My Duty to Speak

Active Duty Coast Guardsman face retaliation for seeking treatment for rape.

Active Duty, United States Coast Guard

I was raped and chose unrestricted reporting. My Chief and others told me that they would stand by me and that my assailant is going to go to prison. They saw my injuries and knew of “the history” of my assailant that they promised that they would testify against him and want to see him sent to the brig.  I was interviewed by CGI, and it came back that there might have been other victims.

I was sent inpatient for almost one month to help with me with the rape.

After the program, I was sent to a different unit than my assailant.  I called my old Chief, and those at my old unit that promised to stick by me and they told me that they were advised to no longer speak to me. I left a message for my victim advocate a couple of weeks ago and am still waiting to hear back from her.

The investigation came back as not enough evidence to move forward. Everyone found out and called me a liar for crying rape. I was told that because I was the one in the loony bin and not my rapist that something was obviously wrong with me.

My biggest mistake has been to agree to go inpatient. Before that, I had witnesses that were willing to testify, CGIS that believed me, a command that was trying to help me. Because of my inpatient treatment, I now have a scarlet letter on my forehead that reads the warning. The crazy woman who spent almost a month in the treatment program.

At the program, I was told about MRCC by a few patients and MRCC were able to set me up counseling for as soon as I got out.  The doctor that the Coast Guard requires me to see told me that my diagnosis for PTSD is a mistake and is trying to determine what is wrong with me. The doctor feels that because my parents divorced when I was a child that I am having problems dealing with that and it might make me ineligible for military service. The doctor also thinks I might be having problems adjusting to the Coast Guard. The doctor that I am seeing that been referred to me by MRCC told me that I am suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of Military Sexual Trauma.

I want to stay in the Coast Guard but reading all the stories on here and knowing that I have problems because my parents are divorce leaves me very scared and depressed.

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard captain verbally assault civilian victim advocate at Coast Guard Base Boston

K, Civilian

Several years back I heard about the Military Rape Crisis Center looking for volunteers to canvas throughout the Northeast informing Active Duty service members and Veterans about the help that is out there for them if they have been sexually victimized. I submitted my application to be a member of the Street Team and was chosen. I spent that summer with 14-20 others working to eliminate sexual violence in the military.

 That summer we made 32 stops in 12 states. We were often welcomed with open arms; given bottles of water when it was hot outside and a table inside the military base when it was pouring rain. Most importantly we built long lasting relationships and members of the Street Team still are invited back for pre/post deployment events, yellow ribbon events and to serve as advisors to the sexual assault prevention and response office.

 Out of thirty-two military installations we only received negative feedback from one unit, the sole Coast Guard base that we visited; Coast Guard Boston (comprised of Sector Boston, District 1, Station Boston, BSU/ISC Boston, several cutters and so forth) Split between two separate locations just several blocks apart Coast Guard Boston has since grown notorious for having the most sexual assault cases per capita seeking assistance through the Military Rape Crisis Center than any other U. S military installation in the entire world.

 Two of our Street Team members are former members of Coast Guard Boston. Both were raped and forced out of their careers. Due to their personal connection to the base we knew it was going to be the most difficult stop. However, we soon realized that the difficulties wouldn’t be from the survivors dealing with triggers (they are two of the strongest people I ever met and am in awe by how well they handled being back at a place that caused them so much trauma) but instead from the apathy, ignorance, denial and downright abuse that we encountered from members (mostly Officers) at the various units that comprised of Coast Guard Boston.

At Coast Guard Boston when we were told the “f-word” in conjunction with “nobody was ever raped here” we knew that we were in for a long battle.

We did not allow their apathy to defer us away from helping those stationed at Coast Guard Boston. With the mentality of “If they are willing to treat mostly civilian rape advocates in such a sick and abusive manner one can only imagine how badly rape survivors are being treated behind the gate.”

Long after our 32-stop military tour ended many of us continued visiting outside USCG Boston on a regular basis. It was clear that we, as anti-rape advocates, were viewed in a negative light while the rape culture within Coast Guard Boston thrived.

It did not take long for the following to happen:

• SARCs from around the nation called us upset that they were contacted by Coast Guard Boston to “stay away from us”. The victim blaming statements given to them by Coast Guard Boston obvious made SARCs upset the way that survivors are being treated. The SARCs understood that Coast Guard Boston contacting and threatening them was a retaliation against our Director, a Coast Guard veteran that was brutally raped and sent to Coast Guard Boston and further mistreated.. The SARCs were obviously upset that  Coast Guard Boston was suggesting to do an injustice to Armed Service members; not giving them all the support that is available to them, because Coast Guard Boston wanted to continue their abusive behavior against survivors. Obviously the SARCs were quick to join in out initiative to help survivors in the U.S Coast Guard after witnessing first hand what we had to go through in Boston. Non-Coast Guard SARCs and Victim Advocates especially around New England are still our biggest supporters and we receive the many referrals from them. Non-Coast Guard SARCs are also willing to work with Coast Guard rape survivors to help them get the help that they need. If you are a Coast Guard rape survivor please know that you can go to another military installation to get help.

• One of the two rape survivor that were with us lost her privilege of entering the base even when invited! When she did enter the base prior to the ban she remained professional and did not take her advocacy with her. To this day she is not able to get a response from JAG officer Christine Cutter or anyone else on that base.

 • Residing in the North End I often took my dog on walks to one of the few public parks in the neighbor; a park directly next to Coast Guard Boston on Commercial Street. A Coast Guardsman that recognized me as a Street Team member was clearly not happy with us helping rape survivors. The name on his blouse said DeCola . I later found out was Peter DeCola the Executive Officer of Coast Guard Boston. Decola chose not to help a shipmate that were being forced out of her career for reporting rape.

• We received threats, prank calls and harassing emails (often from email addresses). When this was brought to the attention of the Coast Guard Investigative Services they chose not to take any actions.

While other military branches were sending us thank you notes and open invitations to return we were receiving threats at Coast Guard Boston. At all units we were doing the same exact thing, using the same exact materials (with only minor change to focus on particular branch of service) and saying the same exact script. Thrity-one military installations are saying “Thank you. You are a godsend” and one is saying “Go f-yourself. You are all crazy, horrible people that are saying bad things about the Coast Gard”.

Sadly, though our predictions of an environment that thrives on “rape survivors are the bad guys” and “rape survivors should be punished” were true and it did not take long for phone calls to be made into the Military Rape Crisis Center office from rape survivors based out of Boston.

The most memorable being a Coast Guardsman that took our flier paused to read it, looked up at me with the saddest eyes and walked away without saying a word. Several months later I ran into him in the waiting room while he was waiting to receive services through at the Military Rape Crisis Center. The sadness he had in his eyes that day still gets to me.

Because of confidentiality I was never told of his situation or what had happened to him but I know that our work standing outside Coast Guard Boston helped him get closer to receiving the services that he deserved.

A local business approved fliers to go up on their bulletin board. An employee told me of an incident in which a Coast Guardsman in full uniform saw the flier, stormed in, ripped the flyer off the bulletin, crumbled it up and threw it on the floor.

Another incident involved one of the two Coast Guards rape survivors were invited back to the base only to be publicly humiliated and left out in a rainy, cold February being laughed at, threatened and told that she is not welcomed back because she is helping rape survivors. Why invite her in the first place? It was all part of the scheme to let us know that anti-rape activists are just not welcomed.

Several members of Coast Guard Boston are so angry with folks that help rape survivors because we are unveiling the abuse that they had put on their fellow shipmates. They would go out of their way to continue to slander and put down rape survivors and all that are helping survivors.

Our fight to eliminate the rape culture at Coast Guard Boston is still going on. Our service members are still suffering. The phone at the Center is still ringing from those in the Coast Guard asking for assistance.

Being raised in a small patriotic town in the suburbs of Boston I grew up having the upmost respect for members of the military. Knowing that I personally could never serve (I have Arrhythmias) I know that helping those that are serving is the most patriotic thing that I personally can do.

I support the troops and what better way to show that than to work to eliminate sexual violence against our heroes? Our Coasties need help. They are being raped at an epidemic rate and the very organization that is suppose to help them are turning their back at them, sending out emails to their entire unit to “not talk to the rape survivor” and evidently survivors are kicked out of service and barred from entering the base ever again. If you report rape in the Coast Guard’s eyes you are the bad ones. If you try to help rape survivors in the Coast Guard’s eyes you are the bad one. I am here to tell you all that we are not the bad ones.

Men and women that report rape in the United States Coast Guard deserve to be respected and treated with dignity. Our Coast Guard rape survivors do not deserve to be forced out of service for reporting a rape. Our Coast Guard veterans do not deserve to be barred from entering a Coast Guard installation because they are doing the honorable, noble thing of helping their shipmates.

The days that Coast Guard Boston sweep rape under the rug are running out thanks to the blog  started by Coast Guard Boston rape survivor. All survivors now have a voice and an outlet to share the story of abuse that they suffered while serving this nation.

If you are a rape survivor in the military and want to talk to somebody visit Military Rape Crisis Center. There is help out there.

original source

My Duty to Speak

Rape at Cannon Air Force Base

Jewel, United States Air Force

In 1975 I joined the USAF. I was 19 years old and very shy and innocent. I believed that most people were good. And still think for the most part people are. My first duty station was Cannon AFB, NM. I worked in a Warehouse where 3 female airmen and about 75 male . I lived off base with my boyfriend he was in the Air Force too.

A friend of his was always harassing with sexual words. One night when my boyfriend was gone this man came looking for my boyfriend he came to the door and asked for him. I didn’t even answer the door, I told him he wasn’t in. He asked to come in I said no. He pushed the door down and pushed me into a spare bedroom by the front door. I remember thinking this wasn’t really happening. He held a gun to my head and said if I screamed he would shoot me. He ripped off my nightgown and raped me. When he got up I just laid in fear. I knew he was probably going to shoot me. But he left out of the room. I thought he was leaving; then suddenly he was back in the room. He had a knife from my kitchen and stabbed me 8 times. I had begged for my life. He left and I could tell that it didn’t look good.

I crawled on my hands and knees to the next door neighbors house. They called the police. Then I remember being taken to hospital. I had to have a blood transfusion. Back then there was no crisis rape counselor just mental health who I saw a man one time and decided I had to get through this alone. They sent me another base to get away from the incident. T

he man went to Leavenworth for 4 years, yes 4 years. I suppressed the whole incident for years. I had a eating disorder for years a form of control of something with my body. I went through 3 marriages , several thoughts of suicide and 1 attempt.. I am 57 years old and I still have nightmares, I am on total disability. I managed some how to stay in the Air Force for 20 years. I don’t think anyone has an idea unless it has happen to you. I pray one day that maybe I could have a normal life. I haven’t given up yet.

Military Women are strong, we learn to adapt to many things in a man’s military. We just didn’t know we’d have to endure rape to be strong.

My Duty to Speak

Airman afraid to report rape.

Jennifer, United States Air Force

I did the same thing Mikayla Bragg did in an effort to appear fine when in reality I was falling apart inside.  I didn’t want my Chain of Command to know how and why I felt the way I did because I was judged, threatened, expected to “suck it up”, and my treatment and medications were used against me.  I, too, was scheduled to go to Iraq in 2008 and had weaned off my medications so that I could do so.  The VA was not willing to sign off on allowing me to deploy because they were afraid that I would have no support if something was to happen to me (they knew that I was trying to be strong but was ready to fall apart).  I tried to fight them but in the end could not continue to hide the information from the military because of Q21 on my security clearance.  Had I been supported from the get go (1999) and allowed to get the help I needed without worrying about how it would affect my career, I could have got healthy a lot sooner.  But, I was not supported at all.  I felt I had to hide the information from my Chain of Command because it was used against me.  I was judged as being “crazy”, “on happy pills”, “a national security risk,” and “weak”.  This type of treatment only compounded the PTSD.  I had no confidentiality if I did get help because everyone in the Chain of Command was informed. This also ties into why PTSD for MST survivors is so traumatic.  The assaults themselves are very traumatic, personal, and shameful.  We wouldn’t see nearly as many PTSD claims as we do if it wasn’t for the continued abuse, judgement, and mistreatment by those in our Chain of Command.  Instead, I would have still been serving my country while getting the help I needed to be the best soldier I could be.

‘Fell through the cracks’: Could Longview soldier’s death have been avoided?

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard Investigative Service blames victim for her rape.

Anonymous, United States Coast Guard

As an E3 in Alameda (5 years ago), I was assaulted at a party. I was drinking, and the person who assaulted me managed to have me leave the party with him- several friends saw me leave and did nothing to stop me- and I ended up in his apartment. I remember vaguely being on this guy’s floor with my pants off. I graduated from a well known college before joining, so its not like I had never had a drink with the opposite sex before. I’ve fallen asleep on fraternity house couches and was never treated with anything but respect, because I am a sister not a piece of meat. The next day I reported it to my supervisor (completely unaware of the restricted and unrestricted reporting guidelines) and he launched a CGIS investigation. During the investigation I was told that it was my fault because I was drinking, and that I welcomed it because I had previously told someone that I thought the guy was cute. This incident cost me my relationship, friendships, and eventually my credibility. I’m still in, but I can’t shake the anger and disgust at this organization for the way rape survivors are treated. CGIS is a joke, the reporting requirements are a joke. The only person who helped me was the Victim Advocate. What’s amazing is I had no follow up medical care, no counseling, nothing. I only hope I can save other females from experiencing this as well.

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard recruit sexually abused at basic training; wants changes.

“These recruits are entrusted to my care. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Coast Guard men and women. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill.” – Coast Guard Company Commander Creed

I never truly understood the meaning of the word hopeless until I went to Cape May. Some may judge me based on the fact that I didn’t come forward with my story sooner. That’s fine. I don’t expect those who haven’t been there to understand. When you are in a world where you have it drilled into your head that everyone is out to get you, it’s not quite so simple. When you see the chaplain and the person you fear harm from chatting and being friendly, there’s hopelessness. When you are told that dialing 9-1-1 rings you into the base fire department, where he no doubt has friends, there’s hopelessness. When your aggressor teaches your sexual harassment class and tells you, “if you ever gives you trouble, come to me”, there’s hopelessness. I had a duty to speak. And for a time I remained silent.

When I was in Coast Guard Boot Camp, myself and another shipmate (who like me was a 5’3″ blonde) were subjected to 8 weeks of sexual harassment and verbal abuse at the hands of our Company Commander Carlos Resendez. Petty Officer Resendez would require us to clean his office at night after everyone else had gone to bed and would proceeded to make sexual comments and be inappropriate (i.e. walking up behind me, just shy of having his body touching mine). It was horrific and I was terrified of what he was going to do the entire time, but because of our fear we remained silent. We just wanted to move on our new units and forget what we had left behind. I consider that decision to be the biggest mistake of my life.

In 2010, I had honorably gotten out of the Coast Guard and was trying to move on with my civilian life. That’s when I received the call from my shipmate that had gone through boot camp with and it stopped my heart… “You’re not going to believe this – I met a little blonde girl at my new unit today… Can you guess what happened?” Of course I knew and I immediately felt my heart drop. As it turns out, she had met the female at her unit and asked the typical, “What company were you in? Who were your Company Commanders?” questions common of all junior enlisted Coasties. The conversation quickly brought forth details that were all too familiar. We were not the only ones.

After talking at length, we decided it was time to take a stand. I would make a call to CGIS and report what had happened. I did so, while the other female reported to their local office. It was a lengthy process and it took a great deal of time to finally meet with investigators in person. As the investigation revealed, we were not the only victims. PO Resendez , emboldened and feeling that he would not get caught in his actions after his experience with us had continued to terrorize his recruits In one of his recruit companies after ours, he chose yet another 5’3 blonde, but this time he did not stop with verbal harassment. Given a direct order to comply, my shipmate was sexually assaulted several times during her boot camp experience. She, like us, feared what would happen if she spoke out. This victim, in addition to the female that my boot camp shipmate had met made a total of four known victims.

Last month, September 26th, Resendez pled guilty to Cruelty & Maltreatment and Adultery. He was sentenced to a maximum allowable 12 months confinement, Bad Conduct Discharge, and reduction in rank to an E1. While we were elated that the judge had came down on him with the maximum punishment, it was bitterly disappointing to see that he was not charged with the most heinous crime that he had committed – rape. Due to a flaw in the UCMJ, he could not be tried for rape, because of the fact she was not “forced”. In the UCMJ a direct order (even in a boot camp setting where there is no out whatsoever) is not considered as rape… We must fix the broken way in which our military members are treated in cases that involve sexual assault.

When you are a member of the military, you completely give your voice over to the government and are totally at their mercy to take care of you and ensure that justice is received. In this case, because of a glitch in the system, the perpetrator got off with a much lesser charge than he deserved. I am now attempting to carry this torch and have started a petition to Congress regarding this matter ( ).


My Duty to Speak

U.S Marine raped

H, United States Marine Corps

While serving in the USMC, I was raped by a Corpsman attached to our unit. I was on liberty one night with my mod-mate, and had seen the Corpsman at the bar. I had a few beers (I honestly, was NOT drunk…I knew very well what happened every moment that night!) We went back to our barracks rooms that night, and I got an unwanted visitor at my door.

I cannot count how many times I said “NO” or “STOP” or “PLEASE” that night. No one heard me. I reported it the next evening to my Chain of Command and the investigation was launched from there. The investigation went from June to January.

During these months, I was heavily alienated by my peers and my NCO’s. I was made fun of. I was referred to as derrogatory names by EVERYONE. I was severely depressed. My Sergeant Major even told me to my face that it was MY FAULT because I did not have a father in my life growing up, and that I need to learn how to PRESENT myself in front of men, because “I must have” given him a reason to think that I wanted it.

He was wrong. MY Marine Corps did not stand by me. Then shunned me, when I needed them the most. I selflessly gave myself to my country, and my country did not stand by me in return. My heart was broken. When all was said and done, the official investigation done by NCIS was “unfounded” because there was not a rape kit done (as I did not know I needed to go to the hospital to do so), and I did not have a roommate so there were no witnesses. Only his story and my story. Period. If it weren’t for my UVA (uniformed victim’s advocate) & civilian led support group that I faithfully attended weekly for over a year..I would still consider myself a victim. I am not. I AM A SURVIVOR!

My Duty to Speak

Massachusetts National Guard rape survivor reaction on Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter sex abuse claims.

I am not doing well. Ever since the allegations about Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter sexually assaulting and raping a woman in 1984 was finally made public my emotions has been at an all time high. I checked myself into an intense residential program for rape survivors where everyday I had to talk about the monster that raped me and the monsters that covered up my rape, which includes Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter.

I am NOT Gen. Carter’s victim. I want to make that loud and clear. Who I am was a soldier that was raped while serving with the Massachusetts Army National Guard. I was a soldier that had to watch her rapist walk away scotch free. The man that raped me and almost killed me were treated as the victim and I was told that I was at fault for no reason other than because I am a woman and should not have been walking alone. You read that right, I am a woman and therefore because I took the risk of walking ALONE I was at fault for being raped. I was not out partying. I was not out drinking. I was simply walking alone-in uniform-when he grabbed me and raped me.

My victim advocate, SARC whatever you want to call her was career-oriented. As a result she cared more about pleasing the command, making the MANG look squeaky clean and problem less that she would step over anyone that might have any dirt on the Massachusetts National Guard, including me—I certainly had dirt on the Massachusetts National Guard—I knew of a soldier serving with MANG that is a rapist.  As a result of her covering up rapes and making the MANG “look good” she was rewarded with the SARC of the year award.

She made me look crazy, my investigation magically “went missing” and she praised to all how Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter “cares so much about rape survivors.  She alleged that Gen. Carter wants all at MANG to take rape seriously. MANG has a zero-tolerance policy. General Carter is making sexual assault prevention a priority!” Wait hold on, you mean the same Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter that just this week was forced into retirement because it have been found that there was probable cause that he abused his rank and power to sexually abuse a woman? Correct. Same guy.

While the National Guard knew of the allegations all along the SARC and others wanted to convince everyone that advocated for me and other sexual assault and rape survivor that Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter actually cares about rape survivor. Yep, exactly why my rape investigation was lost. Cared about rape survivors that you blame a woman for getting herself raped because she walked alone? Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter cared so much about rape and sexual assault survivors that he was forced into retirement for sexually assaulting a woman!

When the SARC deployed she was replaced by I believe a 1st Lt. What I knew most about her is at what intervals I should hand her a tissue as she used my time that was suppose to be used to  help me with MY rape and get ME resources and help so she can vent about how she “just got married and her husband was deployed” boo ho sorry to hear that but remember me? I was the one that was raped and you are the SARC that should help me get resources. Well, she did was recommended a yoga group for COMBAT VETERANS-MOSTLY MEN aka male combat veteran just like my freaking rapist.

Of course she also let me know how Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter cared so much about rape survivor. Did you know that at one point the Massachusetts National Guard alleged that they had the best sexual assault prevention program in the ENTIRE NATION because Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter cared so much about women like me? That was until there was an outside investigation done on the Massachusetts National Guard that found that the 24-hour hotline listed on their website is actually not 24-hour and the emails that a survivor can email victim advocates were indeed false and made up. Fake email addresses given to survivors to report rape, the emails are later bounced back and never read. How many victims were not able to report a rape because the contact information on the official Massachusetts National Guard website was incorrect? The Massachusetts National Guard refuses to help any victim that was misguided or was not able to report an assault because contact information to the proper authorities were false.   In case that did not make any sense to you let me reiterate. Massachusetts National Guard posted fake email addresses on their website telling victims if they need help to contact the fake email addresses! Victims had their emails bounced back to them unread and undeliverable.

My rapist has been promoted since he raped me.  He is on his way to a prosperous career within the Massachusetts National Guard.  The Massachusetts National Guard still claims to have the best sexual assault prevention and response program in the entire country.

I was forced out for  reporting a rape. I had fought for years to be able to receive services at the VA. Only recently was I granted permission to go to the VA for my treatment for PTSD.  Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter has been forced into retirement. He will be collecting $86,000+ a year of our taxes as a reward for his hard work in covering up sexual assaults and rapes; including his own.