My Duty to Speak

Questions for the Coast Guard

As I was responding to an email to Captain Christine Cutter, United States Coast Guard District 1 Legal on why evidence that I thought was vital to the investigation and why what I told CGIS during the investigation does not add up to what CGIS documented I thought that many others may have similar questions on their investigation or CG handling of rape cases.

The United States Coast Guard is the smallest branch of the military but has the highest percentage of service members seeking services through the Military Rape Crisis Center and its affiliates. Earlier this month the Military Rape Crisis Center held it first male-only peer support group for rape survivors at the Coast Guard Academy. The response was overwhelming from cadets needing to talk about their trauma in a confidential and safe environment. The Military Rape Crisis Center also holds a women-only peer support group for cadets in New London that meets monthly.

Active Duty members also need our help. The Military Rape Crisis Center Maine Coordinator, Jennifer, tried endlessly to find support for our Maine Coast Guard survivors. As it stands now the Coast Guard does not offer any support for it Maine’ shipmates. My shipmates in Maine who been assaulted first need to contact Boston, hope that the SARC return phone calls in a timely manner-Jennifer had an average of 3-4 days for phone calls to be returned-only to be referred to a non-Coast Guard base in Maine that is rumored to be shutting down. Not acceptable for a woman or man that just experienced the worst trauma of their life and evidence needs to be collected in a timely manner.

If you are like me and feel that members of the United States Coast Guard deserve much better than what the Coast Guard is currently offering to them please use the comment section of this blog to ask questions to Shawn Wren,the Coast Guard’s sexual assault prevention and response program manager, and the Coast Guard numerous SARCs and JAGs. The Coast Guard is reading this blog almost continuously. Let hope that they have the integrity to answer questions from survivors.

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard’s continues attack against members that report rape.

In the latest rounds of attacks against Coast Guard members that reported rape, a Coast Guard veteran that reported a rape while on Active Duty was barred from entering a Coast Guard base. She was never given a reason why.

HS2 Federico Sanchez  first reported to the rape survivor that she was banned. The survivor tried to access the base after receiving an invitation to attend an on-base meeting. HS2 Sanchez was not able to tell the survivor why she was banned, instead, he told her “you know why” while keeping her out in a rainy and cold February in Boston and treated her like a criminal.

Retired Coast Guard members rushed to the survivors’ side, including a retired E-10, to offer her support and guidance on what to do. Several retirees, including a Chief and a CWO also took it upon themselves to help the survivor ban to be overturned but without much success. The survivor and others has since been trying to receive answers on why she was banned from the base and have been given the runaround without anyone really knowing why aside from she reported a rape. Calls made throughout District 1 and BSU Boston to gain insight on why a rape survivor was barred from entering a military installation despite being invited in was unsuccessful. Nobody at the time of publishing this article was willing to take accountability for this victim-blaming act. was able to find out that the rapist that committed this felony crime against this woman is allowed to go on base as long as he has a sponsor and proper ID.

Reporting a rape should not ban a survivor from entering a Coast Guard base if they are otherwise on an approved guest list for a meeting on base.

The only ‘zero-tolerance’ against sexual assault that the Coast Guard has shown is against those that report rape.

written by MO

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard continues to discharge rape survivors, promote rapists

Anonymous, United States Coast Guard

I am another survivor that reported a rape and lost her career. I was raped by a BM2 on August 17, 2011. I reported it like they tell you to and was told that I was lying and that it never happened. They ripped up my complaint and ordered me to not speak about it if I want to stay in the Coast Guard. I was not even allowed to have an investigation. I believed them until November 2011 when I was told that there is a medical review board recomandation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was ordered to write a rebuttal and handed to my Chief an 18-page rebuttal statement stating everything that I went through including the rape. My Chief ripped up my rebuttal statement and told me that for my own protection he can not submit such a rebuttal statement that he found offensive. Instead I was given admin. discharge. Getting the admin discharge instead of the medical discharge I am not eligible to receive any benefits from the Coast Guard.

My rapist is still in and is soon to be promoted to a BM1.

My Duty to Speak

A mother’s concern about daughter at the Coast Guard Academy

The story about the cadet assaulted on CGC Eagle hit home.  My daughter was on the CGC Eagle during the summer of 2009. When she could she’ll call home in tears. She said that a fellow cadet was staring at her during the entire tour. My advice to her was to talk to him first and if that does not work to report it to her superiors. She said that may work well in the real world but it was impossible to report anything in the Coast Guard unless she wants to be sent home. There was a clear code of silence.

I  noticed a lot of changes in her since her time on the Eagle. The happy, bubbly, ambitious girl that I used to know is now gone. When we do talk she seems always to be depressed and hopeless. All her life she wanted nothing more than to be in the military like many in our family did before her. The excitement that she once had for the Coast Guard has been replaced by a dark cloud and depression.

I raised a very strong and independent young woman and I find it very odd that she would be upset and uncomfortable being stared at. This leads me to believe that there was more going on that she did not want to tell me. I sent her a link to the Military Rape Crisis Center webpage.

Thank you for your dedication to help our nation’s best. God Bless our troops! God Bless America!

My Duty to Speak

Wall of Shame: Coast Guard Commander Joseph Segalla

In documents obtained by, Commander Joseph Segalla was caught victim-slandering, slut-shaming and spreading misogynistic lies about a rape survivor. Due to recent media attention on the topic of gaslighting women that report rape in the military this survivor came forward with documentation that proved exactly just that.

In an email sent by Commander Joseph Segalla to several members of the United States Coast Guard Commander Segalla has used and abused his rank to slander a woman and eventually kick her out of service because she reported a rape.

According to Commander Segalla: even though the rape survivor “performed acceptable” he was concerned about “interpersonal relationships” (or in reality A BRUTAL RAPE THAT LEFT THE SURVIVOR BRUISED, BLEEDING AND WITH A BROKEN TOOTH) that he felt that she is no longer should be fit for military service.

Commander Segalla admitted in this email that consideration of putting a rape survivor on MAA force, where Coast Guardsman serve while awaiting Court Martial-two were there waiting trial on child pornography charges. Shame on you Joseph Segalla that it was even considered to put a rape survivor on MAA force with sexual predators.

Joseph Segalla continued with the victim-slandering email by saying that the woman (rape survivor) “does some really strange stuff” but did not elabarate on any speficics-which leaves us to wonder that probably there wasn’t any. Within days of sending this email, the survivor was involuntarily discharged from service (FIRED FOR REPORTING A RAPE) and has since been awarded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs a full disability for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of Military Sexual Trauma.

For his role in kicking out women that reported rape, Commander Joseph Segalla (now retired with a pension) is on the My Duty to Speak Wall of Shame.

We have tried to contact him at his last known phone number in New Canaan, CT but the woman who picked up the phone said that she did not know him after demanding to know who we are. We contacted his sister at a family owned Sand and Gravel shop twice and left a message. He did not return the phone calls at time of publishing.

written by staff member of

My Duty to Speak

Active Duty Coast Guard member raped

Anonymous, United States Coast Guard

I was raped. They investigated and found not enough evidence to prosecute him. I still have to see him everyday. I receive text and phone calls from his wife because she says that I am out to ruin their marriage. I reported his wife but they could not do anything because what she is saying is not criminal.

Everyone else thinks that I am a liar. I lost all the friends and support that I had. I can’t live like this much longer. Why doesn’t the Coast Guard care about rape survivors?

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard Alaska Petty Officer charged with sexually abusing 4 year old.

Coast Guard PO2 John R. Blackman Jr has been charged with sexually abusing a 4-year-old boy. According to the Peninsula Clarion, Soldotna Police officers investigated the allegations of abuse after receiving a March 4 call from the child’s mother.

The child was taken to a registered sexual assault nurse examiner in Kenai who indicated the injuries were severe and would require follow up from a medical doctor, according to court records.

Petty Officer John R. Blackman Jr  duties on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hickory has not been affected. Defense attorney Andy Pevehouse even submitted a request for bail modification asking the court to permit Blackman to leave the state of Alaska if he is aboard a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.

Even though we wholeheartedly believe that one is innocent until proven guilty, precautions should be made for the safety, morale and well being of his fellow shipmates. Petty Officer Blackman should be suspended until the case is resolved, and fired if found guilty.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting its own investigation. We hope that they don’t resort to blaming the child, once again.
My Duty to Speak

Coast Guardswoman writes about rape at Coast Guard in Hawaii.

Update March 5, 2012: With request from the survivor, her victim advocate contacted Coast Guard District 14 (Hawaii) work life office. The  sole Sexual Assault Response Coordinator is on temp. duty in Alabama-working on non-sexual assault related work for the Coast Guard. The case manager was able to speak to Commander Marc Hawkins that was not able to meet the requests from the survivor which was to be transferred to another base. Without support from the Coast Guard the survivor of this horrific rape has to continue working with and seeing her rapist on an almost daily basis. The survivor approve this message to be posted on with hope that with public awareness that the Coast Guard won’t force her to continue to work with her rapist.

Anonymous, United States Coast Guard

When I first joined the Coast Guard I tried my best to fit in. I forced myself to go out and learned to throw back the shots to fit in. I am also in Hawaii so I might as well enjoy my time here, right?

The weekend before Halloween 2011 I was invited to a costume part at the home of another coastie. Most were underage but alcohol was plenty thanks to a PO1. He was the only PO1 at a party with non-rates and non-coasties who were ten-years his junior. He and another supplied the alcohol so he came.

The PO1 is married but rumors were that he been sleeping around with a nonrate. I never have seen them together so I cannot tell you if the rumors were true.

I was drunk. So was the PO1. Four of us crashed in the living room that evening. Me, PO1 and two others slept over to sleep off the booze. The two others were passed out drunk not aware of what was happening. PO1 and I was making out. With beer goggles he was cute. We were making out. He put his hands up my shirt. I pulled them away. He tried again. I pulled them away again. He put his hands up my skirt. I pulled them away. He put them up again and I pulled them away again. He asked why I am wearing what I am wearing if I am not interested in him. I was a nurse for Halloween wearing a short shirt and a midriff top. He threw me down on the couch, grabbed a pillow, put it over my face. I could not breathe let alone scream or fight back. He raped me. He took my virginity.

He pushed me off the couch, handed me the pillow he was suffocating me with and slept on the couch. I went to the other side of the room and fell asleep.

I was thinking. Did he just rape me? No. He did not. It could not have happened. I kept on telling myself that. Of course he did not rape me. I led him on and he took the opportunity to have sex with me. I actually thought that if I left that I would have insulted him. I felt that if I left he would have thought that he did something wrong.

In the morning we all left. I went home.

I tried to put what happened behind me. At work it was never brought up and for good reason. First of all he should not have been at a party that was full of underage people. He supplied the booze which is illegal. I am also no angel. I was drinking. I was not of age to drink. We both are equally guilty of breaking Coast Guard policies.

I tried to act like nothing happened. Mentality though I have been suffering. When I see PO1 ***** I freeze. I physically feel that I am being suffocated by a pillow again. I am not sure if that makes sense.

There is one woman in the Coast Guard that I used to hang out with often. We were friends but not super tight. We were in the living room drinking. She is friends with G who I only met a couple of times before that evening.The conversation turned to sex. That evening the conversation turned to our first time. The only man that I ever had a sexual encounter with was with PO1 with the incident at the party.

This was the conversation:

B: When did you loose your virginity?
Me: umm. Sometime ago?
G: I was X years old. (Don’t remember exact age)
G went on to explain her first sexual encounter giggling after ever syllable.

I felt teary eye. I went to the bathroom and cried. What was I suppose to say? I lost my virginity by having a man put a pillow over my face. He raped me. There I said it. He raped me. PO1 ***** raped me. He raped me. I kept on whispering that to myself punching my head, slapping myself and trying to find something to kill myself with.

I left the bathroom pretending that everything was okay. I said that I had to go. B went by the door, grabbed me by my arm and asked what was wrong. G asked why talk of penis talk scares me. I said it does not scare me but I am tired. I have duty the next day. I want to go home. G said that I became a totally different person when they mentioned the word penis.

I broke down in tears. I tried my best not to. I hate myself for crying at that moment. I was having a break down. I broke down. I told them. I told them everything about PO1 and the night at the party (they were not at that party). I told them everything. I felt so vulnerable. Here I was telling my deepest secret to two girls that I don’t even consider being that close to. Hated myself for blurting out my entire life story just because they asked.

B said:

Petty Officer *****? He is married and screwing ***** on the side. He could not have done that!

Did she really just defend a man that is married and has a little play toy on the side? She sure did.

I stayed and we continued talking. I hate myself for being so weak. I am so desperate to have friends in the Coast Guard that I put myself through their interrogation. Two drunken girls asking me details about what happened.

Was I sure if I had sex with him? OMG what If I was still a virgin.

I was after all making out with him so totally it was consensual.

How about the pillow over my face suffocating? S&M !
(and how much one of them loves it. Forgot which of the two said it)

They concluded that I am not a lesbian as they previously made a bet to each other wondering if I was. They diagnosed me as being heterosexual but suffering from penis-phobia Thanks for the diagnosis Drs.

They did not bring up the rape again but B sure went on a mission to cure my penis-phobia! I don’t hangout with her anymore since she turned 21 a few months back and does nothing but drink right now. Put everything that she did to me aside, I am concern about how much she now drinks. All the drinking though does not stop her from sending me photos of penises both real and things in penis-shapes.

Penis shaped straws? Check!

Penis shaped lollipops? Check!

Penis shaped pasta? Check!

Penis sandcastles? Check!

Penis shaped sand castles. She goes to the beach to build penises in the sand. The penis doctors are going to cure me with penis shaped sandcastles!

After B transferred to another unit it died down a bit. We haven’t spoken in at least 3 weeks.

I see PO1 ***** almost daily. Rumors are he still has his little side sex toy. We never spoke about what happened.

I did a web search for Coast Guard rape and found this website. I clicked on the link for MRCC and they refer me over to a counselor that they are paying for that won’t show up in my Coast Guard records. I love my counselor. I feel much better now that I am talking to someone. I haven’t had another break down like I did when I was with ***** and ***** I do not want to be labeled as a rape victim. I am keeping my head up high.

I know that I will be ok. If anything this made me a stronger and smarter person. I won’t ever get myself into a situation where I am so drunk to be raped again. I am done with partying. I am done with trying to fit in. I am focusing on my quals and doing my best in the Coast Guard. I spend my Saturdays nights home with a good book and I am content with that. I don’t need to go out and party anymore just to fit in. I am a bit of a loner right now but I don’t miss my old life of getting so wasted every time I am off duty. I’ll be okay.

My Duty to Speak

Coast Guard Academy rape survivor advice to the class of 2016

Kristen, United States Coast Guard

I was sexually assaulted and groped throughout my time at the Academy. I was raped by a 1/c when I was a 2/c. It was reported. They laughed and told me that I had sex and regretted it. I was the one punished in the end.

I completed my military duty and am having difficulties finding a decent job. I am working at a job now that a high school graduate could do! I don’t dare tell anyone that I was in the Coast Guard. I have signed up for classes at a state college and plan on getting my undergrad degree in Psychology. I had to start from scratch so I can wipe clean of any thing that has to do with CG.

I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have difficulties sleeping. I get flashbacks. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression all which led back to how I was treated at CGA. I filed for compensation and 7 months later I am still waiting for a response from the VA.

A good friend little sister just got her acceptance letter to the Academy and it breaks my heart to know that by her going to the Academy she has a greater chance of being assaulted or raped than if she was to go to any other university in the country. When I told her what happened to me she claims that it’ll never happen to her and that she’ll fight off any man that comes on her. If only it was that easy.

Everyone that received their acceptance letters this week Congratulation but don’t expect the Academy to be easy. The most difficult part would be to not get raped or assaulted. If you can do that you’ll do just fine. If you are a guy do not rape anyone. If you know of anyone that been raped or assaulted do what you can to help them. Remember that the CGA has been voted to be the worst place in America for a woman. We have the worst professors. We have the most unhappy students. Treat everyone with respect and dignity. It’ll make things better for all during your time at CGA and the Coast Guard and makes things easier when you leave the Coast Guard and look for a job. Hiring a CGA alum is too much of a liability for many companies. It is up to you now to be the future of the Coast Guard and improve the reputation that those before you destroyed.

post has been edited since original posting as per the writer’s request

My Duty to Speak

Hazing at the Coast Guard Academy

I was at the CG Academy from 2005-2009.  In our first year we took part in initiation games that determined our status and acceptance for the next four years. One such game was that we had to stand in a circle and jerk off into a cup. The last person who came had to drink from the cup. If you did not participate you are called a wus and a faggot for the next four years.

I know many women that were raped.  Probably more than half of the women in my class.   Speaking from first hand experience I’ll never allow my sister or my future daughter or son to go to the Academy. I rather they go the enlisted route or choose another service Academy.  If I had to do it all over again I would have chosen the Air Force Academy or West Point. I am leaving the Coast Guard in a couple of years and fear that having Coast Guard Academy on my resume is going to hinder my employment in the corporate world. The Coast Guard Academy lost it prestige years ago.