or another would be coming to my dorm room every two hours, twenty four hours a day. Keep in mind, I hadn’t even reported anything. I shudder to think what would have happened had I actually officially reported it. I don’t suffer from flashbacks, insomnia, or PTSD. Again, I suppose I should feel “lucky”.

I do suffer from the knowledge that an act that should be a pleasurable expression of affection will always be painful for me. I will never be able to share that part of myself with someone else. I can’t describe the grief that wells up every time I am made painfully aware of that fact, which has been any time I’ve tried to engage in a healthy sexual relationship.

Post script: The ‘med hos’ are what the (mostly female) medical squadron is called. It was called that when I was there in 2003 and a currently enlisted acquaintance says that it still is. Mention the term to any Airman and they will know exactly to which squadron you are referring.