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!

My Duty to Speak

Sailor drugged and raped by 3 Army Soldiers

Rebcaa Blumer, United States Navy

On February 13, 2010, I was drugged and raped by 3 Army Soldiers the day before they shipped off to Afghanistan. I was beaten and bloody and bruised and washed by my rapists. I reported my rape to the ER the next morning. I decided to go unrestricted in my reporting. DNA was found on my underwear, since I was washed, all they had was proof they touched by underwear. From the moment I told my command, I was asked “Did you inflict these injuries yourself?” “Did you imagine or dream it?” On April 30, 2011, I was separated from the Navy because I decided to fight and not sit back and let the Navy do nothing about my rape. I was given an honorable discharge for misconduct(serious offense). What was my serious offense? Allowing myself to get drugged and raped against my will. Over a year of torture from my fellow Sailors and Command all came to an abrupt end when I left the Navy and moved 4 states away. Before my rape, I had an officer package in and was ranked #1 in my command. After my rape, I was a “dirt bag” “whore” “trouble maker” “drama queen”. My rapists are still in the Army and as far as I know, still serving in Afghanistan. Have they raped others? I am sure of it….My only wish is that some day, all my suffering will be worth something and they will be put away for life!

My Duty to Speak

Abuse in the United States Army

SPC4, Anonymous Solider, United States Army

I joined the Army for a better life. When I arrived at Ft. Jackson, SC for basic training and assigned to a unit, as we recuits disemparked from the “cattle car”, two drill sergeants were separating the females into two groups. These groups were attractive and unattractive. The attractive females were housed near the drill sergeants office. We were given “special priviledges”, ie., able to leave the fort in the evening, going to the Drill Sergeants’ private home for partying ect… No KP, no guard duty… but with all this came a price, eventally, cohereced into sexual intercourse with a number of different drill sergeants. We complied for the fear the being “thrown out of the Army”, and charged with fraternization. When I finally went to AIT at Ft. Jackson also, the cycle began all over again.

When I arrived at my PDS, from the 1st Sergeant down to the platoon leader tried to seduce me and some of those were married men. I was working one day and one of DI’s from Ft. Jackson, tracked me down (he was reassigned to Germany) and began calling me. I would not take his calls and then he began showing up at the Kaserne on the weekends. Once I strained my ankle and went to sick call. I was put in a cast and awaiting the bus to return me to the kaserne. I was approached by a Major, who offered me a ride because “it would be difficult to board the bus”. I found out a few days later when he called my unit and asked to speak with me, he was the hospital administrator.

All of this was over 30 years ago, I was a young girl of 18 and contantly was harrassed. There was a Ssgt. who finally told me to report certain incidents to the commander. At that time I was lucky enough to have a commander who helped me with what I had gone through. One time I was suppose to attend a conference, along with my section superviors (SFC) and the 1st Sgt. was also attending. The 1st Sgt.s orders were cancelled and while at the conference, the secions supervisor entered by room dressed in a bath towel.. 4am. in the morning… there was no lock on the adjoining rooms. God Bless the women who are serving our country now. I hope they do not encounter the “idiots” that I did.

My Duty to Speak

No longer Silent-Soldier is speaking out about sex abuse in the Army.

G, United States Army

I have hidden inside my career as a nurse and a lifetime student with multiple masters degrees too long. It’s time to let others know that this is a long term problem in the making. We can no longer hide behind the screen of “if you don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen” attitude of our previous generations, and of the military.

On the night of November 27, 1986, I was very sick, running a very high fever with a sore throat, lethargic and “quarantined” to the second floor of the barracks by myself due to being sick and coughing so much. In the middle of the night, I felt someone feeling my face, throat and chest. I could smell alcohol. The more I moved, the more the Drill Sgt. touched me and the more aggressive the sexual assault. Early the next morning, he woke me to go to sick call, telling me not to say a word, and that I had enjoyed it. He further elaborated that no one would believe any way because of my past. Somehow he knew that I had been kidnapped and raped when I was 13, and that manipulation was pretty effective. It was at this point that I became very reclusive, refusing to be anywhere that could place me in the same area as him, although this was near impossible.

On January 5, 1987, I qualified at the range with my rifle. Due to being sick again, I was trucked back and forth from the range. I came back early, disassembled my weapon, cleaned it, put it back together, and hung it on my bunk. I laid down on the bottom bunk and fell asleep. I was not awakened to turn my weapon in with the rest of platoon. Before long, I was grabbed by my collar and ripped from the bunk, hitting my head on the upper bunk, and then slammed up against the locker wall with blunt force to the right side of my body. I was pinned with my feet dangling above the floor by him. From the corner of my eye, I could see the female Drill Sgt. as she topped the stairs, she was yelling about the crashing noise. She saw me pinned, said ‘oh shit’ and walked backwards down the stairs. He let go and I dropped to the floor landing on my right hip and coccyx. I was told to turn in my weapon and report to their office. I reported to his office and they were both there. He told me that I could be court martialed for leaving my weapon unsecured. He said he knew that I was still sick, and would let it go this time. The female Drill Sgt. left the office and there I was, alone with him. I was scared to death considering what he had just done to me, and what he did to me in November. He threatened to hurt me again if I ever repeated any of these instances to anyone, and said that he had just lost his cool because he and his wife had been arguing and fighting about his drinking and not coming home. I just nodded until I was released.

The next morning, I was hurting in my shoulder and down my right side. I had a bruise on my forehead and on my right hip. At physical training, my shoulder kept popping out of socket, and I couldn’t raise my arm above my head. It was January 7, 1987. The AC joint was swollen and tender and my arm and my shoulder were swollen. The shoulder was back in the socket. I was placed in an immobilizer and placed on a profile. I was referred to orthopedics that same day. I told the Chief Warrant Officer (orthopedic DO) what had really happened with the Drill Sgt. in November and on January 5th.

Chief told me to keep it quiet and put in a referral to Social Work Services on January 8, 1987. I never got an appointment. No one did anything to help me. I learned at the age of 13 that I don’t win. The person who raped me at 13 got 3 years of probation and a psychiatric evaluation. I was scared to pursue anything, completely believing that I would be the one hurt again, and he would walk away laughing. Once in Europe, I tried getting help. I wasn’t sleeping and my migraines were out of control. I was still seeing and orthopedic because my collar bone was permanently dislocated at the base of the neck and liked to migrate to my airway from time to time. I finally got to see someone in psychiatry in Frankfurt, Germany, records of which have disappeared.

I had told TOP, 1st Sgt. everything that had happened in basic training after the Drill Sgt. showed up at the post office I was working at a few months before my discharge. I was too terrified to write any of this down, much less tell anyone else about it. I felt like I was in a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ horror of my own. I have had nightmares, waking up screaming and fighting in my sleep due to the nightmares ever since. I have grinded my teeth down to almost nothing. After a medical discharge because of the shoulder injury, I had to eventually have an inch of collar bone surgically removed. The VA is trying to say that my PTSD is due to my trauma at age 13, that assumption is right in only ONE way. It prevented me from going after Drill Sgt. and avoiding being blamed for being raped again, that it was my fault and being ridiculed and ostracized everywhere I went in the military.

My Duty to Speak

Army abused both her and her daughter.

By D.A.V. Diva,United States Army

THE CASE 3.310 Disabilities that are proximately due to, or aggravated by, service-connected disease or injury.

My disgust is the fact that I was raped and it was covered up for the Good of the Army! But all the injuries that have resulted from the rape and 2 sexual assaults and 2 motor vehicle accidents. Basic training field exercise December 1981 suffer cold weather injuries, frostbite, lost toenails, fingernails, turned blue, was left in foxhole accidently during inclement weather (rain/snow) storm at Fort Jackson, SC, Medivac back to hospital for cold weather injuries – all claims have been denied 1st sexual assault August 10, 1981 was 3 months in country, Kaiserslautern Germany, Kleber Kaserne Injuries sustained: right shoulder injury /from being slammed into stone wall, pulled up concrete steps with metal bar, feet first, injured neck, shoulder blades, hands wrists holding/shielding my head. I then had to physically fight with my attacker and was able to get away.

My clothing was torn and my hair was in disarray, but I made it to my barracks and reported to my 1st Sergeant immediately, who then straightened me up, wiped the tears from my face, asked me? “Are you alright?” I replied, “yes,” he said “go home get a good night sleep, see you bright and early in the A.M. I was totally flabbergasted! This set the tone for the rest of my tour here.

No one not even the top Sergeant gave a damn about what happened to me. Daughter Cortney, then 3 years old was burned by babysitters 3 children in some kind of torture ritual. The cut her hair all around to within inches of her scalp. They burned her with an “HOT IRON” on her chest, thighs and buttocks and 1 ankle, which were 2nd and 3rd degree burns. The set a pair of scissors on the iron to heat them and then stuck the scissors in open form on her chest between her breasts causing 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns. They had the entire print to include the point of the iron and all the holes half way down on both sides printed on buttocks. I still wake up sweating hearing her screams when they had to peel away the burned skin with a scalpel and they wanted me to hold my baby while they skinned her, I couldn’t do it, I broke down, they had to carry me out.

And while I was going thru this hell by myself in a foreign country at Landstuhl Medical Center, they were trying to process Chapter 8, to have me discharged for the good of the service behind my back, because there was no caregiver but me to sit by her bed and listen to her moan in horrific pain and put that white crème on her burn wounds, there was no one do you hear me! My baby was burned almost to death by a dependent member of the US Army and they were trying to put me out! Not help me care for my child. I had to send my daughter home to my mother for a year to try to stay on active duty to support her.

Between 1981 – 1983 sustained various injuries resulting from falling over there. I know it sounds crazy but I wasn’t the only one because the entire Kleber Kaserne still had cobblestone streets and when it rained or snowed or iced, we fell including the 1st sergeant. I slid once for about 25 feet and stopped under some vehicles all of my belongings were strewn everywhere and I was assisted up by the 1st Sergeant so there were witnesses to most of the things except the sexual assaults, but it didn’t matter, everything was for the good of the Army, nothing was for the benefit of women on active duty. It was a constant battle just to be there.

They considered the fact that I survived the abuse a sign that I was a good soldier. 1st military vehicle accident March 1985 2 ½ ton truck. Injuries: collar bone, back (upper, middle) was tossed around in the rear of a 2 ½ ton Army truck ½ loaded with supplies to include vehicle parts and radio mounts. The fellas driving that it was a blast to take the rough road as fast as they could. Even though they saw no blood I was banged up pretty bad. I had whiplash, lacerations, and bruises everywhere. The rape 1987 January Reforger with International Training Forces from Belgium, Dutch, and Reservists from Sacramento, CA after the rape, I was pregnant I immediately went down on economy in Frankfurt, Germany and had an abortion my unit gave me 72 hour quarters and return to duty the fact I had complications was of no concern to them. I had my tubal ligation there because during the rape my IUD had been pushed into my uterine, it had to be surgically removed I know that’s in my records but they say my tubal was “voluntary.” I couldn’t take birth control, that’s why I had an IUD.

I had just divorced my husband **** **** in September 18, 1986, I had just got to Germany, I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. I arrived in November 1986, I was raped in January 1987. I was pregnant in March 1987 I had an abortion in April 1987, and Tubal Ligation in June 1987. The injuries from the sexual assaults and rape dysfunctional uterus, PID, irregular menstrual, severe pelvic pain all through my medical records but yet and still they deny my claim for PTSD and any claims related to damages to my uterus. I found my decision 2008 from review officer this was the last one I received so to date I am appealing all of decisions I am service connected for and all the decisions denying service connection based on record of fact of the injuries and illness I sustained on active duty: BREAST LUMPECTOMY 1977 PRIOR TO ACTIVE DUTY, Only scar annotated on pre-service exam.

Since I was already predisposed to breast cancer because of family connection, and already had lumpectomy prior to active duty, and have continuously had problems with my breast on active duty although they denied me mastectomy until I turned age 30 (1987). So any claims associated with calcifications documented in my medical records I was told they would monitor, so how can they deny the claim? COLD WEATHER INJURIES, 1980 BASIC TRAINING-FT JACKSON, SC SEXUAL ASSAULT- 1981, 1985, 1987 (RAPE) MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS – 1985 FT. HOOD, 1988 FRANKFURT, FRG PTSD, What kind of trauma do you have to have before it is considered chronic I have been stalked, beaten, raped, jolted in a vehicle, had my nose broken, suffered bruised ribs, fractured right hip, broken both ankles, (with limited physical therapy), took sexual harassment, been knocked unconscious, left out in the cold to freeze to death, left out in the woods after they sexually assaulted me to die alone. Broke my tail bone, and you say I have to have what kind of trauma. I witnessed 2 soldiers die, 1 had to nurse my daughter while watching her heal with no skin, I was constantly being harassed by being threatened by discharge for the good of the service. So how much trauma do I have to endure. I still carry the sight of the soldier who blew his brains all over our arms room.

Who do you think had to clean up the blood and brains when they were through. There was no special detail that came in to do that, from the Colonel to the lowest Private, everyone had to clean their own weapon and those that were not assigned individually. The soldier who walked out in front of the train and was split in half, I still carry that image in my head too. The fright I felt when my 2 ½ ton truck was going over the cliff, I still carry that image too. I find still sickening when I hear my supervisors voice saying, “you were suppose to stay with the vehicle.” In other words I was supposed to be stupid enough not to bail out, but stayed in the cab and went over with the truck. I told him, ‘this ain’t no ship, and I’m not the captain.”




My Duty to Speak

U.S. Soldier raped while serving in Germany

Katie, United States Army

I joined the Active Duty Army in September of 1993 to serve my Country, earn some college money and possibly make a career out of being a soldier. I was 17. 6 months after joining the Army, I was given my first set of orders, and I was headed to Germany. I ended up in a small unit (less than 30) on an almost desolate Army post in Nuernberg-Fuerth, Germany. The amenities I had seen on all the other posts I had served at were almost null at my new post, including an MP station. My first week in Germany, I was moved into some barracks (the same ones they held the Nuernberg trial prisoners in after the Holocaust) and was told I would need to purchase a hot plate (plug in stove) and some pots and pans to cook the food I would eat. There was no chow hall. I was just a kid, so the idea of caring for myself in this way was scary. I had not yet received my monthly paycheck from the Army, so my Staff Sergeant took me to the finance office and told me to walk back to our unit when I was done talking to a male Specialist. He and I made small talk, such as that he is from the same town in Illinois that I am. Small world, I thought, and I felt I had made a new friend. I was issued an Army paycheck by him that very day. That day I went and bought my kitchen and food stuff and some new civilian clothes since I owned none. This was the first time in 6 months I would be able to wear civilian clothes because the whole time I had been in the Army, I had to be in uniform.

That evening I felt so pretty in my new skirt. Me and a few other lower enlisted went by taxi to huge German club in Nuernberg that was set up with different levels, playing all different kinds of music. The specialist “Chris” from finance was at this club with his pregnant wife. We said hello and I thanked him so much for getting me my much needed paycheck. After about an hour and a half of dancing and laughing with my new Army buddies, that finance specialist asked me to come outside with him because he needed to tell me something about my paychecks and it would be quieter outside. He said he knew a cool spot to have a smoke and chill, and walked me to the side of the building and up three stories of a large, walk-able fire escape. I began to sit on a step and he stopped me from doing that and began to kiss me. I resisted and he turned me around so my rear was at his front. He aggressively kicked my legs apart like an expert at this, and tore the back of my skirt open, pulled my underpants, nylons and shoes off and threw them over the railing. He forced himself on me and raped me. At this time I had my hands holding me up as best as I could so I could breathe because he had bent me over the iron railing and I could barely breathe because the bar of it was pressing against my stomach/diaphragm. He completed his rape of me and then wanted oral copulation. I resisted and he forced. I found an opportunity to push away to run down the fire escape back to safety but he grabbed me and threw me onto the stairs. I began “faking” this blow job and then tried to get away again, this time he pushed me back onto the railing. I saw no other alternative than to try to climb over it to get away from him, but before I could get any sort of footing, he pushed me. I fell straight down 3 stories and woke up a few minutes later. I was disoriented but felt a desperate need to run. My skirt was torn and my bare bottom was hanging out. I had nothing else on.

I grabbed the back of my skirt and hailed a taxi (because of the Americans, there were about 8 of them just waiting to give someone a ride outside of the club.) When I got home, I immediately took a shower. I worried that the people I had gone with had no idea where I had gone. I knew I should have told them before I left. It was m my fault I trusted that guy. I went to bed crying and wearing alot of clothes. I woke up the next morning and had to walk in the dark to do P.T. at 5 a.m.. I “fell out” of the run because of cervical pain, bleeding and emotional pain. I could barely stop bawling and hyperventilating. At that time I just blurted out with tears and pain to another female soldier “Denise” whom I was running with what had happened to me the night before. She immediately told me I was a fuckin liar and a slut. She insisted in a really mean way there was no way that the rapist would do what he did to me because he has kids and a wife and she knows him personally. She told my Staff Sergeant the same thing, and he advised me I was not to say another word about that kind of crap. I insisted on going to sick call but was refused.

That afternoon, as I entered my room in the barracks, the rapist was in my room. I have no idea how he got in, but he was hiding behind my door so when I closed my door, he locked me in. He told me that “Denise” had immediately gone to his place of work and yelled at him in front of his coworkers saying “some white girl says you raped her and you need to take care of her because she is going around telling everyone”. He told me that because I am from the San Francisco area, I could have AIDS and he threatened and demanded I get an AIDS test immediately and show him the results. My neighbor at the time was “Denise” the girl from the run, and I heard her door open. I knew she didn’t believe me, but I was going to tell her. The rapist then opened the German windows and left that way.  If I told Denise, she wouldn’t have believed me. She was 30 something and had made her feelings about the rape clear to me so I wasn’t going to keep asking her for help. I was so scared. I had wall lockers in my room all over….about 20, no joke. I was so scared every day and night that someone was hiding in one of them for sure and I would be killed in that room. I was too scared to tell anyone about the rape any more because I did not know who I could trust, but so far it was no one.

I was already being called a whore and a bitch and a slut by my peers and the guys were warning each other that “this one will accuse you of rape so stay away from her”. It was horrible and I couldn’t get them to stop avoiding me except to name call or harass me. I was so alone. I called home and my friends told me to tell, but I felt I was stuck and telling would end up getting me killed by these people. I was just a teenager. I went to sick call the day after the rape and asked for an AIDS test. They asked me why, since I had just done one less than two weeks prior in order to deploy to Germany. I advised the Nurse that a male soldier had forced sex on me the day before and was demanding this re-test. They complied and did not ask any further questions. I had hoped they would be the ones to fucking save me from my feelings of abandonment and press charges and take care of me and the safety of other women on post, but the nurse and doctor seemed surprisingly unalarmed or phased whatsoever.

The rapist returned to my barracks twice more over the next few weeks. The last time he was in my room, I showed him the results I had received from the clinic. I never spoke to him again, but I did see him a lot. I was harassed by my peers with name calling, ostracizing and a lot of teasing with relation to our work days. It was horrible and I wanted to kill myself. I hung in there for a year until I was discharged honorably, days after I found my lieutenant was sleeping with my roommate (which is seriously prohibited). The lieutenant was in charge of fitness testing at my unit and he altered my height by one inch and increased my weight to exceed standards. I was back in California within a week and I slept on my moms’ couch for weeks. My depression was severe and I sought help at the VA Clinic for PTSD within the first year of my discharge.

My rape was 17 years ago. Since then I have suffered pain and anxiety in my life that I truly believe I otherwise would not have. Before I went into the Army, I was a strong, beautiful girl. Today I am still strong and beautiful but I am also severely emotionally crippled by persistent thoughts and memories of this traumatic rape and my “loss of innocence”. I have had great jobs. I bought a home when I was 23, had a 911 dispatching job, then when I was sexually stalked and harassed by a female supervisor, something inside me snapped. Instead of killing her like I wanted to do, I just emotionally crumbled. Like literally. I went to my big bosses office, shut the door and cried and collapsed into a ball on his floor. I stopped working at that point and realized I had a serious problem to deal with. I began to abuse my prescribed pain medication from the VA, and began to hide behind a wall of weight out of fear that I may be raped again. It was like her harassing me triggered it all and I just lost it. I had a 4 year old daughter to care for, and if it weren’t for my mother, I would have lost her. I have had suicidal tendencies, relationship problems, substance abuse issues, parenting difficulties, nightmares, unrealistic fears, exhausting hyper-vigilance, severe and debilitating depression and anxiety, and difficulty keeping friends and a job. I have not worked in 6 years and have been “awarded” 100% service connection by the Department of Veterans Affairs. I fear that if I get better, they will take my benefits away. I am clean and sober now. So long as I take care of myself full time, and my kids, I have no time left for a job.

Here is what I have had to actively do in order to get to and maintain a manageable, functional life for myself and my family:

1. Stay clean and sober, go to NA/AA meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps.

2. VA Substance Abuse group 2 x a week-all men but me. It’s kind of awkward, but I have no other options.

3. VA Psychologist once a week

4. VA seeking safety class once a week-women only

5. PTSD/meditation group once a week-all men

6. Take Prozac and Trazodone for my depression/anxiety

Not to mention the therapy I pay cash for and have both of my children in privately, and the couples counseling my spouse and I need to be in but cannot afford. Other notable and discouraging, but true facts are: being I only have VA coverage for medical insurance, when I need an OB exam, I have to drive 70 miles north to be examined by a different doctor (and student) every time. I really wish that fee basis would pay for me to pick a female doc locally that I feel safe and comfortable with to see when I have issues. I have so much anxiety before an OB exam that sometimes I don’t leave the house for a week before or after the appointment. The fear can paralyze me, and the exams traumatize me.

As a female MST Veteran, I have not found many others like me who can keep up with that type of self-help schedule. I just do it because the other alternative for me is death by overdose or suicide. Many are homeless, and many are mentally ill to a point that they can’t even accept help. Some are so addicted to some mind or mood altering substance (alot of which are prescribed by the VA) and don’t want to feel another feeling ever again in their life. I get it, and I have done that for the past 15 years with weed, opiates and benzos. Anything I could take to feel comfortable in my skin. I do sometimes feel like I am the only one in the world that is fighting this MST and depression. I know now that there are thousands, or more, but I know that many don’t want to ever tell about being raped in the service EVER AGAIN because they were rejected when they reported it happening so many times before.

I have watched other MST survivors succumb to the guilt and shame they STILL feel 30 years later, from being blamed for rape happening to them. The constant banter and lack of support they got from their peers, command, family and others has taken a toll on their confidence in what is right or fair and they can no longer fight the good fight. If everyone around you is telling you that you are nuts and that anything that happened was a result of your bad judgement, you tend to doubt yourself. It’s like an acceptable form of Chinese water torture. The same mantras get repeated over and over again, ultimately coercing one to believe that in fact the violent rape he or she experienced was ultimately that victims’ fault. Frankly I don’t blame the other survivors I know that are still suffering for wanting to stay loaded or die, for this type of pain I feel is indescribable and very few people know how to handle it. I have no idea why God has chosen me to survive, but I am so thankful! I will continue to try and help convince other MST survivors that they too can recover from MST and addiction. Basically, we all need to be heard, validated, nurtured and learn to live again. I haven’t cried since I quit the pills. I know there is a lot more I have yet to feel, but thanks to the VA treatment I have just begun to get in the past 5 years, MRCC, SWAN, and others like me who are speaking out and pleading for change, I KNOW I AM NOT ALONE!!!!

My Duty to Speak

Rape in the Massachusetts National Guard

Anonymous, Massachusetts National Guard

I grew up in an affluent town in Massachusetts. My family was expecting me to follow in their footsteps of getting an ivy league education and becoming a doctor or a lawyer. I had other dreams. I wanted to join the Army. I found the National Guard to be a great combination of both being able to attend college while still fulfilling my desire to serve my country even if it was for just a weekend each month and two weeks in the summer. That was until the ban of not deploying Guard members was lifted in which I found myself in the dessert during a war.

They warn you not to go out “after hours” and to have a “buddy” with you at all times. If it is 0400 and you need to use the latrine make sure that you do not go alone. They do not straight out say that you may get raped but the buddy system was not put in place as a form of voyeurism and to fulfill someone’s fantasy of watching others urinate.

I woke up needing to pee. I was not going to wake up anyone cause I did not want to say “hello Spc. ***** can you wake up and walk with me so I can take a piss”. So I went alone. It was daybreak and not even dark out. I did my business and was walking back to the tent when I was grabbed, pushed down and raped.

I ran straight  to my tent and woke up my best friend at the time and before you know it the entire tent was awake. I was sent off for a rape kit examination and the MPs questioned me. They asked me why I went to the latrine alone. They went to interview the man and he denied it. I had to stay with him for another 14 weeks before we were sent back home.

Back in Massachusetts the SARC was less than helpful once again asking me what possessed me (actual words) to use the latrine. Now I am possessed cause I needed to pee? The SARC went on to being awarded the 2010 SARC Award. She may have put on a great presentation for the command to the point of lying about how great her performance was but one-on-one with a rape survivor she was less than helpful. You know the type of people that would kiss ass to a command and get rewarded even though their performance suck? That who she was. She ended up being deployed and was replaced by a 1st LT who did not understand the process of returning phone calls. After over a dozen failed attempts I blocked my phone number and called her. This time she answered and when I said it was me she went…”Hello….hello…I can’t hear you….click” she did not answer the phone when I called back.  When I visited her office she was less than helpful. I guess the first SARC did not tell the new SARC about my case and she called me a liar when I said that it was already reported.

I did not tell my parents right away. They are the helicopters parents and I am sure would have found a way to go the Middle East if I told them right away. After serious consideration and the Guard orders to re-deploy me with my rapist did I finally tell them what happened. They were supportive but with an underlying “well we told you so”.

I has since left the Guard and am in a pre-med program at a private college in Massachusetts. I am ineligible for any financial compensation for college such as the GI Bill and therefore paying out of pocket. I am trying to put the entire Mass National Guard experience behind me but it been difficult. I just started seeing a therapist at the Vet Center and been attending the Military Rape Crisis Center support groups but the pain is even worse now than the day that I was raped because of the lack of help and response from the Sexual Assault Response Coordinators especially 1st Lt K.S. If you are reading this-FUCK YOU BITCH.

My Duty to Speak

Raped by a Staff Sergeant. United States Army

Michelle, United States Army

Like most soldiers, I grew up in a less than ideal household that I wanted to escape as quickly as possible. It was bad enough that I enlisted with parental permission less than 2 weeks after my 17th birthday. I was very young, and pretty naive. In high school I didn’t really date anyone, was actually a virgin until after graduation, when I finally let the boy I was dating have very awkward sex with me so I wouldn’t be the only virgin in Basic Training. While in Basic, I finally realized that I might actually be a lesbian. I had grown up in a very homophobic house where that simply wasn’t acceptable, so I decided I was just…wrong.

I spent the next three and a half years trying to convince myself I was straight. I drank like a fish (going to Korea at 18 sure helped that) to try and make myself actually friendly to men that I really didn’t want to sleep with. Of course it didn’t take. At 21, some very good friends finally took pity on my laughable attempts to be straight and took me to my first gay bar. It was growing more obvious I had a crush on my best friend, at least to them. Before I could make a return trip, or even begin to acknowledge what I was going through, I went off for 5 weeks to do a rotation at JRTC (Joint Readiness Training Center) with my unit. When we got back from the long field exercise, the usual drunken party got underway in the barracks. An E-6 from my unit (I was an E-4 at the time) who was married decided to come to the barracks for the party. Several of us were drinking in my room and in general blowing off all the accumulated steam. I was pretty drunk myself.

When I realized it had gotten really late and the party had started to die out, I asked everyone to leave so I could go to sleep. All left but the Staff SGT who didn’t live there. I asked him 4 times to please leave, then attempted to ignore him. I climbed into my bed and under the covers, with my tshirt and shorts I was wearing still on. He somehow decided that was an invitation. He promptly climbed on top of me over the covers and started trying to kiss me. Somehow I managed to shove him off. I jumped up and opened the door and told him to “get the f&*k out” of my room. He said he was too drunk to move, and sat down in my chair again. I looked down the hallway for the CQ (Charge of Quarters, the duty NCO for the barracks) and did not see him. I figured, “I know this guy, I know and like his wife, I’ll just keep on him until he goes, he’s too drunk to realize he’s being an ass.” I closed the door and told him he could sit in the chair for a few more minutes and I would go into the hallway to the phone booth and call him a cab. I started walking back to the door when I heard a squeak from his shoe on the waxed floor. Then he grabbed me with both hands around my neck from behind. I struggled quite a bit, but between the alcohol and lack of oxygen I eventually blacked out. He must have dropped me at that point, because the bump I had on my head the next day felt like I landed right on it.

I groggily came around to him raping me, my shorts down around my ankles and the smell of Wild Turkey overwhelming virtually everything else. I couldn’t breathe well, he was laying on my chest with his whole weight (I was literally half his size) and one of his forearms pushing down just below my neck. I tried pushing him off as I had managed on the bed, to no avail. All I managed was to rip a muscle in my stomach. When he finally finished, he got up, pulled his pants back up, and sat back down in my chair like he owned the joint. I couldn’t even manage to get off the floor for a couple of minutes. When I did, I pulled my shorts back up and stood up to face him. Before I could say anything, he said “You know, everybody knows you’re a dyke. This just helps keep the rumor down. If you say anything to my wife or anybody about this, I’ll make sure everyone knows its true.”

At that point I finally panicked enough to run out of my own room. I beat on the door of my best friend’s room down the hall until she finally woke up and answered. I went into her room and immediately began crying. When she asked what was wrong, I told her that he had raped me. Her response? “You shouldn’t have been drinking with the guys.” After that comment, I put all the blame on myself. Yes, I shouldn’t have trusted the soldiers I served with every single day of my life. It as all my fault, and probably what I deserved because I was gay, even though I wanted so badly not to be. The next morning I went to sick call and got treatment for the torn abdominal muscle. I managed to get the doctor to give me a temporary profile so I wouldn’t have to return to my normally very physically demanding job and have to take orders from that SSG. I managed to pull a temporary duty assignment away from my unit for 6 months, something very few victims are able to do.

During that 6 months, I finally came to accept what he and everybody else knew, that I was gay and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Ironically, that was immediately after President Clinton was elected and promised to repeal the ban. When DADT went into effect that summer, it was the final straw.

I left the Army that fall of 1993. I realized that there is no honor in forcing someone to live their life a lie. I also knew if I had ever reported my rape, that I would have been the one investigated. Sexuality meant more than sexual assault to the Army.

Flash-forward 9 years. A good friend at work was joking around with me and put his hands around my neck from behind while I was sitting in my chair as a joke to startle me. I went off on him. I stopped feeling safe in my job, and started missing work and having flashbacks of my rape along with other problems, most of which will sound old hat to victims of MST. But I’m incredibly lucky.

After several months of trying to survive the breakdown on my own, I moved back home to Seattle. I walked into the women’s clinic at the VA there and was introduced to one of the most caring social workers I’ve ever had the honor of meeting. She helped me understand that MST is way more prevalent than I had believed, and that I was most certainly not the only woman (or man) this had happened to. I finally got the care I so very much needed. As I write this, some 8 years after meeting her, I realize how much has changed. I’ve been in a healthy relationship with the woman I love for nearly 7 years. We’ve made a great life together, and I know finally how lucky I am. I’ve seen the very worst of myself, and thanks to that social worker and several other caring professionals at the VA, I’m the one in control of my life. Me, not the man who raped me.

My Duty to Speak

Raped twice in the Army National Guard

By jgilber3, United States Army

17, that was my age when I joined the Army National Guard. I joined to carry on a legacy of tradition and honor, respect, and selfless service. Selfless service does not mean my woman part were “for grabs” (or free). I signed up to serve this nation in a time of need. I’m now nearly 22 years old and this is my story.

First, let me say I’m speaking about the individuals whom did the crime. It’s not there branch of service that did the crime, it’s the individuals and the fault/blame is for the individuals who did the heinous  crime. Now, here is about the first one in South Carolina. Yes I have several incidents . The perpetrator was a Junior NCO. We were training to a deployment to Iraq/ Afghanistan. Never did I think that such a thing would happen in training to deploy. We were about to conduct our afternoon PT. The command of the unit I was in at that time thought everyone was mature enough to do PT on there own. We warmed up as a unit and then was dismissed to run around the building until the commander told us to stop. Well once around the building it got “darker”. The perpetrator came up behind me and took advantage of me. It was by a tree and everyone was running and not paying attention. My bestest battle buddy was off at some detail. That doesn’t mean it was her fault, it was/is the perpetrators fault. I reported it to my command. They offered to separate me from my perpetrator and did so. I sought out the help of the Chaplin and also services through the hospital. My personal courage to take care of myself in a self help way wasn’t enough though. I was on lock down several time. My perpetrator got to wonder around, not in the same area as me, but in a much larger scale area. Eventually I was discharged under a medical discharge.

Unfortunately I had a perpetrator come after me again. This time it was during my transition from soldier to permanently wounded warrior (aka permanent veteran) that a Air force NCO raped me in Nebraska. I had gone out on pass. I was told by said NCO that we would meet my friends for a party. This NCO took me on to the base. He then took me to a hotel and told me that if I didn’t “follow orders” I would be dead. So out of fear I “followed” him and at this point started thinking of a plan to escape. He forced me in to the elevator and tried to “make out” with me. Once off the elevator he forced me in to the hotel room. This said Air Force NCO ripped my cloths off and put himself inside of me and all along telling me if I told I would be dead. At the time I was very scared but maintained composure until I reached a safe spot. Once I got back to my transitional housing I told a friend there. That friend referred me to the SARC. But again the NCO was not put away for this. I was told I needed “mental health” services. I have a hearing loss,PTSD from MST and several obgyn problems. I can never join the service again.

Often people think once your discharged you are never a warrior again and that there is never help. That’s not true there is always help and once a warrior always a warrior (excluding the perpetrators in our life). Now, with that said here is my version of the wounded warriors creed. Use this to help you drive on and continue to strive for the services and rights you deserve. Here it’s titled Army Permanently Wounded Warrior (to include those whom are permanently DAV’s)

Creed By: jgilber3. The following is it. ” I am a permanently wounded warrior. I am a member of a team. I served the people of the United States and still live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am still disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in many tasks. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself although it may require extra help or assistance. I am still an expert and I am still a professional. I stand ready to volunteer, help, and assist any soldier or warrior of the United States of America on state side or through care packages. I have served my time as a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am a permanently wounded warrior.” Permanently  wounded warrior does not mean we are crazy or a bitch. This creed I made my own version of to help carry on the legacy of our fallen victims. Those of us alive are not only permanently wounded warriors but we are also SURVIVORS. Doesn’t matter how many time done we are all survivors!

My Duty to Speak

Soldier reports Rape

Cathy, United States Army

I grew up a normal teenager doing normal stuff that my family wanted me to do. I worked on our farm that we had when I was little. My dad was a retired marine, my mom was a stay at home mom. My dad worked at truck driving we stayed on the farm and milk cows and feed the animals and grew crops. We did not grow up rich or well to do but we tried to act like we was a normal family. My mom and dad had problems of there own and my mom decided to move away and she took us and we moved to Tennessee where my mom’s family was at and filed for divorce from my dad it wasn’t until later that I found out why we moved off the farm in the middle of the night. My mom and dad always fought and my dad beat the hell out of my mother all the time and when he got through he beat on my older brother . I thought after my mother left him the abuse would stop well we moved from mother to father and my father abuse all of us kids and the abuse was emotional and physical abuse then my father didn’t want me so he sent me off to job corp he altered my age so they would accept me well they did i was grateful in a way I was away from him I went to school there and I got jobs there and i got my degree from there. While there I got gang raped by five boys and they went to jail.

I later went on with my life came home back to Mississippi where my mom lived to live with her new boyfriend and he had come to pick me up from the bus station. I lived with them and went to school and I got a job. Soon after I met my first husband and got married at 17 and then I ended up having a baby later and then another then I got a legal separated from my husband and I went into the military cause my brothers did and I was tired of everyone telling me I could not or would not make it so i made it. I did what I accomplished to do I have three beautiful children and I had the military shortly after I got out of AIT.

I went home and I got a call from my new unit I was assigned to and they said I needed to report to Camp Shelby for training I was going to Iraq. Again I had to say bye to my family and my kids. I wrote letters to them in case I died over there they would have something to remember me by. I waited two weeks and we got deployed over there on 04OCT05. I had to go over to another fob I had to go for medical for pre cancer and I got off the helicopter a normal day I went put my stuff up and went around the post and then I took a shower and went to the tent I was assigned to. I didn’t feel well so I went to sleep. I remember a man coming in to do head count then I went off to sleep again then I remember later getting woken up again this time the guy said that the chaplain needed to see me I had gotten a red cross message he told me I need to hurry up and get up and follow him. I did not know any different so I followed him he said that the man was in the tent here is a flash light look inside he is here. I did not think nothing of it so I took the flashlight over my head and open the door and I turned around to tell him there was nobody there he pushed me in and I stumbled over something on the floor he had me face down tied my hands with something I don’t remember what and then he turned me over on my back and he stuffed his shirt in my mouth and continued to take my clothes off and he took his off and then he told me not to move or scream cause his friend was over in the other tent and would come over and have his way then they would kill me. I was struck with fear and all i could do was lay there and cry then it felt like forever the last thing I heard him say was did i like anal sex and then I blacked out cause when I came to he was getting his clothes on and then he pulled my clothes up what was still attached and let me back to my tent he told me while he walked me back to my tent that if I came out my tent that he would come in and kill me or rape me again.

The next morning I reported it was investigate for two weeks so back to my unit they where talking crap about me and they took my gun away from me and I lost my rank not even knowing it and then they finally court martial the guy that done this to me and he didn’t get charged with the rape but he got charged with kidnapping me all he got was three years and all the evidence they needed was there.

He did not get justice for what he did to me and I have trouble everyday of my life now since that has happen I got married and I got a blended family and I got lots of troubles cause I’m still going to the VA for this and I have been in a program to and I’m still uneasy and even with my family have troubles with everyday life but I hope to let everyone know that I’m trying to fight this but it is hard just day by day.