The U.S Navy’s Response to Sexual Violence in 2017: Blame the victim. Don’t charge perpetrator.

Anonymous, United States Navy

I was 18 and thought I knew it all. Fresh out of Navy boot camp and away from my strict Guardian I was ready to live my life the way that I thought I should be able to live it. I was finally allowed to leave the base for the weekend and was going out with a guy and a girl I thought I could trust. I didn’t know that weekend would be the one that would change my life. We got our hotel and had gone to eat and have a fun night out on the town. We stopped by a popular hookah lounge to smoke before going to the 18+ club around the corner. While we were there, we saw two guys we knew from the base. They had a third guy with them that no one knew. The guy in our group invites them to join us. I’m not sure when one of them slipped something in my drink, but I think it had to be when I went to the bathroom.

I don’t really remember much after that. I think I lost about 6 hours. We apparently went to the club and somehow all if we got separated. I ended up back at the hotel with the three guys and the other girl. She was wasted according to what I’ve been told and passed out almost immediately. I woke up with the three guys over me. I started flipping out. I didn’t have anything on, and I was in so much pain. They freaked out when I woke up and left. I was bleeding, and I didn’t know what to do so I cleaned myself up and didn’t say a word. For 6 months I tried to forget about what had happened but if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that things like this just don’t disappear. I started having seizures and flashbacks. Everything would be dark, and there was so much pain. It was time to face this monster head on. I was so scared to tell anyone what had happened.

The Navy has a reputation for not believing rape victims. Thankfully I had a very understanding woman I could talk to. It’s been a year and a half since I came forward and since then life has been hell. The Navy sent me to counseling for “adjustment disorder.” They said that I didn’t acclimate well. I got to the point that I didn’t want to leave my bed. I was depressed and suicidal, but no one cared. I was told multiple times that I was just “one of those girls,” that “I must have just regretted it,” and that “I must have been asking for it.” I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. My doctor made me go over it again and again. She couldn’t believe that I couldn’t remember anything. She acted as though I was lying. I was scared to sleep at night because the nightmares had gotten so bad. I became a perfectionist, and everything had to go my way, or I would freak out. I was given anti-depressants and sleeping pills. It finally got to the point that I couldn’t take it anymore, so I downed a bottle of sleeping pills and later down on my bed. I woke up the next day groggy and upset because my plan hadn’t worked so to numb the pain I started cutting. I was always careful to cut where no one would see. Soon cutting wasn’t enough. I started drinking to numb myself and make it through the day. It was to the point that I was drinking before work as well as after.

A Chief at my command smelled the alcohol on my breath one day and took me aside to ask me about it. I broke down. She became one of my closest confidants at that command. I was finally given a fresh start when I was transferred to a new command. It didn’t last, though. People talk, and it wasn’t long before people knew what had happened to me. I was getting the same looks and the same comments. It wasn’t long after that that the Navy decided to force me out. It’s been a rocky road for the past year. I got a new doctor who listened to me. My diagnosis was changed to PTSD. It’s been almost 3 years since I was raped and two and a half years since I came forward. I just found out they are dropping my case. They say I waited too long to come forward and they don’t have enough evidence. I’m now being told that I could be charged with lying in an official statement. This is the reason that women don’t come forward. I know several women with a similar story to mine, and it’s sad that this is how the military works. For people who say rape culture isn’t a thing think about this. A woman can say I was raped and the courts will ask for timelines, witnesses, rape kits, and other things. When the man says he didn’t do it, the court says okay, we believe you.

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Raped at Ft. Hood

I was 19 yrs old stationed with 157 QM Unit Ft. Hood Texas. I needed a ride somewhere the next day. I asked a group of guys sitting at a picnic table that I knew. I said I would give gas money. One of them asked me to follow him, and we could talk about the details. I followed him to his barracks room. He tried to kiss me. I pulled away. He told me I was beautiful. He then choked me and threw me to the ground. As he was raping me from behind, I was yelling for help and yelling stop. It was so painful that I then began praying in my head for him not to kill me until he finished. It was painful. When it was over, he tried to hug me and told me not to tell anyone. I ran out of the room, past the guys at the picnic table to my room. I took a shower and cried. The next day I walked to the police station. I told them what happened and they called my First Sergeant. She called me to her office and said this was all my fault for going into his room. I also told the Commander, but nothing was done.

Soldier raped in Korea

Anonymous, United States Army

I joined the military at 18 because my mother was sick. She died when I was 19yrs old in A.I.T. Two months later I was sent to Korea after being there a month I was raped by a top-ranking soldier. I was already devastated by the death of my mother this just pushed me over the edge. After trying to cope for a few weeks, I couldn’t so I took an overdose of Percocet. At the hospital, I found out I was pregnant with his child. I was horrified. I didn’t know what to do.

In the hospital, I informed my female Sargent, and she told me to keep quiet no one will believe me. She then told me to go off the post in Korea and find a abortions doctor. Abortion is illegal in Korea, and they wouldn’t allow me on a plane until I was 6 months. I had never felt so alone. I gave birth to her, and my family would not allow me to give her up.

She is now 13 and thriving I am a mental case and dying. Its hard enough seeing your attackers face every day, but even harder losing your life and having no help. They did DNA, and it was his. He pays a few dollars a month, but he still gets to live his life. The military refuses to acknowledge my assault. I suppose if it didn’t happen this child must be a ghost. I struggle every day to pay bills, to eat, to care for this child, I have no car, I’m a prisoner serving time. I need help. I was only 19yrs old, what about me??

Three years and finally taking action

Anonymous, United States Coast Guard

I joined in Aug 2011 and went to my first unit in Oct 2011. This was the first time I left my family back at home, and I was on my own. I was living in a place by myself. I was young, 20 yrs old at the time. I made “friends” with my unit, things were going well for the first month or so.

This one “friend” wanted more. I was stupid, and I did give him more, but not the way he wanted it. He went on and showed me the town, went back to my place, never had sex luckily, but he did push for it. We did kiss, and he did touch, but I thought better of it and said time to go. I wanted him out of my house out of my door and to be left alone. He forced himself back in my house pushed me against my wall unable to fight back and push him off. I kept saying no time to go, I tired, leave. He didn’t. I knew he wanted more, but I did not.

The next night he was texting me that he was coming over, he wanted to see me. I said no I don’t want that. Said he could break into my house that it was easy to do so. I slept with a knife and all my lights on because I was alone and scared. I never reported that, due to what was seen, we got into trouble for that. I was to scare to bring up what happened at the time, due to I was already in trouble. My mouth should have opened for that.

Few months past things were quite, then he sends me a vulgar text telling me to sit on him, that I liked it, I wanted it. Stop it, leave me alone, I kept saying it over and over again. Calling my parents crying telling them what was said. The number was blocked been blocked since then. Told command, the command just looked at me and gave me a choice to choose page 7, or bring it up to mast like. I thought a few days and being nice page 7, then thought after a while that I wanted it higher. Well, the command didn’t want that. It was left at that. 3 years later and the same guy still at the station, finally it has been brought to light what he did and he finally paying for it. Talking to CGIS and hoping for an end to this soon.

Raped at Coast Guard Station South Portland, Maine

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.

The bystanders

A few years ago I was serving on a cutter in the Coast Guard (I’m at a different unit now). We were at a week-long port call and were moored up at a pier. I was on the mess deck eating lunch with a female coworker on a Monday and she told me a story.

She said that she was out at a bar with a bunch of other people from the ship and they all got pretty drunk. After coming back to the ship one of the guys pushed her up against a wall and sexually assaulted her. She couldn’t push him away and had to wait for someone else to walk by and pull him off of her. Another guy walked by and saw it happening, but didn’t do anything because the two of them were friends.

Now, we’re friends. I think of her as like a little sister. I was not happy when I heard this. I knew that I wasn’t thinking clearly because I was so angry, so I didn’t do anything and waited until later to talk to someone else. I got her to tell the story to another female that we work with and I said that my feeling is that we should tell our supervisor and get these two guys in trouble.

The female┬áthat it happened to said that she doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it, and to just let it go. The other female said that we should just do whatever the other wants to do with it. Their main thought was that we’re in a job that no one on the ship likes, and the other two were thought of as everyone’s friends.

They were afraid that she would get in trouble and everyone would take the guys’ side. As much as I hated to let it go….they were probably right. We never did anything about it. It still haunts me to this day. I hate seeing bad people go unpunished.

Raped and retaliated against in the U.S Navy.

Anonymous, United States Navy

It took a lot of courage to come forward and report I had been sexually assaulted by my army supervisor (e-7) and his Afghan colleague who both worked for the 3star Army command general.

I thought there would be an investigation and that I would be allowed to continue doing my job, especially with other women in my same shop coming forward and reporting similar actions from the same supervisor around the same time as me. I turned down his advances, and he said, “that’s okay because even if you’re not into me, I have an associate who is also interested in you for sex.” But my words fell on deaf ears when my supervisor once again cornered and attacked me at work.

I did not make it back to my barracks room the same night without being forcibly raped by his associate, and one of the guys at the next base they moved me to joked in front of my new co-workers (my third day thereafter my navy e-9 called ahead and warned the new command I had been raped and was somehow now “their problem” to be “dealt with”) that he would be the next to rape me (after I learned I would have to do detainee ops and sort through decapitated body parts instead of my job as an IT as punishment for coming forward while the three-star covered up the investigation because it was an election year and spearheaded 3 years of retaliation and mistreatment that cost me my career and barred me from getting accurate, ethical medical care, especially after I reported HIPAA violation at the next place I was transferred). Being assaulted was bad enough.

I did not officially enter hell until I spoke up about it and the military commands did everything in their power to distract me, discredit me, demoralize me, and destroy my once promising career as they railroaded me out of the service for political reasons.