I joined the U.S. Coast Guard October 31, 1983. After graduating boot camp, I was assigned to a small boat station in South Portland, Maine. It was there that I was brutally raped and told that if I told anyone that my face would be cut up with a knife.
The rape was reported and investigated. There was evidence. I was transferred to another duty station. Word spread, and I experienced harassment about proceeding forward with the case. The rapist was a Second Class Boatswains Mate (E-5). He was later discharged from the service.
I requested counseling and the counselor was a woman who blamed me for the rape. I will never forget her saying; “If women would just say yes there would be no rape.” I ended up holding all emotions in and continued with my service.
As time continued, I experienced headaches, body pains, and panic attacks. In 1991 I sought treatment from the rape crisis center in Miami, FL. I was having difficulty with flashbacks and panic attacks. It was there that I was told that I had Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) delayed-onset. I received care through a civilian therapist.
I had to fight for my medical care and went through 2 medical boards and won both. I transferred to New York in October of 1993. The Coast Guard made healing and recovery difficult.
I went to a National Organization for Women meeting in NYC and listened to a speaker discuss (PTSD). I later went to her for therapy. In 1995 I had an increase in symptoms and realized that if I were to heal, I needed to move on and leave the service. I received a disability retirement in January of 1996. I tried to serve 20 years, but my physical body was worn from the trauma inflicted upon me.
After reporting the first rape and experiencing the after effects of reporting, I decided that I would never report a rape again.