They say a Marine on duty has no friends. Truer words have never been spoken.
My experience in the military has been one of accomplishment, pride, and endurance. It was also heartbreaking, emotionally disturbing, and disappointing. I enjoyed being in the Marine Corps. It was challenging. It pushed me to limits I didn’t even know existed, and beyond. After completing MOS school, I was stationed aboard a tropical island, many only dreams of going.
I was doing well for myself aboard my station, received recognition for achievements, and I was satisfied. I met my husband, and we began our family together. There had already been rumors that there were Marines who were not conducting themselves properly. Our unit had come under investigation, which wasn’t surprising given the fact leadership did nothing to change how Marines were behaving nor how problems were handled. The “keep it in-house rule” was applied for anything that arose from underage drinking to attacks on females in an attempt to keep them quiet. Not my problem. It was “above my pay grade.”
Duty NCO’s are in charge of keeping the peace in the barracks, and I have my own things to deal with. Besides, I didn’t live in the barracks. Around this time, a family member of mine became gravely ill. I had used up all of my leave and was unable to go home. My husband, in turn, went with our son to see this family member as we were unsure whether they would pass due to their illness. I packed up their things and sent them on their way. They were set to return three weeks after their departure. This was my first time being apart from my son, and staying in a multi-story house alone did nothing to ease this. I became very work oriented often spending an additional 2-3 hours after the close of business of the work day. Thing’s hadn’t been going too well at work because a disgruntled higher-up had been removed from his position and placed in my work section. The wonderful joys of dealing with an angry old school Marine who believes women should be making coffee, sweeping the floors, and staying at home. The weekend following my family’s departure was much welcomed and brought about a sense of relief for two days.
As usual, I went over to see my neighbor who husband was on deployment. So, girls night, we had ourselves a couple of drinks and enjoyed watching several shows. Earlier in the day, another neighbor had invited her to come over and partake in a cookout they were having. I was asked to come. We shared drinks, enjoyed some food, and were inebriated by midnight. I called it a night and returned to my house which was down the street. Somewhere along the lines, a Marine I knew had come over unannounced and was at this cookout. I didn’t know or realize until the next morning. I didn’t recall much of the night and much less when I got home to my couch to sleep. Somehow I had arisen in my bed, hair saturated with water, and my vagina was sore. My neighbor said this person had come inside of my house with me and she had eventually left, with him still in my house. Great battle buddy indeed. Anyway, I brushed off the incident since I didn’t remember anything and didn’t want to make a big deal about it. After all, it was nothing right?
The following day after the incident we went to our day, grocery shopping, mall, lunch, the usual things military spouses and members do on the weekend. I didn’t know where my phone was and chalked it up to be a loss in my drunken stupor. Night fell quickly, and I was feeling better about what had happened earlier in the day. My neighbor came over, which on occasion I would be the one over at her house. A fellow Marine I knew was having a rough day, so I invited them to come over as well. We were sitting in my living room and watched movies on my television. I left my door unlocked because I was living on base. Apparently, nothing bad happens on military bases. Ever. In walks the Marine from the other night and it kind of shocked me. I didn’t invite him to come over, and he walks through my door like he owned the place. I didn’t want to start any trouble or anything to that effect. I went to the kitchen and called my neighbor. I told her I felt “weird” and was feeling tired. I went outside with her, and we smoked several cigarettes. After this, I went upstairs to my bedroom locked the door. They continued to drink and talk downstairs. I changed into a pair of pajamas I had and looked forward to jumping in my bed. New sheets and comforter so that when my husband came home, he would be impressed I put an effort to making his return joyous. We had moved in relatively recently and didn’t really have things like coffee tables and decorations. All of which I bought that weekend. I woke up at 3 or 4 that morning to my pajama bottoms being ripped off. I could see his outline, I could smell him. I knew who it was.
My friend, my fellow Marine I had known for a long time, doing the unthinkable. I knew my other male marine friend was in the other room because he would never drive after drinking. I went to yell at him, but he told me not to and covered my mouth. He continued to do as he please, all the while I struggled. I was scared. I was angry. I was hurt. I finally was able to kick him off of me. He went to grab his stuff; I pulled the comforter over my head. I heard the door click shut. I cried myself to sleep that night. The following morning I woke up to another female Marine I was very close to shaking me. She had entered through the garage after my husband instructed her to check on me since neither one could get a hold of me. We were to go to the beach that morning. I moved the sheets to find that I was sitting in a pool of blood. I didn’t know what was going on. I yelled at her and threw her out. It’s always the ones we love we hurt the most. I jumped in the shower and cried and cried until I had no more tears. I got dressed and headed downstairs. The marine who had stayed in the other room was sitting on the couch, after having cleaned up a bit. I sat on the sofa and told him everything. He asked me what did I want to do. We both knew if I said anything, bad always comes down the pipeline. I wanted to pretend that nothing happened. I knew if I said something everything I held to be good and right in the world would come crashing down and it would make the Rape real. It’s still difficult to say he raped me. We went to the gas station so that I could fill up my SUV. When we got there, I saw my friend. She had been through the same circumstances. I grabbed her and hugged her and told her everything. She held me close and said you need to speak the police. I looked, and she said I can’t. I’m scared. You know what’ll happen. No one will believe me. She respected me enough to let me make that decision on my own. Later that day I mustered enough willpower to tell my husband what happened. I reported the incident to the police.
I knew once I said this it was going to become a mad house in my battalion. It had taken a long time before the police convinced me to give them his name. Marines would call me a liar. I was ridiculed and forced to sit through SAPR training which contains a reenactment of rape. Worse of all, I would have a battalion that would not support me and force me to work with this Marine, in the same unit, only 10 feet away every day. All the Marines I knew would shun me and turn their backs. Marines would drive by and yell obscenities as I walked down the street. I said what was happening to me after I reported the rape to the Battalion Commander. I was told not to complain and ‘Duty before self.’ I was discharged from the Marine Corps four months later. Several other female Marines came forward with their stories of rape from the same Marine. After seeing how I was treated, all retracted their statements. I don’t blame them. A Marine on duty has no friends. No room for doubt in the Marine Corps Fidelity.