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.