My Duty to Speak

The rapes of a U.S Soldier.

Valori Slaughter, United States Army

My name is Valori Slaughter, I joined the Army on December 16, of 1996 and was discharged February 7, 2008 after over eleven years of honorable service. I left the Army with a misconduct narrative because I spoke out and stood up for my rights. This is my whole story:

February 1999 I gave birth to a little boy as a single mother at the age of nineteen. He is now thirteen years old. He is the result of being raped by a recruiter, I was told by my local jag officer that they would not pursue him for rape. He told them he never touched me and a CPT from the Oklahoma Military Department JAG stated that because, “He is an E-7 with a meticulous record and I’m an E-3, who did I think they would believe?” Young and naïve, I believed that they would believe me because I was telling the truth. I was wrong and they explained that too me, despite of my three month old son who happened to also be evidence sitting on my knee. The Major who spoke to me in the presence of now State Command Sergeant Major of Oklahoma as my witness, asked me to please not go to the media in exchange for help with DNA to establish paternity, and at the least gain financial support to help raise my son.

My son is thirteen and DNA has never been established. I had planned on transferring into the Active Duty side of the United States Army and due to single parenthood was held from my goal until 2005. At that time I did make the transfer and join the Active Duty side of the Army. It was a dream come true, and I had long time awaited for the chance to truly serve my country, I felt a strong calling to do so. Financial situations caused by problems from military pay began Causing strain on my family with no money or food; unknowingly coping with past triggers from my assault I found myself in Darnell Hospital on a three day suicide watch after attempting to end my life. The same week that I had been released from the hospital after attempting suicide my squad leader a SSG found it necessary to have me sign a counseling statement releasing him of all liability so that he could bring me to the rifle range. Shortly after the range my husband and I learned I was pregnant. Due to the pregnancy I was transferred into a battalion that was standing up in attempts to give me a little extra time with my child after birth. This battalion was new being completely stood up from scratch. All soldiers were transfer soldiers. I was placed in Delta Company 3/227th Aviation Regiment 1st Cavalry Division, 1ACB, Fort Hood, Texas.

My unit was deployed in October 2006 into Taji, Iraq, just three short months after giving birth to my now five year old son. I went to my command and requested a waiver from my pregnancy profile, I wanted to be there with my unit from step one and participate with them all the way through, this would be my second deployment and comrade is built in the building and tearing down phases of an deployment, I sincerely wanted to be part of my unit. I was able to move back into my shop in November of 2006. This is when the first signs of harassment and inappropriate behavior started appearing. I started being hazed by my squad leader, making me carry an ammo can with, “I lost my ID Card” Painted on the side, and carried on with other forms of hazing all documented in my board hearing. In March another NCO within my section started showing me pictures of his exposed genitalia, and one evening while doing a ground guiding mission he ordered me to come help him. On our 2AM mission in pitch dark he asked me to hand me my hand, not thinking anything of it due to the nature of our job I found myself being forced to touch his erect exposed penis. The next day I approached Sgt R who was my squad leader with that information and he promised he would handle it. Over the course of the next few months not only did the behavior from the SGT S not stop but the behavior from Sgt. R became very sexually charged. Sgt R was now taking advantage of the situation with SGT  S and sexually harassing me himself!

My First Sergeant temporarily moved me to work Battalion level with Sgt. S which was a relief to me. I was happy to be out of the situation completely. The things that my squad leader asked me and the comments that he made were completely not called for. Things like, “do I shave my kitty?” and more and worse. I finally had opportunity to turn in the situation on a Command Climate Survey so that I would not have to face further harassment. I figured this way I could address the issue without attracting any more danger. And I could keep my name completely out of it. In my board proceedings my Sergeant First Class admitted telling his NCO’s to break the confidentiality portion of the survey and find out who answered yes on that survey. So my NCO only had 6 women in our section and he directly confronted all of us. I was not going to lie, but made it clear that this was information given on a Command Climate Survey Anonymously. After being questioned for over an hour by SFC V I finally broke down and told him who and what, he said so that he could prevent this behavior further.

A 15-6 investigation was then prompted as a result of the Command Climate Survey and when responding to a question that asked me at what point did I feel uncomfortable and did it step over the line of being professional to being unprofessional. Apparently the fact that I was there for that conversation being harassed opened me up for an Article 15 for Inappropriate Relations with an NCO. As part of my Article 15 I was given 14 days additional duty where I was supervised by both the NCO who sexually assaulted me, and my squad leader who sexually harassed me following the sexual assault. I confronted my command with this issue and asked to be moved, this request was also submitted in writing to my Brigade Commander who declined my request. I challenged the Article 15 with my chain of Command and had letters written in my behalf to senators and congressman relaying the treatment I was going through. I could feel my eleven years of service being taken from me. I was stripped down to E-3, spoke to my Brigade Commander on the 14th of September who in the presence of Chaplain Fox stated to me that there was not enough information to merit removing me from service. I was informed my congressional had hit on the 16th, and told that my Brigade Commander had changed his mind on the 17th. Before my board I asked to speak to my Brigade Commander again so I could ask directly why he had changed his mind. His response was along the lines of my behavior being that I left the day room crying and such made me look vulnerable and somehow welcomed sexual assault and harassment. That is paraphrased, but I do have the whole conversation on audio and also have had it transcribed as much as possible for evidence.

I was accused of crying wolf, and told by my First Sergeant that there is a Rampant problem in our brigade and that is the reason why I must have a female in addition to three other people in the room with us when speaking to me. And probably the most shocking event was in my actual board hearing when my Commander  openly admitted that he felt like I caused the harassment and assault committed against me, and acknowledges not only that he knew that I had been assaulted but that he did not feel the need to report it to the Criminal Investigative Division. The week before my misconduct board I was raped. The soldier raped me, and told me he picked me because he knew my Command wouldn’t believe me. I reported this rape to the Chaplain who over saw the Mudd House, I turned it into to the Psychologist right after the fact, and was blown off, literally told by the Psychologist that Taji is not the time to get my feet wet. I was not going to be believed. At the least he proved that in the Army’s eye rape is nothing. I kept the rape to myself until after my board proceedings because I feared that my Command would use it against me just as they did in my Article 15 hearing. I was discharged fully honorably with a misconduct narrative.

I was told so that I can go to the VA to seek medical help for the sexual trauma. Common PTSD reactions and responses normal to trauma were pounced on to build a misconduct package to discredit me, besides the intentional scenario’s my command built in order to set me up to make me look like I was not doing what I was supposed to do, when in actuality they were giving me the wrong times and information. I was very clearly being retaliated against by my Command, and it is very clearly documented in tape recorded conversations, meetings, and in my board transcripts.

My Duty to Speak

Active Duty Coast Guard member raped

Anonymous, United States Coast Guard

I was raped. They investigated and found not enough evidence to prosecute him. I still have to see him everyday. I receive text and phone calls from his wife because she says that I am out to ruin their marriage. I reported his wife but they could not do anything because what she is saying is not criminal.

Everyone else thinks that I am a liar. I lost all the friends and support that I had. I can’t live like this much longer. Why doesn’t the Coast Guard care about rape survivors?

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard Alaska Petty Officer charged with sexually abusing 4 year old.

Coast Guard PO2 John R. Blackman Jr has been charged with sexually abusing a 4-year-old boy. According to the Peninsula Clarion, Soldotna Police officers investigated the allegations of abuse after receiving a March 4 call from the child’s mother.

The child was taken to a registered sexual assault nurse examiner in Kenai who indicated the injuries were severe and would require follow up from a medical doctor, according to court records.

Petty Officer John R. Blackman Jr  duties on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hickory has not been affected. Defense attorney Andy Pevehouse even submitted a request for bail modification asking the court to permit Blackman to leave the state of Alaska if he is aboard a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.

Even though we wholeheartedly believe that one is innocent until proven guilty, precautions should be made for the safety, morale and well being of his fellow shipmates. Petty Officer Blackman should be suspended until the case is resolved, and fired if found guilty.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting its own investigation. We hope that they don’t resort to blaming the child, once again.
My Duty to Speak

Command rape at US Navy A-school

Felicia, United States Navy

My story was a bit different than the others. I don’t call what happened to me rape because I voluntarily chose to sleep with him but I also felt that I had no other choice.

It started May 2006 at  A-school. I wasn’t doing that well academic-wise even though I was giving my all. For some reason with all the stress that comes along with A-school and a roomie from hell I had difficulties concentrating and doing well. An instructor in a class that I was doing quite badly  in asked if I needed any extra help. I knew that if I didn’t get the extra help that I would have flunked out so of course I said yes.

In exchange for the extra help I had to perform sexual favors. At first I said no and was going to report him. Within an hour I was called in and was being written up for disrespecting my instructor. He straight out lied and said that I cursed him out when he said that I was on the path on not graduating A-school. I tried to defend myself but with his 12 or so years of working there his words were believed over mine. After that whatever he wanted-sexually wise I did what I had to do. It was the only way to save my career.

Somehow with all of this I passed. I am still in the Navy. Which leads me to the problem of sexual harassment. Everyday on my ship I am being harassed by the men. They wanted me to do a train and I refused so they resorted to calling me a cum dumbster.

One 0-3  did sexting to her boyfriend who is also in the Navy and her photo has been circulated by every man on the ship from the Captain down to the non rate. Instead of punishing the men for circulating this photo she was severely reprimanded and put on probation. When she dumped the douchebag he told everyone that she was a slut that wanted it in all of these kinky positions.  She is being harassed as bad as I am.

Men in the Navy act like horny little boys going through puberty.  That must be because most are not getting any and believe it or not most 18 years old enlisting are virgin and their first sexual experience is with the prostitute in a foreign port town that speaks 3 words in English and is probably a victim of trafficking so she obviously not into it so their experience with girls is slim to none and sure act that way!

Major reform needs to be done from the top down.

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guardswoman writes about rape at Coast Guard in Hawaii.

Update March 5, 2012: With request from the survivor, her victim advocate contacted Coast Guard District 14 (Hawaii) work life office. The  sole Sexual Assault Response Coordinator is on temp. duty in Alabama-working on non-sexual assault related work for the Coast Guard. The case manager was able to speak to Commander Marc Hawkins that was not able to meet the requests from the survivor which was to be transferred to another base. Without support from the Coast Guard the survivor of this horrific rape has to continue working with and seeing her rapist on an almost daily basis. The survivor approve this message to be posted on with hope that with public awareness that the Coast Guard won’t force her to continue to work with her rapist.

Anonymous, United States Coast Guard

When I first joined the Coast Guard I tried my best to fit in. I forced myself to go out and learned to throw back the shots to fit in. I am also in Hawaii so I might as well enjoy my time here, right?

The weekend before Halloween 2011 I was invited to a costume part at the home of another coastie. Most were underage but alcohol was plenty thanks to a PO1. He was the only PO1 at a party with non-rates and non-coasties who were ten-years his junior. He and another supplied the alcohol so he came.

The PO1 is married but rumors were that he been sleeping around with a nonrate. I never have seen them together so I cannot tell you if the rumors were true.

I was drunk. So was the PO1. Four of us crashed in the living room that evening. Me, PO1 and two others slept over to sleep off the booze. The two others were passed out drunk not aware of what was happening. PO1 and I was making out. With beer goggles he was cute. We were making out. He put his hands up my shirt. I pulled them away. He tried again. I pulled them away again. He put his hands up my skirt. I pulled them away. He put them up again and I pulled them away again. He asked why I am wearing what I am wearing if I am not interested in him. I was a nurse for Halloween wearing a short shirt and a midriff top. He threw me down on the couch, grabbed a pillow, put it over my face. I could not breathe let alone scream or fight back. He raped me. He took my virginity.

He pushed me off the couch, handed me the pillow he was suffocating me with and slept on the couch. I went to the other side of the room and fell asleep.

I was thinking. Did he just rape me? No. He did not. It could not have happened. I kept on telling myself that. Of course he did not rape me. I led him on and he took the opportunity to have sex with me. I actually thought that if I left that I would have insulted him. I felt that if I left he would have thought that he did something wrong.

In the morning we all left. I went home.

I tried to put what happened behind me. At work it was never brought up and for good reason. First of all he should not have been at a party that was full of underage people. He supplied the booze which is illegal. I am also no angel. I was drinking. I was not of age to drink. We both are equally guilty of breaking Coast Guard policies.

I tried to act like nothing happened. Mentality though I have been suffering. When I see PO1 ***** I freeze. I physically feel that I am being suffocated by a pillow again. I am not sure if that makes sense.

There is one woman in the Coast Guard that I used to hang out with often. We were friends but not super tight. We were in the living room drinking. She is friends with G who I only met a couple of times before that evening.The conversation turned to sex. That evening the conversation turned to our first time. The only man that I ever had a sexual encounter with was with PO1 with the incident at the party.

This was the conversation:

B: When did you loose your virginity?
Me: umm. Sometime ago?
G: I was X years old. (Don’t remember exact age)
G went on to explain her first sexual encounter giggling after ever syllable.

I felt teary eye. I went to the bathroom and cried. What was I suppose to say? I lost my virginity by having a man put a pillow over my face. He raped me. There I said it. He raped me. PO1 ***** raped me. He raped me. I kept on whispering that to myself punching my head, slapping myself and trying to find something to kill myself with.

I left the bathroom pretending that everything was okay. I said that I had to go. B went by the door, grabbed me by my arm and asked what was wrong. G asked why talk of penis talk scares me. I said it does not scare me but I am tired. I have duty the next day. I want to go home. G said that I became a totally different person when they mentioned the word penis.

I broke down in tears. I tried my best not to. I hate myself for crying at that moment. I was having a break down. I broke down. I told them. I told them everything about PO1 and the night at the party (they were not at that party). I told them everything. I felt so vulnerable. Here I was telling my deepest secret to two girls that I don’t even consider being that close to. Hated myself for blurting out my entire life story just because they asked.

B said:

Petty Officer *****? He is married and screwing ***** on the side. He could not have done that!

Did she really just defend a man that is married and has a little play toy on the side? She sure did.

I stayed and we continued talking. I hate myself for being so weak. I am so desperate to have friends in the Coast Guard that I put myself through their interrogation. Two drunken girls asking me details about what happened.

Was I sure if I had sex with him? OMG what If I was still a virgin.

I was after all making out with him so totally it was consensual.

How about the pillow over my face suffocating? S&M !
(and how much one of them loves it. Forgot which of the two said it)

They concluded that I am not a lesbian as they previously made a bet to each other wondering if I was. They diagnosed me as being heterosexual but suffering from penis-phobia Thanks for the diagnosis Drs.

They did not bring up the rape again but B sure went on a mission to cure my penis-phobia! I don’t hangout with her anymore since she turned 21 a few months back and does nothing but drink right now. Put everything that she did to me aside, I am concern about how much she now drinks. All the drinking though does not stop her from sending me photos of penises both real and things in penis-shapes.

Penis shaped straws? Check!

Penis shaped lollipops? Check!

Penis shaped pasta? Check!

Penis sandcastles? Check!

Penis shaped sand castles. She goes to the beach to build penises in the sand. The penis doctors are going to cure me with penis shaped sandcastles!

After B transferred to another unit it died down a bit. We haven’t spoken in at least 3 weeks.

I see PO1 ***** almost daily. Rumors are he still has his little side sex toy. We never spoke about what happened.

I did a web search for Coast Guard rape and found this website. I clicked on the link for MRCC and they refer me over to a counselor that they are paying for that won’t show up in my Coast Guard records. I love my counselor. I feel much better now that I am talking to someone. I haven’t had another break down like I did when I was with ***** and ***** I do not want to be labeled as a rape victim. I am keeping my head up high.

I know that I will be ok. If anything this made me a stronger and smarter person. I won’t ever get myself into a situation where I am so drunk to be raped again. I am done with partying. I am done with trying to fit in. I am focusing on my quals and doing my best in the Coast Guard. I spend my Saturdays nights home with a good book and I am content with that. I don’t need to go out and party anymore just to fit in. I am a bit of a loner right now but I don’t miss my old life of getting so wasted every time I am off duty. I’ll be okay.