Donna Moore, United States Coast Guard family member
I work as a rape crisis counselor at a University with a large population of students that are also veterans. Currently a third of my caseload are veterans with military sexual trauma that are adjusting to life as students and as rape victims. My military background includes two brothers that joined the Coast Guard. My older brother is an alumnus of the Coast Guard Academy and currently a Coast Guard Lieutenant. My younger brother left the Coast Guard several years ago after 4 years as an enlisted personnel. He is now a police officer.
I printed out some of the Coast Guard stories on this page and showed them to my brothers. I was taken aback by how little they cared and even made excuses for the rapists. My younger brother said that there are two sides to every story and that we were only getting one side. I disagree. I feel that rape is black and white. You either raped somebody or you didn’t. There isn’t that gray area where one might think it is rape and one might not. My older brother told me that some women in the Coast Guard are skanky and put themselves in situations that are going to get them raped. He admitted that there had been numerous women under his command that were too skanky that he wouldn’t waste CGI money or resources to investigate their rape claims and that it is easier to approve their separation from service. I was in shock when I heard all of this. I have a third brother who is not part of the Coast Guard that felt sympathetic to the Coast Guard members posting their rape stories on here.
I like to think that our parents raised us to respect all people including women. I do not know where their attitudes against women that are raped come from. I am ashamed by what they said.
I want to thank Panayiota Bertzikis for starting this blog. I think it speaks highly of her to put everything on the line to help her shipmates regain their voice. My brothers and all in the Coast Guard need to follow Panayiota’s leadership to eliminate rape in the Coast Guard. I have referred all of my veteran students to this blog and used some of the stories as learning tools for my colleagues that might not be familiar with military sexual trauma. It is never the victim’s fault for being raped.
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!
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
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.
When one chooses to attend a service academy you expect to be sexually harassed or discriminated against for having a vagina or the color of your skin or the shapes of your eyes. The extent of harassment I experienced couldn’t have ever been imagined. I have been sexually harassed almost daily since 2008. When reported they don’t follow up with you. The harassment continues.
I was raped once last spring. All that knew told me that I was lying and that I’ll regret reporting. I tried to report it and could not. Not one person followed through or investigated. A group of cadets call me a liar every single day. I diagnose myself with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety. I smile on the surface and I cry on the inside.
A while back we filled out a survey. It asked if we ever experienced unwanted sexual attention. They say that it is anonymous but they often call people in who fill questionable answers in what should be an anonymous questionnaire. They code the surveys and know who is answering what. Except for the brave or ignorant few you respond the way that they want you to respond. Put on a smile, write down everything is perfect and count down the days when you are gone either by graduation or suicide.
I know about the support groups but do not attend. I know of a few that do but it is all hush hush and let never talk about it. I do not trust anybody even if they all suffering the same way that I am. CASA is too cliquey. The SARC is a male. A man is the last person that I’ll talk to for obvious reasons. It is best to suffer alone.
We have the worst professors in the country: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505145_162-37243771/25-colleges-with-the-worst-professors/?tag=mwuser
We have to write student blogs. We have to pretend everything is perfect. We are suppose to say we are equal. We are having fun. We are suppose to tell all who ask that the Coast Guard Academy is a wonderful opportunity and we feel so fortunate to be here. In reality we are all suffering. We have the most depressed students: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/the-10-colleges-with-the-_n_1116156.html#s500051&title=United_States_Coast
My self esteem is at an all time low. Thoughts of suicide is the only thing that brings a smile to my face.
If you are a white bible thumper male you’ll fit right in. The Coast Guard Academy has a problem with rapists and racists. Let me not even start talking about race. They try to fill quotas without any motivation to change the sexist and racist culture. I am here because of a quota. I am here because of my gender and my race. I am not here because I earned it. They know that. They make sure that you know that.
I know a fellow cadet that admitted to being a KKK member. I doubt that he is an active KKK member with the work load that we have but walking around pretending to be proud skinhead is all the same to me.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to get this off my shoulders.
We have an international training program at the Coast Guard Academy where we allow foreign cadets to study with us. I was onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle with a cadet that joined us from Northern Africa. For most of the time on the Eagle I had to put up with his sexual harassment that included being groped, sexual comments, whistling as I passed by and an attempted rape. I was able to fight him off.
They tell you to report all cases of abuse. They drill in us that there is a zero-tolerance policy and support if and when we ever need it. When I took them up for their offer for help I was not helped. I was told that for foreign relation purposes that it’ll be in the best interest of the Coast Guard to not allow it to ruin his tour. I was told by the so-called “support” that it was culturally acceptable in Islam culture to sexually harass women. In her exact words that repeat in my head to this day was: “In his country women have to cover their entire faces and bodies. This is a culture shock to him. Give him some slack.” They did not investigate my allegations.
The commanding officer of a Boston Coast Guard unit has been fired for what the service calls a loss of confidence in his ability to lead.
Capt. Michael Husak was temporarily removed from command of Coast Guard Base Support Unit Boston on Tuesday by Rear Adm. Ronald Rabago, the Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for engineering and logistics.
Capt. Husak has a history of blaming sexual assault victims, intimidating them and doing all he can to obstruct justice. His abuse against rape survivors often continued long after they leave the service. As reported first on MST news one survivor reported being forbidden to enter Boston Coast Guard base for an Auxiliary meeting because she was a victim of rape.
Husak, a 1984 Coast Guard Academy graduate, has been reassigned to the academy pending the results of an administrative investigation, according to a news release. A service spokesman declined further comment.
The executive officer of BSU Boston, Cmdr. Tobiah Taylor, has assumed temporary command of the unit.
BSU Boston handles functions such as buildings and ground maintenance, environmental management and security for shore units, ships and boats.
repost from MST News.