My Duty to Speak

Airman raped at Tech School

Evonne M (Nicholson) Schneider, United States Air Force

I joined the Air Force, 3/92. While at tech school (police academy) I was sexually assaulted by another airman. I notified my chain of command a few days later, as I sat in my dorm room for 3 days scared to death. They shipped me out w/o completing all my training because within 2 weeks it was discovered I was pregnant. I tried for years to forget, to hide it in my past and keep that box closed tight. I never told anyone, not even my family of the incident.

I went through with my pregnancy, and had a beautiful baby girl. For the next 16 years I held it together, I have no clue how. I managed to stay in the military for 2.6 years…and recvd. honorable discharge. they wanted me to cross train me because I couldnt focus nor could I pass the tests to move up in rank. little did I know, years later i find out my focus, concentratin…were just the begining of my mental health showing me the warning signs. I ignored it, took my discharge and i was out.

Oct. 2008, i “snapped” ; suicidal thoughts, couldnt hold job, isolated myself, i would be up for days literally with my mind racing. On top of all that my now 16 year old daughter asking me who her father was. I never told her she was a result of a sexual assault. Now, that beautiful child refuses to speak to me because I won t disclose his name to her. I have been in prison, was in for 2 years for physical violence…I was never in trouble in my life. I now, over the past year, in counseling and on alot of medications to keep me stable, help me sleep, etc. at 19 years old I had the world at my hands ; all i wanted to do was to be a cop in the airforce. Now im 38, on ssdi, and a measly 60% s/c (we deserve more than that for our lives being torn from us), i have lost custody of my children, i am divorced, and i rely on my parents & live with them. I finally told my mom of “the incident” last november, the look on her face i could tell it hurt her to hear it as much as it has hurt me to live with it. Did i mention, while raising my 4 children, every chance i got i was at the bar & learned how to hide my alcohol in my house and my family had no clue that i drank heavily for many years (except while pregnant).. 3 1/2 years now and i havent had a drink I still, as my psych doctor says, “am very guarded” w/ details. I have slowly begun to even tell people “I was sexually assaulted”. I am no longer ashamed, nor afarid to speak up; regardless of the judgements. I had to literally “LOOSE MYSELF TO BE FOUND” Thank you.

My Duty to Speak

Air Force vet still haunted by rape, command’s response.

Virginia, United States Air Force

I was assaulted by an officer in 1975. I ended up driving to the base hospital because after the assault the MP’s would not let me drive out of the base. I was admitted but the stay is very vague. The officer called on a pay phone and told me he was sorry. I hung up on him. It appears that during the assault I either hit him or scratched him. I never saw him again. The few months that ensued I lived in terror that I would be discharged, I had three sons 8, 6 & 4 that I was raising with no help. Later I was told I could get a court-martial for illegal co-habitation ( I stayed at my friend and her officer husband home. She had to leave to California on a family emergency.) or get a hardship discharge due to one of my boys having juvenile diabetes. OMG they even questioned my boys if they had seen me have sex w/other men including my friends husband. I found a ratty apt as soon as my friend left even though I never felt threatened by her husband. I was in my apartment less than a week when they discharged me. I cannot begin to tell you in such a short space all I faced in the Military.

I too have been under psychiatric care since 1981. I am a mess emotionally and selfishly attempted suicide. I have night terrors and have tried to file for compensation and It is never brought up. To this day I live a nightmare. I seldom leave my home unless for VA appts. I have no friends and at times live in my SUV to avoid contact. I was referred to a rape crisis for female veterans in 2003 and was told that I should have gotten over this by now. I’m going to be 65 and I still suffer. I truly hope things have or are going to change for the young women now. As negative as this may sound I have this saying to keep some sense of sanity, “NOT ALL SOLDIERS ARE HEROES”.

My Duty to Speak


Sandy, United States Air Force

The night before we shipped out for basic all recruits are required to spend over night at a hotel. In the morning they pick us up and we go back to MEPS and then to the airport to make our way to our respective training centers.

Even though it is against MEPS policy my roommate had her boyfriend over in the room for some last time action. She said that he will leave by 8 so I went and made myself busy for the few hours. I went to dinner and started talking to a guy that was going into the Army. We went to where most of the recruits gathered and were sitting in lounge chairs around a garden. At around 7 I was getting bored so he said that he was going to his room to watch TV and I was welcomed to join him. Going into the room of the opposite sex is against policy but I took the risk and went.

We were watching Jeopardy out of all shows. I was sitting on his bed and he was sitting on the floor. During the commercial he got up, pushed me against the bed and raped me.

I walked back to my room shaken and in a daze confused over what happened. The roommate’s boyfriend was still there when I got back and I demanded that he leaves cause I was going to go to sleep. She got all bitchy at me and said “you are just jealous cause you not get any.” I took a shower and slept. They make policies for a reason. If I followed then I wouldn’t have gotten myself into a situation that would get me raped.

Next day at MEPS I started crying and a nurse said “this is a stressful time for many. Let out all your tears before you get off the bus.

Reading all the stories on here gave me strength to share what I have been through. I never told a sole until now.

Thank you for reading this.

My Duty to Speak

Child of an airman raped by active duty member.

Aimee, United States Air Force

I am not sure if I am included in this exact space, as I am not active or former active duty military. But I have been raped by active duty members twice.

The first time, I was eight years old. My dad was in the Air Force and we were stationed overseas. It was a friend (or at least co-worker) of my dad who was babysitting me and my younger brother. He raped me in the shower, a blur of pain and blinding water. I mostly remember laying there while the water turned cold, staring at my reflection in the faucet. This is a case that probably could have been successfully prosecuted because of my age, but I was too lacking in the ability to cope or acknowledge what had happened to me. I didn’t understand, and my parents never noticed anything being wrong with me. I later learned what it was that happened to me, and it only made me more afraid of anyone finding out.

The second time I was 15, living in Colorado after my dad left the military. I was visiting a friend in Colorado Springs and while at a mall we met some men in the Army. I was uncomfortable with them flirting with us, but she was very flirty and I didn’t think it would be a big deal since it was just the mall. She saw some friends and walked away in an argument for a short time. While we were separated, one of the army men raped me in his car. He left for Iraq the next morning and I didn’t know anything about him. I felt like I would be blamed, and again couldn’t deal with the idea of people examining me or questioning me. I hadn’t dealt with the first rape yet, and this one made it much worse. I wish I had said something, even if it ended futilely. What if he raped again while in Iraq?

I have a lot of regrets about how I never came forward about this. Now I’m 24, and I am married to someone in the Air Force. We live overseas and I have been extremely hesitant about leaving our house or making friends because of this fear of being attacked by military men. I love my husband, and the military was the best option for him – and us as a family – but sometimes I am completely overwhelmed by social anxiety.

I wrote this for the site, despite hesitation over whether it applies, because the problem the military has with sexual assault extends beyond those in the service. I have never had to deal with the pain of being silenced by superiors and forced to work with the perpetrator, so my story is different. I am another product of the rape culture the military protects. I am recently trying to get involved with being an Advocate on the base I live at. My husband thinks it will be too much for me to handle, but I want to start helping in a direct way. I have met many military women who have been victims, and men and women who advocate for them are my heroes.

My Duty to Speak

Air National Guard rape

Anonymous, United States Air Force

Unfortunately, this is another story of MST in our armed services. I joined the Air National Guard so that I could serve my country and make my parents proud, with the added bonus of having a full-time job. One of the great things that attracted me to the Air National Guard was the fact that you could stay at one base for as long as you wanted. Little did I know that this would be something I would hate.

My assailant was a family friend. Our families did a lot together with other groups of people, mostly from our base. His wife and I were friends, she threw my baby shower for one of my sons and was there for the birth of my second son. I was a single mom, they helped me move, we exchanged babysitting, and I got to know her mother and sisters. How would I have known he would violate someone who was supposed to be a friend of his wife and kids? Like some other rapes, alcohol was involved.

We were celebrating my criminal’s wife’s birthday and I had one too many. She told him to drive me home so I could sleep it off. One of my good friends helped him put me into the car. He took me to their house where his three children and in-laws were sleeping and took advantage of the situation and exercised a control he would have never had in any other situation. I did say no. My exact words were, “Get off me!”. He showered and went back to the party as if nothing happened.

He forced me into a life that I would have never imagined. I tried to compartmentalize this for as long as I could until I couldn’t take another second of his treatment as my supervisor. When I couldn’t take it any longer (8yrs!), I finally said something to my commander, incidentally she was a female, and of course she looked at me with this blank stare as if I was now adding “drama” to her job that she would have to deal with. He, of course, said it was consensual and feed comments to the commander that I had emotional problems so that I would keep my mouth shut. She actually wanted me to sign a document stating I wouldn’t report this crime. I didn’t. I took this as far up my chain of command that I possibly could. Nothing. I even took it outside of the Base and State, still nothing.

I lost my job, a job promotion, rank, dignity, soul, and more that the military could never give back or make right. “Time heals all wounds.” No it doesn’t. All that time does for us is help us deal with situations differently. Time helps us get up in the morning and brush our teeth. Time helps us want to play with our kids. Time gives us more time that intrusive thoughts get to run through our minds. We don’t heal, we learn. Of course, he was allowed to retire with full military benefits and was never even given an Article 15.

Our command did its best to sweep everything under the carpet. Regardless of what anyone thinks or says, this is a crime. And, I’m not sure what is more criminal, what the assailant did, or what those who we’re supposed to trust to uphold the Integrity that the Air Force advertises did. The reprisal and retaliation was incomprehensible. Integrity? I would have never imagined as a 19 year old joining the military and having all levels of the government fail to keep me safe as I worked to keep them and our country safe.

My Duty to Speak

Air Force Rape Survivor

AirForceLadyVeteran, United States Air Force

This is my story, I became emancipated 3 months after my 17th birthday I passed the GED and entered The Air Force on May 28,1979. At the time, there was a big push to put women in male dominated jobs. This set the stage quite well for the events that occurred. Against my will, I was forced deal with rape, sexual harrassment, threats of harm, being drugged against my will. These numerous intense stressors left me reeling with a lifetime of continuous negative feelings about myself; including fear, rage, confusion and humiliation. As a result, it has since been a history of struggle with physical & mental health. In the years following my service, I was never the same. I was a failure at everything. I was very detached from loved ones, I was a terrible mother, daughter, and sister.

My image suffered. I became morbidly obese, for safety in girth. My obesity resulted in multiple surgeries. I developed poor health, and declining ability to maintain healthy relationships. For survival sake, I’m often anxious, numb, irritable, and depressed requiring medication. I have an eating disorder, I‘m not able to maintain employment. When I entered the service, I don’t recall that there was ever anyone to tell, or places to go to turn for positive female peer support. I wasn’t given any tools or resources to access if I had any issues. Most importantly, one thing for sure…

Never bring any attention on yourself. It was clear… no one wanted to hear about problems. I was told to be a good little girl, and shut up if I know what’s good for me. Just stay out of trouble. But it seemed like trouble always found me. It led to the obvious self-numbing destructive devices and desperation to cope.

Upon acceptance and induction in to the US Air Force 28May1979, I was evaluated both mentally and physically and found to be “Suitable for Military Service” Then, 16 months later I was discharged following a short “Psychiatric Evaluation” that resulted with an Honorable 39-10 Discharge, and a diagnosis of apathy, defective attitude, and unable to adapt to military life. I believe this showed quite a big shift in my mental health in a fairly short time.

In 1979, I don’t believe PTSD was even a diagnosis yet. My delicate questionable mental health status was clearly confused as simply “bad behavior” yet I was trying to scream out for help ineffectively. By today’s standards in Psychiatric Care, the signs of sexual abuse, MST, and PTSD were all there, but misunderstood and misdiagnosed by the evaluator.

Within six months of my discharge I had to seek the care of a Psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with depression, insomnia, and was treated with medication. I was not aware of any available support for me in the VA System. Ever since, in one way or another I have suffered and endured a lifetime of issues including drug addiction, and treatment that span over 30 years. As a result, I never told anyone that I was a Veteran. I avoided it. I did not want to talk about it or explain why I got out early. As far as the military is concerned, I was just damaged goods with a defective attitude, and unable to adapt to life period.

In September 2007, I was hired by the VA Medical Center. As soon as I began working for the VA, I started having nightmares, night terrors, and flashbacks of my entire military career. I was flooded with emotions, memories and more questions. It all steamrolled out of control and turned into a mental health crisis.

From the very first day when I raised my right hand and recited my oath to serve my country, it was obvious I was less than 1% of females in military service. I was young attractive petite, and had an outgoing personality. It was a recipe for disaster.

For me, it all started in basic training. July 4th 1979-Basic Training (Lackland AFB, TX) I was tricked into a male dorm occupied by security police trainees, kept for a time against my will for the purpose of sex by Airman XXX. I was terrorized with fear of what would happen to me if anyone ever found out. Airman XXX was training as a Security Police Officer which made things worse because he used his status to convince me that if I ever told that I would never be believed and he could make certain it would haunt me forever. Besides, I had no one to tell.

August 1979- While in Technical Training School at Chanute AFB, I was asleep in my bed my roommate Airman XXX, was not present. I was awaken by a female Airman. She entered my room through a shared bathroom. She climbed in bed with me and tried to molest me in my room in my bed. Her hands were all over my body trying to remove my clothes. I paralyzed with fear. I was so shocked. I told my roommate but no one else. I learned that I was not even safe amongst women. Also at Chanute AFB, IL, I sexually assaulted by Sr. Airman XXX. He was in charge of a cleanup detail. Our whole squadron was moving out of one dormitory to another building. Part of that was checking beds/linens/mattresses, etc., and he forced himself on top of me. He tried to get my pants off and tried to rape me. I managed to get free, but not before he had an erection pressing hard against my body. I told no one.

That was the way it was for me. I was made to believe at some point that providing pleasure for my peers was my real duty in the Air Force… Moral support for our male troops Just before I left Chanute, I was ill and quartered in the base hospital. It was all coed. I made friends with a male nurse. One night, I awoke to him at my bedside. He had placed his hand under my covers; and molested me. Very creepy! It was surreal and again I was paralyzed, and shocked with disbelief. I thought I was dreaming when I realized what a violation had just happened to me again; like always… I just shut it out for a very long time. As if I hadn’t already had so many confusing and difficult experiences in such a short time.

When I finally left Chanute, in November 1979. It was my first chance to return home to my family. I couldn’t run to home for safety, fast enough. When I arrived at Travis AFB my first duty station, I should have had a clue what I was in for there. On my first day there I was given the name Jail Bait… SSgt. XXX, Jet Engine Mechanic @ Travis AFB, CA 1980. I met at a party 12/31/1979. He was quite charming and persuaded me to celebrate the New Year with a drink I and became too intoxicated( I was not used to alcohol). As it got late, my ride had left, and he offered a ride back to base and took off with me to San Francisco on a drunken ride from hell, it turned into date rape. I felt guilt and shame, as though I brought it on, he worked hard at “being sorry” I allowed him to woo me I was in deep denial and had become used to the abuse…

I became pregnant which resulted in harassment and threats of harm from his so called fiancé. I was told if I kept the baby I would be sorry, and he would never stick around and leave all on my alone to raise this baby. I was never aware he had a fiancé until this situation arose. Threatening notes began to appear on my car, all 4 tires on my car were flattened with a knife in my dormitory parking lot. She would show-up places off base as if I was being followed. I was unknowingly given LSD at a party. It was a horrible scary ordeal. I could not take a risk that the fetus was damaged as a result I had to get an abortion, that I anguished over. I suffered a depression as a result of the forced abortion.

During my inpatient stay in XXX, January 8, 2010. I was brutally raped and assaulted by an OEF/OIF Navy Veteran. I agreed to give him a ride to a 12-step meeting we were required to attend. I was drugged with quetiepine, then raped in my car@ a secluded park. I reported it. He was charged and indicted by the Grand Jury. He was arrested and stayed in jail for 3 months until the case was dropped by the D.A. 3 months later citing she didn’t think she could win, but I know it was political bias since we were dealing with the VA.

My Duty to Speak

Rape at Sheppard Air Force base

Med Ho, United States Air Force

I was raped during my technical training at Sheppard AFB by my “wingman” in 2003. I was 23 and it was my first sexual experience. My rape wasn’t as brutal as many I’ve heard described. I said no. He did it anyway. It was almost as if he thought I was kidding when I said no, despite the unmistakable seriousness in my tone and demeanor. I fought back, cursed at him, and told him to get off of me. I was able to push him off of me fairly quickly. I was not physically injured, given a disease, nor did I get pregnant.

In a twisted way, I felt lucky. After all, one of the first things we were told upon arrival at tech school by the first sergeant himself was that we were statistically almost guaranteed to be raped. At least mine didn’t seem to be as brutal as most. Rape is horrible no matter the circumstances, but you can’t even begin to imagine suffering something like that so far away from home and with ZERO support.

I didn’t report it. I knew better. I couldn’t tell my family because I knew it would devastate them. I finally confided in an instructor because I felt like holding it in was killing me. I had to let it out, even if it was to an almost total stranger. I’m pretty sure the instructor was reprimanded for not betraying what I had confided in him. For that I am deeply sorry.

As for me, I was sent back to Phase I from Phase IV, meaning I was back to to the restrictions of an Airman straight out of basic training. I was also put on suicide watch, ensuring that some strange man or another would be coming to my dorm room every two hours, twenty four hours a day. Keep in mind, I hadn’t even reported anything. I shudder to think what would have happened had I actually officially reported it. I don’t suffer from flashbacks, insomnia, or PTSD. Again, I suppose I should feel “lucky”.

I do suffer from the knowledge that an act that should be a pleasurable expression of affection will always be painful for me. I will never be able to share that part of myself with someone else. I can’t describe the grief that wells up every time I am made painfully aware of that fact, which has been any time I’ve tried to engage in a healthy sexual relationship.

Post script: The ‘med hos’ are what the (mostly female) medical squadron is called. It was called that when I was there in 2003 and a currently enlisted acquaintance says that it still is. Mention the term to any Airman and they will know exactly to which squadron you are referring.

My Duty to Speak

Sexual Assault at Keesler Air Force Base

Jennifer, United States Air Force

Technical School Instructor Sexually Assaults New Recruit I joined the Air National Guard in 1996 at the age of 24. At the onset of my career, I was raped by my recruiter at his house. I was invited to a “new recruit” party, drugged, and raped. I never told anyone because I was too ashamed. I had PTSD before I even left for basic training.

After completing basic training, I was sent to Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi for technical school training. I had orders to attend six months of Satellite and Wideband Communications training. I quickly realized that the military culture was one of zero tolerance for reporting sexual harassment, assault, or rape. I witnessed two women speak out and get completely railroaded for reporting, one was kicked out. They were Active Duty.

I was two weeks away from graduation when I got sexually assaulted by my technical school instructor. He taught the basic operation of the satellite communications van. The mobile communications van is a box with racks of equipment in it. You could stand up in the equipment but it was a small enclosed space with a door that locked. For the final exam in this block, we all had to enter the mobile satellite communications van and configure it for a preventative maintenance inspection. When it was my turn, we entered the van like everyone else and the instructor shut the door. I began configuring the van for the maintenance inspection. I was confident that I could successfully complete the task. My back was to the instructor while I worked on the task.

After a few minutes, the technical school instructor came from behind me and pinned me to the racks of equipment while rubbing his genitals on me. And then he whispered in my ear, “Let me help you, let me help you.” I freaked out and fight or flight kicked in. I told him not to touch me and that I didn’t need his help. It was an intense moment so my adrenaline and my anxiety levels were through the roof. I had a hard time thinking straight after this happened. I hadn’t completed the task yet so I still had to finish it and wait for positive results, with shaking hands. That time with him felt like it lasted an eternity. I couldn’t wait for him to formally excuse me after passing the exam. Unfortunately, it did not end there.

At the end of the duty day, he asked me to stay behind so he could inform me that he was failing me for attitude even though I passed the final exam. I immediately began to cry and ask him why he was doing all this to me. I begged him to reconsider. He told me that he would reconsider only if I showed up the next day an hour or so before everyone else. I left the hangar in a state of panic. I wasn’t sure how to get out of the mess that this man created. I did not want to turn this guy in and get stuck dealing with an investigation when I only had two weeks left at Keesler AFB. I was so close and I was going to graduate and go home. I loved my job and I loved being in the military.

The next day, instead of going to class at all, I went to the Air National Guard liaison’s office. I had already been in contact with them regarding some shady medical practices at the hospital so they knew that I was already frustrated with the system, homesick, and depressed. I told them that the instructor wanted to fail me for attitude. I told them that I thought he just misinterpreted my sadness and depression. They agreed to give him a call and explain what we had been dealing with regarding the medical care. They called him and apparently he acquiesced because I was told to report to my next class with a brand new instructor. I dodged a bullet. I prevented my own rape.

I went to my next class with the rest of my classmates and never saw him again. In 2001, I was sent back to Keesler AFB for more advanced training. Shortly after training began, a couple classmates and I went to the NCO club. I felt safe there so I had a couple shots. As soon as he walked through the door I recognized him immediately. It was the technical school instructor that had sexually assaulted me in tech school in 1997. I immediately went into a blinded fury, stood up, took his picture, and then went to confront him. I started by telling him that it was time for some closure. I don’t remember what else I said but I was going off about what he had done to me in tech school.

The bartender called Security Forces and I was hauled out of there. I was informed that he was going to press charges against me for “disrespect to a NCO”. I told them to tell him that if he pressed charges against me that I was going to press charges against him for sexual harassment. Security Forces relayed the information to him and then came back to tell me that he dropped the charges. They told me to go home and cool off. They also told me that I was allowed back at the club just not that night. And that the technical school instructor just happened to be on leave from his permanent duty station in England. He was just visiting Keesler.

My class leader told me that I should cover myself and report the incident to the First Sargeant of the Communications training flight at Keesler. I put it in writing and met with him briefly. I never heard another word about it afterwards but I was fearful that the incident would get back to my new Commander. I was afraid of how it might affect his perception of me. This was the second of four sexual offenders I came in direct contact with while serving my country.

My Duty to Speak

Air National Guard Recruiter Rapes New Recruit

Jennifer, United States Air Force

I joined the Air National Guard in 1996.  Like everyone else, I had to go through a recruiter.  I was in the process of applying for civilian police officer positions.  I decided that joining the National Guard would not only be exciting but would supplement my resume and my income.  I am very patriotic but I didn’t realize how much until I joined the military.

Shortly after joining the Guard, my recruiter, invited me to a “new recruit” party.  I was very excited about meeting new people.  The party was held at the recruiter’s house in a town about 45 minutes from where we were stationed.  I arrived at his house and the only people there were his neighbors, a couple.  One of them was in the Air National Guard with us.  No one else showed up that night.

The recruiter immediately proceeded to commence in drinking games.  It was his idea and he was the one serving all the drinks.  We played quarters.  I am horrible at quarters so he kept insisting that I drink and he kept serving me more alcohol.  At one point, I had like five or more shots in front of me that he tried to pressure me to drink.  After a little while, I started to get annoyed.  I refused to drink anymore and didn’t care if I had 10 drinks in front of me.  I wasn’t going to drink regardless of how much he pressured me.  I eventually got up from the table and left the room.  When I stood up, I felt dizzy.

I went into his livingroom and laid down on his couch.  The recruiter and his neighbors stayed in the kitchen and continued to drink.  I passed out.  When I woke up, the neighbors were gone, the house was dark, and the recruiter was carrying me into his bedroom.  I couldn’t move.  I felt like I was outside my body watching everything.  The recruiter raped me.  I was physically unable to resist and mentally frozen.  After he was done with me, he turned his back to me and went to sleep.

I passed out again and awoke around 4 or 5 in the morning, it was light out.  I woke up in a panic, confused about what had happened.  I put my clothes on and darted out of his house.  He continued to sleep.  I showered when I got home.  I couldn’t face that I was raped.  I felt so ashamed and blamed myself for being stupid.  I should never have gone to his house in the first place.

Because he was in the Air National Guard, the chances of running into him increased.  I couldn’t face what had happened so I avoided him like the plague.  It wasn’t hard to do if I stayed out of the main building at the Station.  I found out later that he had invited one other new recruit that I worked with.  The other new recruit told me that he couldn’t find the recruiter’s house so he went home.  He chocked it up to bad directions but I knew that it was intentional.

While attending technical school training at Keesler AFB, I met a fellow Air National Guard member.  We got to talking about the recruiter.  He told me that his female cousin wanted to join the Air National Guard and was also invited to a “new recruit” party.  She, too, had been sexually assaulted by this recruiter.  As a result, she did not join.  My blood boiled when I learned about this information.  I recognized the pattern immediately.  I was so upset that I called the recruiter at work, flipped out on him, and told him that I was going to turn him in when I got home.  I told him that I knew what he had done to the other woman as well.  He hung up on me.  I needed to get through my training knowing that when I got home, I would deal with him.

When I got home from technical school training, he was gone.  He had quit a job that people just don’t quit.  He had walked away from all the years he had put in and his retirement; he was a Technical Sargeant (E-6) in an AGR position (active duty Guard).  I heard that he had moved to North Carolina.  I felt satisfied that I had made an impact because he left, he was gone, and I didn’t have to turn him in and risk harming my career.  I never wanted to see him again.  I never told anyone, not even my friends and family, what happened.

I think the recruiter drugged me.  And I never want to experience that out of control feeling ever again.  As a result I rarely drink.  When I do, I keep an eye on my drink and I am with people who make me feel safe.  I have a hard time when my husband sleeps with his back to me.  It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it triggers me because of that one night.  I am sickened that this man is still out there preying on other innocent victims.  He is by all accounts a serial rapist, using the same modus operandi.  This was the first of four perpetrators I encountered in the first two years of service to my country.

Coast Guard, My Duty to Speak

Slut-shaming the US Military way.

By Panayiota Bertzikis

Hey y’all did you hear I am a  “psyco [sic] jizz gobbler” and a “slam pig” Of course you heard it-rape survivor and name calling they go hand in hand. Its okay. I know that if Mother Theresa (RIP MT) was ever raped she would probably have been called a slut. My colleague and best friend in the whole entire world-sisters not related by blood but I love this girl to death-Melissa was raped in the Air Force and then rumors flew like wild (no pun intended) that she had slept with THE ENTIRE AIR FORCE-ALL 350,000 of them! That must be some sort of world record. Wait in less than a year time did you say? God damm it Melissa you were one busy lady. Yes, she knows that I am writing about her as we are both on FB chat as I am writing this rolling our cyber eyes at how dumb the rape culture is. This is just what the rape shamers, rape apologists, rape excusers-whatever you want to call them-do to rape survivors. They  come in any any rank, age, ethnic group-it can be a man as much as it can be a woman. It can be anyone.  They call rape survivors psycho, tell us that we are at fault for what happened and of course call us sluts. It is called rape culture and slut shaming, more on that later. To the Coast Guardsman that  called me a jizz gobbler-no hard feelings I can not take seriously anyone that does not use real words.

The person who allegedly called me this was a Captain (he must have teenage kids at home or something.) For those not up to part with the teenage slangs of the minute (its okay at the age of 29 I already look at teenagers with the utterly confused WTH does that mean look. Wait I did that when I was 16 too-god I was always such a dork.)

Here are the definitions according to Urban Dictionary

Jizz gobbler: One who engages in the act or practice of ingesting semen in a rapid or enthusiastic manner.

Slam pig: a girl that is such a slut and has been fucked so many times, that most men realize she has some kind of venereal disease and decide not to go near her

Jizz Globbler and Slam pig seriously Captain? This makes absolutely zero fucking sense when it comes to describing a rape survivor.

Let just say that I really am a Jizz Gobbler (isn’t that the funniest fake word ever?) and let just say Melissa really did sleep with the entire Air Force willingly then why will we be raped? Did Melissa sleep with 349,999 airmen and then the 350,000th she cried rape? Can someone tell me how this work? We’ll be sluts (I know women should be able to sleep with how many people she wants without being labeled but follow me on this)  and go about our slutty ways and we’ll like it cause well that is just what a slut does and that’s fine if that is what you are into.  Bottom line:  YOU CAN NOT RAPE THE WILLING.

But  all jokes aside we have been raped as have one in three women who are serving in the United States Armed Forces. Yes I know you probably all know this but  this is for you Captain I called my shipmate a psyco jizz gobbler. The definition of rape under the Uniform Code of Justice is:

Article 120, Rape, sexual assault, and other sexual misconduct.


By using force: That the accused caused another person, who is of any age, to engage in a sexual act by using force against that other person.

By causing grievous bodily harm: That the accused caused another person, who is of any age, to engage in a sexual act by causing grievous bodily harm to any person.

By using threats or placing in fear: That the accused caused another person, who is of any age, to engage in a sexual act by threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, grievous bodily harm, or kidnapping.

By rendering another unconscious: That the accused caused another person, who is of any age, to engage in a sexual act by rendering that other person unconscious.

Yep some heavy stuff there. Not one word about sluts, sleeping around or jizz gobbling. The use of one’s force in a sexual manner to control and imply fear onto another person. Rape is done against the will of the victim. Again, if we willingly sleep with every man who remotely glance our way then it is impossible to be raped. Sluts says yes, rape victims say NO. My very good friend Jenny, an US Navy rape survivor and kick ass woman, said it the best: “ If we all wanted it, we would be back for more and not reporting rapes.” I agree with Jenny and you should to!

However we are living in a rape culture and in that all women who are having sex are sluts. Survivors are  slut-shamed  into thinking that they are at fault for being raped–for no other than because they are sluts! Every woman who I know who reported a rape was slut-shamed, even women who were not raped are often slut-shamed. Basically if you are a woman living today you have been called a slut at some point in your life. She had sex (consensual) with someone and she is called a slut. Even if you are a virgin you are a slut! I heard the media calling 5 years old girls slutty–five years old girls? What message is that sending them and all who heard?.  If you say yes to sex you are called a slut or if you say no you are called a slut. Either way women who are having sex or not having sex are being called sluts. This is called slut-shaming.

Slut Shaming is attacking women for their sex lives. For rape survivors it goes even further in that it attack survivors of sexual assault and rape by shaming her and making everyone-including the survivor to think that she “asked to be raped” . I have worked with over 6500 military sexual assault and rape survivors and from my professional humble opinion I do not think any one of my clients ever asked to be raped. Again if we asked to have sex it is consensual and therefore not rape.

Slut shaming comes in so many different forms. If you are a survivor of Military Sexual Trauma you’ll probably could relate to any one or more of the following examples of Slut-Shaming:

Straight out being called a Slut: Can’t get anymore simple. Calling a rape survivor a slut because well you know only sluts get raped. They may say it to our face but more often they don’t have the courage to do so they’ll go around our back, tell the entire crew, maybe post it on-line and use cutesy made up fake words like Jizz Gobbler. It does not matter what the survivor’ sexual history is-if she was a virgin at time of rape or if she slept with 80 men-it does not matter. According to rape-shamers if you been raped you are a jizz gobbler slam pig and that’s that.

Morning After Remorse: This often, but not always, goes along with drinking. You went out with some guys in which you just spent over a year with in Afghanistan. You drank to being back home in the USA and after 2 drinks you start to feeling a bit light-headed. You not sure what is happening cause normally it takes you more than 2 drinks to feel anything. Next thing you know you wake up and are half-naked. Any sane person can see that you were probably drugged. Your comrades and rape apologists though will cry “Morning After Remorse”. According to them you drank too much, you slept around and then went “oops I slept with the wrong man last night.”  What they fail to see is that us normal folks, you know none-rapists, when we are out with a buddy that may have drank too much we make sure that they are safe, we take away their car keys, drive them home and not use it as an opportunity to have sex with them as they are passed out in their own vomit. Rapist though use it as their chance to have sex without your consent (you can not consent if you drank too much–or been drugged). NO CLEAR YES=RAPE.

Imaginary curfew: I understand that some military installations do have curfews for all and if you out beyond curfew time and you get raped it is still not your fault. At one point the military had “women only curfews” in that a woman can not leave her barrack room after a certain hour without a male escort. When they came to realize that over 80% of women are raped by somebody that they know so a woman has a higher chance of being raped by the male escort than by a complete stranger walking alone they scratched that idea. Today though most posts do not have any curfews. As long as you performing your duties and following all regulations you can pretty much come and go as you please. If you on liberty and want to make a milk run to the 24-hours grocery story at 2am you most likely could. Unless of course you been raped. Rape apologists will argue that you are putting yourself in a dangerous situation by being out when it is dark. If you are out later than when your grandmother goes to bed you are a SLUT just begging, wanting to be raped. They are more concern on why you were out and about at 2am than the fact that you been raped.

You consent once, you consent always. So you been dating a guy or you thought some guy was cute and was making out with him at the bar or you are married or you been with a guy but you no longer together or you totally crushing on a guy and everybody knows it and then he rapes you. Whatever sexual acts that you did prior to the rape does not make the rape any less of a rape. Rape excusers though would blame victim. You were seen at the bar making out with him-and then you went to his room. You were asking for it! Well not exactly,  just because someone was making out with someone does not mean that they consent to every single sexual act. You slept with him and been dating. Having sex once-or once a day with someone does not give consent to have sex every single time. You are married to him. When you take your vows you do not give up your right to consent. Stupid arguments from stupid rape-apologists trying to do nothing other than SLUT-SHAME a survivor.

Fashion Police: So you chose to enlist in the military, graduated with honors from basics and MOS school, and right before your first deployment you fall victim of a rape. Next thing you know you in a room talking about the “evil of miniskirts and tank tops” and its all going so fast that for a second you wondered how Joan Rivers got herself a Marine Corps uniform and an M16 until you realized that it was your NCO and he is talking about red mini skirts and low-cut tanks. Why is he talking about  fashion when you guys are deploying in 10 days? Two words: SLUT SHAMING. What we were wearing when we got raped, whatever that outfit was, is the reason we were raped or so they try to make us and everyone else believe.  If we were in a red mini skirt(totally slutty), jeans and a tee-shirt (slutty but depending on how tight our jeans are we may be playing hard to get but still slutty) or our BDUs (well it looks slutty on us cause you know we have boobs and all). By blaming the victim and slut-shaming into making everyone including the survivor feel that she is at fault for what happened then how could they punish the rapist? It was the sweatpants and t-shirt that made him do it! Just to let you know whatever a rape survivor wears is going to be viewed as slutty. We can never win.

There is a movement called Slut Walk. It all started last winter in Toronto  when a police officer told an audience of college students at York University that in order to not be raped women should “stop dressing like slut”. Were people pissed! We are living in a culture that tells women to not get raped, instead of men to not rape. They took it to the streets, there have been Slutwalks in DC, Dubai, London, literally everywhere and on these walks women and men can dress up however slutty that they desire-some wore miniskirts and high heels, others in Burkas. Melissa and I attended a Slutwalk wearing our military uniforms. The message is ‘My outfit does not consent to you raping me’. Women get raped regardless if they are wearing a burka, a red mini skirt or the uniform of the US Coast Guard. For those in the Phoenix, AZ area I’ll be a speaker at the Phoenix Slutwalk talking about slut-shaming in the Coast Guard. Holler back if you interested in attending.

The military likes to control it people. They tell us what to wear, when to eat, where to live, when we can leave the military regardless of what our contract says-so if they can breach our military enlistment contract and get away with it why can’t they tell men and women that it is not okay to tell a victim of rape that she is…a crazy, lying or a slut? The slut-shaming is starting from the top (Remember Captain I called my shipmate a psyco jizz gobbler?) and making it way down the ranks.

I want to give you some solution to make slut-shaming go away but it is so ingrained in the military  institution as well as non-military rape culture that it is going beyond just a few bad apples.

As I said we live in a culture that slut-shame women for their every move. What can you do to help eliminate the rape culture and slut-shaming. Here are some ideas:

1. Don’t tell rape jokes or sexist jokes. Tell others why they are not funny! Need help? Go here.

2. Don’t blame women for rape. We are not raped because we are out at 2am, went out for beers with the guys or because our uniform looks “sexy” on us. The person who is to blame is the RAPIST!

3. Don’t call someone a slut or use fake words that mean slut! Women can sleep with whoever she wants (as long as it is consensual for all parties involved) without being called names. Whoever you sleep with just make sure that it is safe sex!

4. Reach out to rape survivors on post. Telling them that they you believe them and that they are not fault is the most wonderful thing to hear for someone who has to deal with rape-apologists every single day.

5. Support rape survivors. Support people who support rape survivors. Volunteer at the Military Rape Crisis Center or a rape crisis center in your community or volunteer to be a Victim Advocate!