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 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.