My Duty to Speak

Army Officer convicted of sexual harassment and assault . Allowed to keep full retirement pension.

Col. Michael Robertson – a Fort Bliss officer with nearly 40 years of service and commanded the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Afghanistan, will only spend three months in military prison after he was convicted today of sexual harassment and assault; a punishment that most find to be a slap in the face for sexual assault survivors. Upon the end of his prison term Col. Robertson will be able to retire and keep his full taxpayer funded pension.

Continue reading on Army Officer convicted of sexual harassment and assault . – National Women in the Military |

My Duty to Speak

Soldier writes about her rapes.

Jana, United States Army

Well, here it is.. another night I am up crying and shaking, and with every second my eyes are closed tight, all I can see are the filthy pigs on top of me. Maybe talking about it will finally help me release some resentment I have held since my deployment in 2006? Let’s see, first there was my so called battle buddy, SPC  ****, an older married guy who came off as my friend yet got me incredibly drunk and had his way with me a few times. Telling me all kinds of horse shit any 19 year old would believe. Stupid me for believing he would leave his wife for me. Well, next there was my E-7 SFC *** that forced his tongue down my throat and his hand down my pants after shoving me in a corner after hours. Me, 19 years old, and he, married and awaiting the birth of his first child he KEPT. All the girls swooned over him. I made them jealous, secretly.

Our little secret. I never spoke a word of it because he was in really well with the command. He retired last April as a Master Sergeant with full retirement. If only I spoke up. I came home from deployment in Sept. 2007 (guess this is why these things are haunting me again). I got married in Dec 2007 to my friend and long time infatuation from high school. He joined the Navy and we moved to South Carolina. He cheated on me with a 13 year old (he was 20) and instead of me pressing charges for adultery – the bastard told me to just take everything I wanted. He ended up getting discharged 2 years later honorably due to medical conditions. He’s been married and now has a kid, living happily ever after. I’m. still. messed. up. I never gave myself a relief period from the war to transitioning back into the civilian life. So, now with a divorce pending, what does a girl do? She drinks heavily. She parties every weekend. She shows up to work with a hangover. She has sex with random dudes just to hear she’s wanted, just never needed. I was never needed ever again. I thought feeling wanted was enough, even if it fizzled out after a few days, weeks.

I’ll never forget everyone’s favorite First Sergeant, 1SG ****, who took me out for shots the day I made my E-5 in 2009. We took a shot for every rank I’ve held in the Army, then talked for hours about everything. After insisting he was not attracted to me “like that”, tell me how I end up in his hotel room half naked with him about to put it in? I bolted. I drove on base drunk as hell and cried myself to sleep. The Unit Victim Advocate and CDR counseled the 1SG with me in the room, and he was put on “probation” for six months. I left the unit on voluntary terms, and later found out he was promoted to Sergeant Major. So… I speak up… and he gets promoted?

My most haunting experience was when I was at a local bar in Beaufort, SC with some Navy friends of mine. We were celebrating a friend’s birthday, and I got really drunk and didn’t realize my friends left me there alone. I started being a social butterfly and ended up going home with random Marines. I remember walking up to the house and what the hallways looked like. I remember telling him I would sleep on the couch, I just wanted to sleep. I remember him taking off my jeans and my statement “Ahh no, I didn’t shave my legs!” then I woke up the next morning, completely nude and look over and he’s laughing at me. I’m like.. “Uh, did we have sex?” He laughs again and was like “Duh”. He takes a shower and I’m left smelling like a used condom. I saw it on the floor and was so hung over and in shock I didn’t think to keep it for evidence. At first I didn’t think it should bother me, I’ve hooked up with dudes before… but this just made me feel horrible.

I did a rape kit and police report..5 days later. I was still unsure about what I should have done. The guy lied on his police statement, so I never went further with charges. He got off clean. Just like all the other assholes. I ended up contracting chlamydia from this asshole. Talk about feeling like a dirty slut. To this day, I am still haunted by these memories. It has ruined every relationship I’ve had since I returned from Iraq. I do not trust males in my units. I feel like I’m a joke to the military – like I can be pushed around because I’m so easy to walk all over.

I’ve been in 6 years and honestly I’m over it. I want out. I harbor so much pain and animosity and feel like no one is listening to my silent screams. I’ve been suicidal since these events. I cut up my hips really bad.. so I wouldn’t be attractive to anyone. I didn’t want to be hurt by any more filthy pigs. I don’t want to be the joke anymore. After my last suicidal episode last month (overdosing) I was put on Celexa with the VA. I’m hoping to FINALLY start seeing someone for MST counseling. At this point, I don’t know what they could do except NUMB the hurt. The memories will always be there.

My Duty to Speak

MST Veteran feels left out

Mary V. United States Army

In 2007 I was raped 6 months into my services with the Army. I reported the rape and my rapist were never prosecuted. Instead, I was viewed as being mentally unstable and as a result lost my career in 2008. In 2009 I enrolled in school to take advantage of the GI Bill and had a difficult time.

I attend a large state school. We have tens of thousands of students and we have a very active veterans organization. The first group on campus that I joined was the Veterans organization. I was treated with a cold shoulder yet still wanting to be accepted I will continue attending their meetings and events.

On Veterans’ Day we had a dinner event on campus. We were given stickers to wear for which conflict we were apart of. If you were never deployed you do not get a sticker. Each table was dedicated to each conflict. If you served in Iraq or Afghanistan you get the two best tables in the house up front. If you served in Vietnam you get the table right behind them. If you were never deployed you get to sit in the back behind the pole behind the professors, staff and others who may not be veterans.

I served a total of 11 months. When the Student Director of the Veterans’ Organization asked me how long I served he said “well you not really a veteran”. An assistant director said that I was “lucky to never have deployed” I wanted to tell them that I wanted to serve longer, that I enlisted with the desire to make it a career then I was raped and forced out but I could not tell them that. I rather have been deployed because I would be viewed as a hero and not a traitor for reporting rape.

It is hurtful when male student veterans won’t acknowledge what us women veterans may have gone through. Through my classes I met other women veteran who are not part of the veterans organization for reasons that they also feel left out.

During sexual assault awareness month I spoke to the veterans’ organization to have an event for military sexual trauma. They denied it and said that it was not “relevant to their mission” so I went to the counseling center and women center who was organizing various events on campus for sexual assault awareness month and asked if I can plan an event for military sexual trauma and they responded by saying that they “can not single out one group of people” and my request to do something MST-related was once again denied.

In the veterans community MST survivors are often shun out and not welcomed. In the feminist community veterans are often shun out and not welcomed. Even among women veterans community MST veterans are often shun out and not welcomed. I posted on a women veterans’ organization facebook wall and they deleted it because according to the admin they did not want women veterans to only be known as having MST but also to be known for all their accomplishments. Surviving MST is an accomplishment in itself. Read the stories on here. We all deserve medals.

Emotionally sitting in class is difficult. I always sit in the corner and that is my safe spot. If I don’t come to class early enough and someone takes my seat I break down in tears because I am overwhelmed in panic.  I cannot have male professors and can only deal with women professors.  It is so difficult. I tried to go to counseling on campus and the counselor did not understand the military structure but did try to convince me that she did because she read an article about military sexual trauma.

It is so difficult being an MST survivor.

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.