Anonymous, United States Army
I joined the Army as a bright-eyed and innocent 17-year-old in 2004. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and my desire to become a Blackhawk Crew Chief controlled most of my choices during my ten-year career in the Army.
Basic and AIT went pretty smoothly, I found most of the challenges exciting and quickly learned that my gift of easily adapting to nearly any situation was a skill that enabled me to fit in with my all male job choice when I got to Germany. Not to say all of the men in my job wanted me there, many spoke openly about how women were not cut out for the job, but I had thick skin and good friends, so I just drove on. I was lucky to not be betrayed by a friend and am thankful for that fact every day.
In May 2006 at the age of 19 a group of friends and I went to a bar that was frequented by soldiers, us included (in Germany at this time prosecution for underage drinking was unheard of, I could buy alcohol at class six) I had a drink or two but was to be one of the designated smart people that night so I kept my wits about me. I chatted it up with my would-be assailant and his friends then went back to my group, nothing was weird, he didn’t pressure me, just talked about our MOSs, and that’s about it. The next thing I can recall is being herded into a cab by him and his friend, the entire time all I could do was say over and over “I want to go home to …, I want to go home to…” but I could not move no matter how much I wanted to.
I was somewhat coherent throughout, with crazy colors swirling like the view from the tilt o whirl at a carnival. I don’t remember anything the two of them said. Considering I came from German farm girl stock and was far from dainty, it took the two of them to haul me up his barracks staircase. Again all I could do was slurringly say no, leave me alone. The friend left me with the guy in his room. I told the guy please no, and that I was in fact on my period, he was undeterred. Having no control over my movements I was like his fucking puppet, he would put me into a position, and I would just stay there all the while screaming in my head. He was rough causing bruising all over my body, and he almost bit my nipples off.
The next day I woke up and he was gone, I pretty much what had happened, but was still a little foggy, there was blood on my thighs, and my breasts and I were extremely sore. I was so angry, but all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there, I snooped around the room looking for his name but after a few minutes the need to leave won out. I emerged from the barracks to find myself at a different kaserne about 20 minutes from where I lived. I knew a strauss was nearby and rode it to the train station. When I got there, I spent hours there bewildered all I knew was that I was drugged and you cannot fly if drugs are found in your system, it doesn’t matter how they get there. I was set to start flying just two months later and had worked my ass off to get there. All I wanted to do was fly so I kept my mouth shut, in 2006 nothing good came of “crying rape”. So I dug out the tampon the guy had lodged into my body and eventually made it back home.
I told me few very close friends, and they asked, what do you want to do? All I could say was “kill him.” I never saw him again, most likely because I don’t remember what he looked like. For the next couple years, I drowned myself in booze, work, and sex but rarely felt much and endured a painfully forced unhealthy relationship. Three years later a close friend turned into a lover who is now my husband of seven years. I told him the short version when we were dating and never spoke about it again for five years. I was managing, but after a relatively graphic tour in Afghanistan, all hell broke loose.
By 2012 I was losing it, I was detached, having horrendous nightmares, panic attacks in groups. I would hold it all in till I was alone driving to work where I would cry my heart out, all I could do was think about this guy violating me over and over, then paste the professional Sgt face on and be dying inside. I went off the deep end the day we had to watch The Invisible War for EO training. I had to get up twice to hold it together, as always it sparked talk on the subject later at work. One of my soldiers jokingly said there is no way Sgt…(me) would let a man do that to me, that I would rip his balls off. If only. I just grabbed a good friend and hauled him to the smoke pit where I chain smoked his cigarettes. I could tell he knew something had happened to me as we just smoked in silence, the pity in his eyes angered me even more. I sought help that week, things got a bit better, sleep came easier over time.
I was medically discharged in 2014 for an injury incurred in AFG that I could never recover from. Now in college, many days are a struggle, telling some close friends lately has brought some peace, but I will probably never tell my family. To this day I continue to have vivid dreams of being raped by faceless men ending in me killing them in any fashion I can. It is disturbing and exhausting. This is my story, I selfishly choose my career over the need to protect other women, and the need to find justice, but seeing how other victims have been treated all of these years what other choice did he Army leave me with? I will be haunted by my decision for the rest of my life whether it was right or not.