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.
Anonymous, United States Army
I joined the military at 18 because my mother was sick. She died when I was 19yrs old in A.I.T. Two months later I was sent to Korea after being there a month I was raped by a top-ranking soldier. I was already devastated by the death of my mother this just pushed me over the edge. After trying to cope for a few weeks, I couldn’t so I took an overdose of Percocet. At the hospital, I found out I was pregnant with his child. I was horrified. I didn’t know what to do.
In the hospital, I informed my female Sargent, and she told me to keep quiet no one will believe me. She then told me to go off the post in Korea and find a abortions doctor. Abortion is illegal in Korea, and they wouldn’t allow me on a plane until I was 6 months. I had never felt so alone. I gave birth to her, and my family would not allow me to give her up.
She is now 13 and thriving I am a mental case and dying. Its hard enough seeing your attackers face every day, but even harder losing your life and having no help. They did DNA, and it was his. He pays a few dollars a month, but he still gets to live his life. The military refuses to acknowledge my assault. I suppose if it didn’t happen this child must be a ghost. I struggle every day to pay bills, to eat, to care for this child, I have no car, I’m a prisoner serving time. I need help. I was only 19yrs old, what about me??
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.
Wronged Recruit, United States Army
I had loved hanging out at the recruiting station, chatting with my recruiter, SFC H. He seemed like a nice guy. Always willing to come pick me up across town since I didn’t have a car, let me use his computer since I didn’t have internet, answer any question I may have even if it wasn’t military related. It took me 6 months from when I first walked in that door to when I swore in. SFC H was in the process of leaving for deployment with his wife and kids. I swore in June 27, 2012. A week or so later, SFC H wanted to take me out to dinner to celebrate. He said he took all his recruits out. I agreed. We went to a pizza place and chatted for a while.
We talked about the online training I had to complete and that I didn’t have internet. He offered to let me come back to his hotel room and use his computer. I was hesitant. He insisted, saying it was for military business/training. I was still hesitant, but agreed. We did most of my training, then chatted about basic and AIT for a while. He started talking about how I needed to “get my lovin done before I went.” Then he offered to help me with that. I declined and said I had to leave. He reminded me that he had the power to get my contract cut. He made me sleep with him. He told me not to tell anyone.
When I got to basic, we had our SHARP training. I finally broke down and told our liaison. She took me straight to the 1SG, who had me go to CID. They took my statement and said they would be in touch. I received one call via my CO during basic from CID. My Drill Sgts told me to get over it and that I should be fine with them running their hands from hips to ankles during shake downs after the range, etc. I wasn’t. The DS constantly singled me out and belittled me for having those issues. I ended up being discharged after my “battles” told me I was lying and to kill myself to save them the trouble.
I received a couple emails and one or two phone calls from CID after that. Then an email stating that they had closed the case with no repercussions for SFC H. I was crushed. Not only was my trust in my NCOs shattered, but my trust in my battle buddies and the UCMJ. JAG didn’t do anything. Anytime I tried to talk to somebody about it, I was blown off. The VA isn’t much help, helplines aren’t much help, I’ve even tried civilian sources. The second I mention military, they stop paying attention. I have constant nightmares about him coming after me. I am so jumpy it’s now a joke and game to my coworkers to see me jump out of my skin when they sneak up behind me. I can’t sleep, I eat so much I’ve gained over 50 lbs since basic. I’m at a complete loss as to what to do anymore. It’s a nightly battle convincing myself that suck-starting my pistol won’t solve my problems. I feel so alone.
Anonymous, United States Army
I am stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, originally from New Jersey. I never said anything about this because I was embarrassed because I broke down and took a plea deal where he plead guilty to adultery.
He was supposed to receive a letter of reprimand, to be confined for 45 days, to undergo 45 days of hard labor, to be restricted for 45 days, and to be reduced in rank to E-3. ..well I JUST now got an email from the Department of the Navy stating he was administratively discharged on 12 April 2013. And that “although I am approving this sentence, no hard labor without confinement or period of restriction was initiated prior to administrative separation” …an email 6 months after the fact, with a letter that was dated 26 April, basically saying “Oh, I’m sorry, he only did half of his punishment.”Which was an already reduced punishment in my opinion for what I’ve gone through because of him! ..I’m not sure what you can do with this information, but I figure someone should hear this besides the people he that have done NOTHING for me. I HOPE YOU CAN USE THIS STORY FOR SOMETHING GOOD!
On September 9, 2011 I lost all my trust in the military. That’s the night I decided to go out with someone I met through work, HM2, USN. I had worked with HM2 for a few weeks when he asked me to go with him and a few other co-workers to celebrate his last weekend in Bethesda. I agreed to this because I was under the impression it was going to be a group gathering. I wrote my phone number down on a piece of paper for him to contact me with the details, I was only told it was going to be a Friday night. He never contacted me but instead just showed up to my place of duty and offered to give me a ride to Downtown DC where we were to meet the others. No one else ended up showing up but I stayed and we danced at a few different clubs.
That night ended in a hotel room that I do not remember getting to. Between that moment and the next morning, I have hazy, intermittent memories of him having sex with me. The next morning I tried to forget it ever happened, I wanted to forget I ever met him. But that is when he continuously placed phone calls to my place of duty and even went as far as to drive 45 minutes out of his way to, I believe, intimidate me. The last phone call he placed is when I was blindsided with the information that this person is married, has three children, and has herpes. I wanted this to all go away, to forget it ever happened, but he chose to, once again, do the wrong thing.
I feel betrayed in two ways: I feel betrayed as a woman and I feel betrayed by the Navy as a soldier. I am 23 years old, hardworking, intelligent, and caring. I would never hurt someone on purpose. I would never maliciously attack, violate, or intimidate someone. Joining the Army is the only thing that has taken me away from home. I feel like some of my innocence was lost. The fact that I cannot remember getting to the hotel room has made me very depressed and has left me crippled with anxiety. Most of the anxiety stems from the fact that I cannot remember what happened, playing it back in my mind, wondering if just would have done “this” or “that”…maybe he wouldn’t have done this to me.
Sometimes I wake up out of my sleep, panicking, and lock myself in the bathroom until I can calm myself down. Other times I dream that I am trying to scream for help, but no noise comes out of my mouth. I feel so disgusting and horrible. This person also put me at risk of contracting an incurable disease. Thankfully, I have tested negative for herpes. During the time all of this happened I was taking two college classes. I received my first “D” and second “C” in my academic career. My goal in September 2011 was to get my Bachelor’s degree in Medical Imaging by January 2013. I also had specific goals to reach professionally, but I have yet to get that motivation back.
As a soldier, we are taught that being a Non-Commissioned Officer is an honor and a privilege bestowed upon those who earn it. That it’s a position held by someone who has not only proven themselves as a soldier, but as a leader. An NCO swears to “at all times conduct one’s self so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service, and their country” and to “never compromise their integrity”…but HM2 chose to bring shame to the military and himself. An NCO is something that I whole-heartedly aspired to be before this happened; now, I struggle with my motivation to continue to reach my goals and I no longer want to re-enlist and be a career soldier. This has affected not only me but my work place at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Radiology Department.
This “NCO” – HM2 – showed up to the Radiology department multiple times after he PCS’d down to Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. The first two times I didn’t say anything. Then he called. And after I found out he was married he showed up again after calling a few times. All of this calling and showing up to work made me nervous and not a productive member of the team. And the phone calls took time that none of us had because we are a very busy department. The last time he showed up to work was a Friday, which is a flight night for us, we are busy. When I told a co-worker to ask him to leave he didn’t leave. So I waited about 15 minutes and he was still there. That’s when my co-worker got my Army NCO, SGT and I told him what happened and that HM2 needed to leave.
At that point three productive members to the Radiology team, on one of the busiest nights, were unavailable because HM2 would not leave. Not only were we unavailable for a portion of the night, I had to leave for the remainder of the shift because SGT told me to leave and go to a friend’s house to be safe. I was grilled and interrogated as if I had been the one who had done wrong, then I was given the run-around as to whom my counsel was and what, if any, progress was being made with this case. I can’t help but feel this is a systematic process that weeds out the faint of heart and tries to scare victims of assault into thinking that there isn’t a chance in hell that justice will be brought forth and they will be protected.
I gave my blessing for this plea deal because after 16 months, I cannot endure anymore. I have been treated like a criminal. I was re-victimized by Navy JAG officers who berated me for wanting to get an order of protection from this person who had already shown behavior that would warrant one. I would not have been put in this situation and treated the way I have been for the past 16 months had it not been for HM2’s actions the night of September 9, 2011 and thereafter with him showing up to work.
J, United States Army
I have been on the sidelines for a number of years, a secret survivor, cheering on those who were standing up, telling their stories. I’ve realized I cannot hide anymore. Hiding for me, has been a way to deny that what happened to me was real, a way to hide from the devastating emotional impacts of surviving.
I enlisted in the Army reserves in Sept of 2005- I had dreamed of enlisting for years – growing up everyone said I was going to be a ministry or a soldier. Although my ASVAB scores qualified me for many jobs, I really wanted to be in the Military Police (31B). I arrive at Ft. Leonard Wood for One Station Unit Training (OSUT) in the middle of the night, having taken the 3 hour bus ride from St. Louis. Honestly, from that point until I left reception, my military experience was pretty normal. Long lines – paperwork, shots, clothing, powerpoints. I got to my training company and things went fine as far as red phase of boots camp goes. The usual long hours, fast pace, never any down time. After a while things began to slow down and we settled into a training routine. That all changed during the winter. I was the victim of non-consensual sodomy and indecent assault when a fellow trainee sexually assaulted me one night after lights out.
The assault quickly became my darkest secret. All through OSUT I pretended it didn’t happen and just tried to ignore it… but by January 2006, the guilt, shame and confusion had grown too much to handle. During a quiet period about 5 or 6 weeks before graduation, I attempt suicide. I had my military belt set up to hang myself in the showers, but I was interrupted by a fellow trainee known as “Mormon” (because he was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). He must have sensed something other than homesickness was wrong and just sat and talked with me for what felt like forever. It was probably only a few minutes, but it was enough to stop me.
I didn’t tell him what had happened… it was still my secret… Later, in February of 2006, in a hazing incident, I was grabbed and duct taped in our sleeping bay. Although this was unrelated to the assault it just furthered the feelings of depression and shame.
The final humiliation came in late February of 2006, during an “amnesty day – when soldiers usually confess where they hid their cigarettes or dvd’s or cell phones during the last few months – but where my attacker told everyone what he had done and faced no repercussions. This series of events have haunted me in the years since.
I never reported it, partially because the perpetrator had confessed in front of the drill sergeants and nothing happened to him and because I thought I deserved it (“I guess I just gave off a gay vibe” or “it was just hazing” ) For years, I’ve tried to keep it a secret, even from myself – to deny that it had really happened or that it was has bad as it was, but all that denial just did was re-traumatize me day after day. I wish I could conclude my account with some pithy and brilliant summary, but I can’t. All I know is that I can’t stay silent anymore. It is my duty to speak.
Maine, United States Army
My unit & I had been deployed in Iraq for approximately 10 months when I was sexually assaulted by my squad leader and a squad sized group of individuals.
The main perpetrator was my squad leader, along with four other male assailants. The assault occurred right before Christmas Day. Although I am unable to recall which exact day it happened, I do know that it was either Dec ember 22nd or 23rd of the year 2004. It occurred on Tallil Air Base, Iraq. It was not unusual for the squad leader to call a squad meeting late in the evening, after dark. ( 21:00 or sometimes later) He did this so that my squad would know what to expect for missions and to pass on general information. I would attend these meetings because I was required to do so. He held the meetings in his personal quarters, with the entire squad participating.
The night of my sexual assault, SSG (squad leader) knocked on the door of my quarters, about 20:00. He told me to come with him to his squad meeting. I did as I was told. My entire squad was there in his living container quarters, which then SSG (squad leader) proceeded with his meeting. It was the ordinary agenda, just upcoming mission information. After the meeting, half of the squad immediately left SSG (squad leader’s) quarters. When I went to leave, SSG (Squad leader) suggested that I “stick around for a little while longer”. One of the assailants had received two 30 can cases of Budweiser beer in the mail, from a friend as an apparent Christmas gift. (Although it was against the general orders, consuming alcohol was very common for those in my unit. People got creative in order to obtain alcoholic beverages and did so often.
I did not partake in the consumption of the alcohol at all during my tour until the night of the assault. SSG (squad leader) and the other individuals present starting to drink the beer. They started to gather around me, and soon I was unable to physically leave. SSG put an open can of beer in my hand and told me to drink it. Since SSG (squad leader) told me to drink the beer, I trusted him, so I did. I drank the beer, which seemed to hit me very hard. It only took one beer to debilitate me. In retrospect, I have suspected that the open can of beer handed to me was probably spiked with a date rape drug. In fact, one of the perpetrators, had been in trouble with the law before deployment involving drug related charges as well being reprimanded for operating under the influence while in Iraq. With that being said, this particular soldier could have easily gotten a hold of certain contraband items, such as a variety of drugs.
While lying flat on my back on a bunk, I could see and hear what was going on, but could not move. I was terribly frightened, confused and in shock. I do not remember how my clothes came off, but before I knew it, I was completely nude and surrounded. SSG (sqaud leader) then proceeded to put his penis in my mouth and told me to “suck it”. I did as I was told because I didn’t know what else to do. At one point I remember SSG (sqaud leader) on top of me, and I said that “I don’t want to do this! Let me go! Stop doing that!!” The others in the room just laughed when I started crying, and SSG (squad leader) said “Come on, You know you want this! You’ve been asking for this the whole time we’ve been here.” SPC (co- assailant 1) stated that He wanted to get his camera and “film the action!” I begged and pleaded at him to not do that. SPC (assailant -2) seemed reluctant to touch me at first but was egged on by the others to “take advantage of the pussy.” SPC (assailant -4) bent me over the bunk and forced himself from behind. After that particular moment, I closed my eyes and blacked out. I came in and out of consciousness.
In the moments I remember during this phase, I was crying and just doing what I was told. I was able to sit up, and then SPC (co-assailant) told me to “suck his cock!” When I was finished doing so, SPC (co-assailnant 1) said “You are a goddess! I’m walking funny now!” SPC (co-assailant3) then bent me forward over the bunk and proceeded to rape me from behind. At this point, I could no longer feel anything in my genitals. SPC (co-assailant 2) laid me flat on my back on the bunk again. He proceeded to grab my breasts and put his penis between them, and ejaculated on my chest. I did not resist, as I was too fearful. At this point, I lost consciousness.
When I came to, I had my clothes back on, except for my bra. I felt very sick to my stomach and dizzy, but I managed to walk myself back to my quarters. I cried numerous times the next morning. For the first time, I felt suicidal. In fact, I had a specific plan in mind, to take my own life with my M-16 rifle in a remote part of Talill Air Base. At this point, I lost consciousness. When I came to, I had my clothes back on, except for my bra. I felt very sick to my stomach and dizzy, but I managed to walk myself back to my quarters. I cried numerous times the next morning. For the first time, I felt suicidal. In fact, I had a specific plan in mind, to take my own life with my M-16 rifle in a remote part of Talill Air Base. At the last minute I got a letter from my mother and it was then that I decided not to follow through with my plan. While these individuals were present in the event my rape, I place the chief accountability on SSG (squad leader). SSG (squad-leader) was the only NCO present as well, and if he had any integrity and character at all, he would have stopped this incident. He was my first line supervisor and the “ringleader” in my sexual assault. In retrospect, it seemed as through SPC (co-assailant 2), SPC (co-assailant 3), and SPC (co-assailant 4) were simply giving into the peer pressure, and I also did not resist or say no to these three individuals. I don’t know what ever became of SPC (co-assailant 1). A few days later, my platoon sergeant approached me in a private location. He told me that he knew what happened. He then went on to ask me if it was in fact consentual. Because I was too afraid to say otherwise, I said yes, it was consentual, but felt very bad about myself. I told him that I “felt like a whore” and that I wanted to talk to a Chaplain about what happened. I was advised not to not tell anyone about the incident, especially a chaplain. He reason being that if I told a Chaplain, I would get in serious trouble, especially because I was drinking. Fearing that I would get punished for drinking, I decided to keep quiet. However, SPC (co-assailant 1)was telling people throughout the 619th about what happened. I started to receive sexual taunts from other soldiers. Many of them coming up to me and saying things like “I heard you give good head!” or “How about a titty f*ck?” and similar comments. This sexual harassment persisted when I returned stateside within the 619th.
After being home for about 6 months, I started to receive phone calls from various soldiers who identified themselves as “investigators” One who called me very often said that He was LT from 94th headquarters (The battalion the 619th answered to) kept asking questions about the incident. I was offered no sort of advocate in that so-called investigation. During this investigation, I was extremely fearful of telling the truth. I feared for my personal safety at home, since I single at the time and lived alone, and knew my main perpetrator, SSG (squad leader) lived in the same state as I did. I feared physical harm and retaliation if I came forward even after the deployment.
About a year after returning from Iraq, I was told that I would have to face displinary actions for “indecent sexual acts”. SSG (squad leader), SPC (co-assailant 3) and myself had to travel together to Brockton, Massachusetts. I felt extremely uncomfortable and sick to my stomach. I didn’t want to go, especially riding in the same vehicle as SSG (squad leader) and SPC (co-assailant 3. I even felt suicidal again. I was made to stand at parade rest in front of Lt. Colonel Corkery, and explain my actions. I was the ONLY female soldier present at this Article 15 hearing. I stood at the desk and faced the Lt.COL Corkery completely alone, and there were other unknown male soldiers present. Again, I was offered NO advocate or even a chaperone. Lt. COL Corkery made me feel extremely bad about myself. He did his best at making feel even more ashamed and embarrassed, including telling me that “I was an embarrassment to the Army, and to all the female soldiers who came before me.” I received an article 15, but before leaving his office, Lt. COL Corkery said “as long as you stay out of trouble, I will remove the article 15 from your record.” I have no idea if this article 15 is still in my 201 file, but I have never had any article 15’s or similar disciplinary actions before or since this incident.
He made a copy of the charges against me, which was the violation of general orders (the consumption of alcohol while in Iraq) and indecent sexual acts, blacked out my name, and put it on the 619th bulletin board for the whole unit to see. My name wasn’t blacked out very well and still legible, so everyone in the unit knew it was me. I had thought my obligation to active reserve was completed, so I left the 619th.
I missed being a soldier, so I thought that I could do well in the Maine Army National Guard. Things went very well with my new unit and I even got promoted to SGT E-5. The Maine National Guard treated me well. I even started to date again and met my husband., who is my biggest advocate and is Marine Corp Veteran.
Anonymous, United States Army
In 2001 I joined the US Army. February of 2002 I left for basic training. In Aug of 02 I arrived at my unit in Hanau Germany. My chain of command during this time was constantly telling me what an outstanding soldier I was. I worked hard, did everything they told me to do, they had no complaints. I even broke records for performing my job accurately and quickly. I also shot expert with the M16. Then in late November 2002 an NCO in another battery tried to rape me. I was able to fight him off long enough for someone to overhear at which point the NCO fled.
I went to my NCO and informed him that I had been attacked; at the time I felt I could trust him. He told me to write it all down Asap and then he’d find out what the chain of command wanted me to do. A few hours later he informed me that per my platoon sergeant I was to go see the equal opportunity NCO and file a sworn statement. I filed a report through the EO NCO per my chain of commands instructions, the EO NCO kept my hand written copy and typed up a sworn statement and told me I could get a copy from my first sergeant. Several days later my first sergeant called me into his office where he told me “forget about it, it never happened” then he proceeded to shred the report. I was never given any copies.
I sank into a major depression and had to begin seeking treatment at mental health who diagnosed me with major depression. During this time suddenly my chain of commands view about me changed drastically. No matter what I did I was treated as if I was the worst soldier there. My counseling statements began reflecting this as well. In December 2002 I was diagnosed with pneumonia and put on quarters. My first sergeant decided he wanted me to guard trucks at campo pond (there was a snow storm going on at the time as well). I told him I was on quarters because I had pneumonia, he told me he didn’t care there was a building out there that I could serve my quarters at.
At 5am those of us on guard duty were kicked out of the buildings and forced to stand outside in the snow and 20 degree weather. This caused my condition to get much worse and last for much longer than it should have. At the very end of December of 02 we were sent to Israel for what later turned into a 6 month deployment. During the deployment the treatment I received by my chain of command was so severe I attempted suicide. I also went to my chain of command several times about harassment from one of my fellow soldiers; I informed them that if they didn’t do something to get him to leave me alone I would be forced to take matters into my own hands. Their answer to this was to discipline me for threatening another soldier and to take my weapon from me.
At the beginning of June when we returned to Germany my NCO began to give me numerous negative counseling statements, he informed me that my first sergeant wanted to build up enough evidence to chapter me for a pattern of misconduct. Shortly after that in mid June 2003 I was injured and almost severed my spinal cord. After this I was under profile for a while not to wear any gear. I informed my chain of command of my profile; they told me they would remove me from the guard duty roster. This did not happen. On July 9, 2003 they attempted to give me an article 15 for dereliction of duty. They held the hearing July 11, 2003 later and gave me no opportunity to see JAG. The article 15 was thrown out by my commander because my platoon LT had written in her book the exact date and time which I had fulfilled notifying the chain of command of my profile.
Within 4 days of them failing to give me an article 15, July 15, 2003, I was notified that I would be getting chaptered out of the service on a 5-13 personality disorder discharge. By this point, I admit, I was ready to get out of the service. I was majorly depressed because of the lack of action on my sexual assault. I was also in severe back pain. They informed me that if I tried to fight my chapter they would make my life a living hell. Once I told them I would accept it, they finally gave me some peace and left me alone, I stopped receiving any counseling statements except for the ones telling me I was a high risk soldier and should be safe when driving. On my birthday November 17, 2003 I was finally told that I would be leaving the service as of November 22, 2003.
On Nov 22 when I went for final out processing I was then informed for the first time that they intended to recoup $3,412.97 from me. As of July 2010 that amount was $6,411.13. They have now started to take money from my Social security disability to try to recoup this. The balance now after having them recoup portions of tax refunds and my social security is now just under $3k. I still refuse to pay financially for the horror of getting sexually assaulted then watching as the people who are supposed to back you up and ensure proper punishment happens instead do the exact opposite and instead choose to torment and punish the victim.
I am terrified of having to fight this but I know I have to. I will not be victimized repeatedly by them. Every little reminder of having to deal with DoD puts me into a severe panic attack. But I have to be strong enough for just long enough so that one day I may have some glimmer of hope of some kind of recovery. Over these last ten years I’ve dealt with nightmares, flashbacks, my ears are a huge trigger because when the NCO attacked me he sucked on my ear and whispered into it, meaning that now I’ve had to teach my kids not to whisper into mommies ears. I didn’t talk about what happened to me to my family for years. Earlier this year though I started talking and my sister was pretty shocked. She even told me I deserved to get the discharge I got because before I joined the military I had several different jobs. I loved being in the Army, I loved my job and I was good at it. To have my sister say I deserved what happened and that I was just being over sensitive because the military is supposed to be hard hurt. It’s made me doubt everything and made it all hurt so much worse. I wonder every day now if they were right in how they were treating me afterward, or was it retaliation. Recently the stress from all this got so bad it actually made my brain short circuit and I had several seizures. Thankfully it all seems to be calming down, but now I keep getting these debilitating headaches. It’s almost 1 am as I finish typing this now, I can hardly sleep anymore. I haven’t slept good in years. I wake up screaming sometimes feeling hands on me where no one is touching me. I can hardly face the world because I can’t trust people.
My husband practically walks on egg shells to keep my trust, he’s had to work so hard to earn it and keep it. He’s my rock. I know it’s hard for him too though because he witnessed what my chain of command did to me after the assault. We met and became friends about 3 weeks after the assault. I can never explain how much he’s supported me through all this, and he has stood by my side as I’ve told my story over and over again. He’s held me as flashbacks and memories have overtaken me and helped me sort through the jumbled mess my memory has become. It seems lately every flashback helps me remember the little details of what my chain of command did afterward. I have no issues remembering the assault though, and that is the one thing I wish I could forget.
Monica, United States Army
I am an MST survivor. I went into the Army because I thought it would be cool to wear a uniform and serve my country. Little did I know what would happen after Basic Training, in Ft Lee, Virginia. I had an off post weekend. My battle buddy and I went to a hotel with a bunch of other battle buddies and hung out for the night. I had gotten my own room also. My battle buddies husband was coming to meet her at the hotel. I was single and not looking for a guy. My battle buddy thought it would be cute to hook me and her husband’s friend (also in the Army) up.
We all four went out to dinner at Applebees Restaurant. Everyone was drinking except me. We all finished eating dinner. We went back to the hotel. I was just hanging out with my battle buddy and her husband. She then wanted “alone personal time” with her husband, so I went in my room to hangout. My battle buddy’s, husband’s battle buddy was also just hanging out. He asked me if we could go into my room to just watch TV while they were doing “their” thing.
We were just sitting on the bed watching Law and Order SVU. He had had a couple beers at Applebees, then proceeded to have several more in my room. I didn’t care as long as I didn’t have to drink any. He started to get belligerent. He got on the bed and started touching me. He put his hand on my breasts and started squeezing them. He was really getting excited. He started to make noises, kiss my neck. I felt really uncomfortable. He told me I liked it and that this was normal. He called it fore-play. I was completely disgusted. He then said he had to pee. I was happy because he finally got off of me. About 3 minutes later he came out of the bathroom….butt naked! I was a virgin at the time, so I was totally shocked. He jumped on the bed started to take off my shirt, I got really angry and started yelling NO!!! He acted like he wasn’t listening to me. He then told me to take off my shirt otherwise he would do it for me. So I did what he said (by this time he was getting angry that I wasn’t cooperating). I was getting scared cuz he started to yell. I fear when people yell at me or around me. I started to cry because I was scared. I didn’t know what to do except tell him no. I didn’t want to have sex. He still wasn’t listening. He told me to take off my jeans and underwear. I was starting to shake and cry even more. He then pinned me to the bed with his arms and shoved his penis in to my vagina. I screamed like there was no tomorrow. He was totally having a good time. I was so angry, I didn’t know what to do. It went on for a while that I started to feel numb, I completely disassociated. I didn’t know what else he was doing. I then came to when he was done. He walked back into the bathroom, got dressed and said this was fun, and walked out of my hotel room. I was lying there completely naked and traumatized. I felt so violated!! I then threw my clothes back on, left and took a cab back to my barracks. I didn’t care if I had paid for the hotel room for the night, I booked it outta there. I got back to my barracks.
I then went immediately to my drill sergeant, and told him what happened. He looked at me like I was stupid. He started to ask me questions of what happened. I didn’t know what to tell him. He was a male. I was so scared. He was in authority of me so I had to tell him I was raped in a hotel. He then got on the phone and called SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) and told them that he had a private who claimed she was raped. A man from the team came out and talked to me. SART wanted me to go with them to the hospital in their car. No way was I going. I was not about to put myself in a vehicle with a man to go to the hospital. I refused treatment because of that. He had me sign a bunch of papers and went on his way.
I went to the barracks and took the longest shower of my life. In the middle of the night I started to have really bad cramps, I hurt so bad down there. I couldn’t sleep. I then had to wake up at 0400 to go do pt. I told them I couldn’t run, I wasn’t feeling well. I got yelled at for this. I then ended up going to sick hall and telling them about my pain and that I needed help. Once again, they looked at me like I was just being over dramatic and send me on my way. I was so angry that no one would listen. After my rape I started to have a really hard time, emotionally. I couldn’t focus, I was getting angry and yelling at my drill sergeants and other soldiers. My drill sergeant told me to go to CMHS (Community Mental Health System) to get evaluated! They thought I was crazy. I ended up talking to a psychologist and telling them what happened. Within a couple weeks, I was getting my papers to be discharged from the Army. They said I was unfit to be a soldier and that I was useless. I wasn’t allowed to deploy and not allowed to carry a weapon. They treated me like I had a psychical and mental handicap. I got on the plane home and found myself in homeless shelters, jobless and completely lost in this world. I was very angry, I started having more outbursts and completely shutting down. I wanted to kill myself. I felt like a reject, a nobody.
I went into the Army to serve my country and this is how I got treated. I had no goal in life, no family who accepted me. My family even blamed me for my rape. I ended up getting into a shelter that helped veterans and really cared about us. At the time I didn’t even think I was a veteran, I thought you had to do like 20 years and retire to be considered a veteran. Long story short, I got into my own apartment with the help of an uh-mazing social worker. I received a 100% service connected disability from the VA. I have a service dog, substantial amount of income each month, I’m receiving mental health assistance with the VA. Overall I would say that I am doing better than I was when I left the Army. I still have my emotional and mental struggles but I have so many MST sisters and professional help to assist me in my recovery that things are going to be ok. I really want to help other MST survivors get well, once I am well. I think it would help with my healing process.
Richard, United States Army
When you think of a Predator or Military Sexual Trauma (MST) you think women being raped by men. When you think of Male who has Military Sexual Trauma you think male on male rape. I am a Survivor I have Military Sexual Trauma (MST) PTST & no male has ever touched me.
I was an Active Duty Liaison during this time period. It was my supervisor who was a female “Civilian Employee” during the week and during the weekends she was the First Sergeant. She was in a position as a civilian that she used her higher rank & position to get what she wanted. Then the threats came in… but I had to report it after it took the best of me. Once I reported it to the military they didn’t remove her or change her position. If the role was reversed I as a male would have been moved that day no questions asked. But she got to stay while they investigated it.
I still remember it like it was yesterday, step by step. I want to stop thinking and dreaming about it but it is hard when the person who violated you works at the Dallas VA Hospital where I go for medical care and have been since 2007. I had her as a supervisor for another year and thoughts of suicide was in my head every time I came to work. She would harass and embarrassed me in from of my peers. My doctor put me on 2mg bars of Xanax, 280 pills a month. Then I became an addicted to them. Today I still have to take something for my anxiety; because I see her every time I go to the Dallas VA Hospital for medical appointments.
When I came off active duty I didn’t leave my house for over two years which means no medication for my injuries and Military Sexual Trauma or my Combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was too scared to go to the Dallas VA to get treatment because I found out that she worked there. Yes, it has been over ten years and it still has a big impact on my life today. I was a broken down soldier and didn’t know what I was going to do or why I was still living. Today I still cannot sleep, have anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, and broken relationship with my fiancée who I had dated over five years. I became a work alcoholic and buried myself in my work. I felt ashamed like I did something wrong.
When I reported it not more than five minutes I received a phone call from both of our supervisor who started screaming at me as loud as she could over the phone. She kept telling me I was a lair and why would I do this to her. This went on for over 30 minutes I broken down over the phone & told her that I was telling the truth but she didn’t believe me. Once I got off the phone I went and told the head person in charge of the hold battalion during the week days. She was also my First Sergeant on the weekends which means she was using her military rank as in uniform during the weekends and during the week days she was in civilian position. She was what they called dual status reservist and civilian personnel and she was a predator. I had never in my life taken pills.
I was the Division Master Fitness Trainer. I was in excellent shape before I was transferred to this new unit because our other unit was deactivated. She was on me my first day there and I told her I was not interested. I kept my personal life away from my professional life separate. She would not take no for an answer and I didn’t know anyone in this unit or who I could trust or who would believe me. I mean come on a woman wants a man…most men would had jumped on it. That is what all the men kept telling me.
I had a perfect career and was on fast track up to this point. I was an E5 with 4 MSMs awards which this is unheard of in the military. When you hear of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) PTSD remember it’s not only females, or male on male rape. Women are part of this mess too and they will use their rank and position to get what they want. I will never forget the words she used after she was finished; I always get what I want. Of course, the much more important question here isn’t medical; it’s criminal. Can a woman rape a man? Yes. If someone does not agree to have sex with another and a sexual act is forced upon them, which is called rape. According to other statistics, at least 27 percent of men serving in the military are estimated to have suffered what psychologists call “military sexual trauma” which is either sexual assault, or repeated harassment and threatened assault.
I have been asking for Military Sexual Trauma MST treatment for male soldiers but they keep telling me I don’t qualified because mine was a female, not a male on male rape. There are only six programs in the USA for men who have been raped, SIX!!! I do not believe I would get any support for several years from the Dallas VA Hospital but they keep telling me do this first or take these pills. I have been given so many pills to take that I almost killed myself several times. This letter is in no disrespect to my fellow sister-in-arms back then and today, but I felt that my story needed to be told because I know it is still going on today and there are still women predators out there.
Finally, the act of persecuting the victim is dishonorable, and morally repugnant. This didn’t happen to me but I was threatened with it by her. It is true that the United States demands much of its service personnel. While military service is both an honor and a duty, and carries with it substantial risk to life and limb, the risk of sexual assault and abuse is one risk that no service member should fear. But with a third of all women and possibly a quarter of the men experiencing some type of sexual abuse, or trauma, it is clear that changes have to be made.
Richard and my Service Dog Military Millie