Lack of Recourse for Wrongfully Discharged US Military Rape Survivors

Over the past several years, in response to public pressure, the US military has made a concerted effort to improve how it handles sexual assault cases. Many of the reforms have provided important additional resources and protections for service members who are sexually assaulted while in service. Other policy changes have made it more difficult to quickly dismiss service members for mental health conditions.

However, virtually nothing has been done to address the ongoing harm done to thousands of veterans who reported sexual assault before reforms took place and lost their military careers as a result of improper administrative discharges.

“Personality Disorder” discharges—a term used to describe a mental health condition that can disqualify someone from military service—were once “the fastest and easiest way to get rid of someone” in the military.[3] The use of personality disorder discharges declined dramatically in 2010 after government studies had revealed proper procedures were often not followed. Nonetheless, these, and other types of questionable mental health discharges are still in use, and they comprise part of the discharges examined in this report because of the continuing harm suffered by veterans who received these discharges and have no recourse to correct their records.

Read the full report from the Human Rights Watch here.

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Raped while on deployment in Guantanamo Bay.

I’ve only been in the army less than a year at the time, when my company was set to deploy to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I was so excited to be going on my first deployment. It was July, and we had been there a month, and I had decided to volunteer at a local thrift store. I met a Spc there who hit on me, but I just shook it off. He invited me to join him for lunch (not very many places to eat). So I said sure he then proceeded to say he forgot his wallet and had to go retrieve it. We walked back to his room, and he invited me inside I was hesitant, but he kept saying it was only for a second. I entered his room, and the only place to sit was his bed, so I stood. He kept telling me to relax and saying that I could sit on his bed if I wanted to and to not be so tense. When he came back from the bathroom he asked me if I want to watch a movie, I said no and wanted to get lunch. He then proceeded to grab the shoulder and push me On to his bed and then asked if I wanted to have sex with him. I said no and then be said: “if u won’t then I’ll make you.” I tried to leave, and he grabbed my arm and the. Put his hand around my throat and squeezed until I was almost unconscious. He pushed me on the bed and somehow managed to get my clothes off. I kept telling him, no but he didn’t care he seemed to take pleasure in my resistance. He then grabbed my hair and yanked it told me to open my mouth I saw that he had his manhood there in front of my face. He then used one hand to push open my mouth and stick his junk in my mouth. “You bite me, and this will be a whole lot worse” after he was somewhat satisfied with that he yanked me back words and held my hand over my head and held me down. His hand traveled down my body, and he felt me, and he said he knew I wanted this even though I said no my body was saying yes. I felt as though my body had failed me. I didn’t want this, and yet my body was reacting to it and not in the way I wanted. He then was inside of me, and I just started begging for him to stop and that it hurt and didn’t want this. He laughed and kept going until he came. He then bent down in my ear and said: ” Don’t lie was the best u ever had and kept saying I wanted it.” He went to the bathroom, and that’s when I made my escape, I wanted to tell someone, but my Sharp didn’t seem to want to listen, so I never told anyone. I saw him 5 months later he smirked at me and grabbed my hand and told me he missed me in his bed. I never saw him again after that, but now I have nightmares.

Pentagon misled lawmakers on military sexual assault cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon misled Congress by using inaccurate or vague information about sexual assault cases to blunt support for a Senate bill that would make a major change in how the military handles allegations of sexual misconduct, an Associated Press investigation found.

Internal government records that summarized the outcomes of dozens of cases portrayed civilian district attorneys and local police forces as less willing than senior military officers to punish sex offenders. The documents buttressed the Pentagon’s position that stripping commanders of their authority to decide which crimes go to trial — as the Senate legislation proposes — will mean fewer victims will get justice because there will be fewer prosecutions.

But in some the cases, the steps taken by civilian authorities were described incorrectly or omitted, according to AP research and interviews. Other case descriptions were too imprecise to be verified.

 

 

read the full article here.

Drugged and Raped in Germany

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.

Raped and still paying for it

I joined at a young age but was sure the Coast Guard was where I wanted to be. They shipped me across the country away from family to a remote area with no support. I began to receive sexual harassment from my co-workers at my unit. After filing a harassment complaint about rumors spreading about my sexual life, I was retaliated against and was sent to another unit where my issues followed. I was continually harassed.

I was raped in 2012 by a civilian but was terrified to tell anyone. I did not want to get in trouble for drinking. My performance dropped as I tried to push my depression and nightmares down. I began to drink very heavily and did not care about my career. I saw my assailant at bars around town. I finally broke down and told a supervisor what happened a year later. I thought he understood and actually cared. It turned out to be a lie.

During my CGIS investigation, I was told I was lying and was in the wrong because I could not remember specific details. I was told by my command that I was in no danger and I had to stay in the area even though my rapist had broken into my house and robbed me afterward. I was not able to sleep thinking he was waiting for me. Finally, they moved me, and things seemed to get better.

The treatment began to work, but I was placed in an area where a lot of accused offenders came to await processing. I had to stay in the same barracks where they stayed during duty, and they even placed a person who was convicted of sexual assault to work in the barracks where he had access to make keys to every room. I transferred again and continued to receive harassment from higher ups and was eventually kicked out and was forced to sit in a room with my harassers after having suicidal ideations.

I am lost because I am still in and don’t know what to do now. I am tired of having this over my head and never moving forward. I continually talk down to myself and make myself feel as if I am not good enough to be in the coast guard. How can these people who are just horrible continue to stay in and advance and victims who genuinely could do good for the Coast Guard are pushed out?

Years of abuse

Chad, United States Army

Shortly after switching from Reserve to Active Duty, I was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. My unit was sent to the field within days of my arrival. My first night in the field with my unit I was brutally hazed by a group of my peers.

As the assault ended and everyone disappeared into the woods, I stood up and started gathering my uniform and gear that had been stripped from my body. I suddenly felt myself being thrown to the ground again. My attacker mounted me and started acting like he was anally raping me. He then removed my undershorts and penetrated me with a small stick, causing permanent deformity to my body.

He kept repeating “You like that, don’t you faggot. Yeah, that’s right. I know what you are.” I was terrified. I knew that if I reported it I would face the risk of discharge because of my sexuality. I kept quiet.

My physical wound was painful, but I never sought treatment for fear of having to disclose what happened. My attacker was eventually assigned to be my team leader, then squad leader. He psychologically abused and bullied me for my remaining time at Fort Bragg. I lived in constant fear of being exposed. I still have frequent flashbacks and require a PTSD Service Dog.

Don’t be silent as I was. It will ruin your life. Get help, do not be ashamed, and know that it is NEVER your fault.

Male recruit raped at Basic Training

I am one of the lucky ones. I left for Basic Training at Lackland AFB in November a couple years back. I was older, 23 when I went, so already felt I had the leg up. I still try to put it behind me, act like it didn’t happen, so I can move on. No one Knows. I had the fortunate pleasure of having three training instructors. One day when I went into the dorm with just my wingman and me, while everyone else was in the chow hall, one of them was in there. Already nervous, he started yelling of course. Made my wing man stand in the first bay, While I was in the bathroom. You all know how long the bays are. My wing man was of course at the far end so he couldn’t hear me cry, at least that I know of. The T.I. Came in, I was at the sink, filling my canteen. He smiled. Asked If I was ok. Yes, sir. He put his hand on my neck. Rubbed it. What are you doing? It’s ok. There he goes hand down my pants. Get off me. He yanked them down. Crying already. Water everywhere. Something slimy. He prepared he brought lubrication. It was with him. It hurt badly. This is what you signed up for trainee sa*****.it was quick thank God. God can be merciful I guess. He left. I sat there washed up and left in a daze. M-wing man saw nothing and heard nothing I suppose. I got lucky. Real lucky. Went to the hospital the next day with a few excuses of not feeling well. Discharged out of B.A.S right there. I was stuck on med hold for a couple weeks, but I never had to see him again. Who’s going to believe that a male T.I? Raped a male anyway. I have never told anyone until now. YOU. This website. I feel a little bit of weight has been lifted off. Thank you.