Message from Panayiota Bertzikis


You are about to read actual first person testimonies of sex abuse in the United States military. A lot of the survivors do go into details about their sexual assault, rape and the military response to the sexual violence.  Reading these testimonies might be upsetting to survivors of sexual violence. Please take that into account before continue reading.

My Duty to Speak started as a writing workshop in Cambridge, MA for Military Sexual Trauma survivors that were hosted by the Military Rape Crisis Center in November 2010. The day workshop was taught by some of the greatest trauma and writing specialists in the country. By writing about what we went through while wearing the uniform, we broke the silence of abuse liberating ourselves while also might be helping someone else who is feeling the same way.

We are thankful for so many survivors who came forward to share their Military Sexual Trauma testimonies with us. As you can read from the testimonies, the military response to rape is often as disturbing and horrifying as the act of rape itself. Want to do something to help survivors? Take Action and call your representatives and demand better treatment for sexual assault survivors in the military. Head over to and sign our brand new Petition to demand better treatment to survivors of rape in the Coast Guard. If you are interested in sharing your testimony go to Be Heard.

My staff and I are always available to you email me at Together we are making a difference and improving the military response to sex abuse within its ranks. However, there is a lot more that needs to be done, and we can not do this without you,  your support and your voice!

With gratitude,
Panayiota Bertzikis
Managing Editor

 *My Duty To Speak is funded by the Military Rape Crisis Center and the Panayiota Bertzikis Foundation.

6 thoughts on “Message from Panayiota Bertzikis

  1. I think what you are doing is so noble. I have served with many men and women in the Coast Guard that been raped and then made out to be liars and forced out of a career. You are a very brave woman to stand up and give a voice for the many who was forced into silence. You are a perfect example of a noble Coast Guardsman.

  2. I read about this on I served in the Coast Guard for 17 years. I know of 4 women that reported rape and each and every single one of them were told that they were crazy and lying and got kicked out of the Coast Guard. Not once have I seen a man accused of rape be punished. I admire you very much for your courage.

  3. I’m a male and afraid of joining the military because of rape. I have anxiety and some phobias too. But joining the military is my dream. Do you have any advice ?

  4. I am so thankful that you have created a place for the voices of the innocent to be heard. I have read the accounts of the different crimes that took place, and I am very concerned for my daughter. She is 19 and wants to join the Navy. At this point I’m thinking NO!!!! Thank you for creating this site, and all that you’re doing to support and help the healing process for so many.

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