My Duty to Speak

We Know How You Girls Like To Have Fun

Suzanne, USMC

It was the eve before my 20th birthday, I had been telling everyone it’s almost my birthday, I’d always been excited for my birthday. A few male marines told me they would be at a hotel we all used to hang out at and I should stop by. I didn’t know them and I had no intention of stopping by. So a group of my friends and I went to the hotel and got a room and we’re having a few drinks and we’re running around on the catwalk, that’s when the male marines saw us and asked us to come in their room… I was hesitant but they said come on we got you a cake. We went in shortly after that we were about to leave and one of them threw my friend on the bed, she jumped up and left. I was scared and started to leave but they kept saying we got you a cake and asked if I wanted to play cards. So I did, we started playing a drinking game which I was loosing most of the time. I remember putting my head down and on of the marines said do you want to lay down, I said no ill stay here. The next thing I remember is I was on the bed and one of them was taping me. I was crying asking them to stop and I tried to get away… there were four of them and they took turns. I remember the laughing as I was crying and trying to get away. At some point I dissociated, it felt like I was floating outside of my body and I was watching. This continued through the night into my birthday. In the morning I was afraid to move, I didn’t know what to do… they were on the bed watching cartoons and saying things about me like if she hadn’t been drinking she wouldn’t have had sex with us. The phone rang and it was my friend, I asked her to please come get me. She did and we went back to the barracks. I was bleeding vaginally and emotionally a wreck. Rumors were going around about how I was fucked in every hole. Male marines started approaching me because they thought I was easy. I went to the Chaplain on base and told him… he told me to report it to the police which I did. I was taken to the hospital so a rape kit could be done. That’s when the MP’s came… I was hesitate to give names but was threatened that if I didn’t I would be in trouble. I gave them the names and filed a report. The next day I was called into the commanding officers office and put in the same room with the four marines that raped me. I was terrified another marine came in and told them to get me out of the room. The next thing was going to NIS and they had me in the same vehicle with them. I went into the NIS officers office and the first thing she said to me was COME ON WE KNOW HOW YOU GIRLS LIKE TO HAVE FUN I said no I don’t. I was so scared and far away from home that I dropped it. Even though I dropped it, it has been 30 years of nightmares and flashbacks and self destructive behavior. I am finally on a healing journey with help from programs such as the Lone Survivor Foundation.

My Duty to Speak

Friendly Fire, Not So Friendly

They say a Marine on duty has no friends. Truer words have never been spoken.

My experience in the military has been one of accomplishment, pride, and endurance. It was also heartbreaking, emotionally disturbing, and disappointing. I enjoyed being in the Marine Corps. It was challenging. It pushed me to limits I didn’t even know existed, and beyond. After completing MOS school, I was stationed aboard a tropical island, many only dreams of going.

I was doing well for myself aboard my station, received recognition for achievements, and I was satisfied. I met my husband, and we began our family together. There had already been rumors that there were Marines who were not conducting themselves properly. Our unit had come under investigation, which wasn’t surprising given the fact leadership did nothing to change how Marines were behaving nor how problems were handled. The “keep it in-house rule” was applied for anything that arose from underage drinking to attacks on females in an attempt to keep them quiet. Not my problem. It was “above my pay grade.”

Duty NCO’s are in charge of keeping the peace in the barracks, and I have my own things to deal with. Besides, I didn’t live in the barracks. Around this time, a family member of mine became gravely ill. I had used up all of my leave and was unable to go home. My husband, in turn, went with our son to see this family member as we were unsure whether they would pass due to their illness. I packed up their things and sent them on their way. They were set to return three weeks after their departure. This was my first time being apart from my son, and staying in a multi-story house alone did nothing to ease this. I became very work oriented often spending an additional 2-3 hours after the close of business of the work day. Thing’s hadn’t been going too well at work because a disgruntled higher-up had been removed from his position and placed in my work section. The wonderful joys of dealing with an angry old school Marine who believes women should be making coffee, sweeping the floors, and staying at home. The weekend following my family’s departure was much welcomed and brought about a sense of relief for two days.

As usual, I went over to see my neighbor who husband was on deployment. So, girls night, we had ourselves a couple of drinks and enjoyed watching several shows. Earlier in the day, another neighbor had invited her to come over and partake in a cookout they were having. I was asked to come. We shared drinks, enjoyed some food, and were inebriated by midnight. I called it a night and returned to my house which was down the street. Somewhere along the lines, a Marine I knew had come over unannounced and was at this cookout. I didn’t know or realize until the next morning. I didn’t recall much of the night and much less when I got home to my couch to sleep. Somehow I had arisen in my bed, hair saturated with water, and my vagina was sore. My neighbor said this person had come inside of my house with me and she had eventually left, with him still in my house. Great battle buddy indeed. Anyway, I brushed off the incident since I didn’t remember anything and didn’t want to make a big deal about it. After all, it was nothing right?

The following day after the incident we went to our day, grocery shopping, mall, lunch, the usual things military spouses and members do on the weekend. I didn’t know where my phone was and chalked it up to be a loss in my drunken stupor. Night fell quickly, and I was feeling better about what had happened earlier in the day. My neighbor came over, which on occasion I would be the one over at her house. A fellow Marine I knew was having a rough day, so I invited them to come over as well. We were sitting in my living room and watched movies on my television. I left my door unlocked because I was living on base. Apparently, nothing bad happens on military bases. Ever. In walks the Marine from the other night and it kind of shocked me. I didn’t invite him to come over, and he walks through my door like he owned the place. I didn’t want to start any trouble or anything to that effect. I went to the kitchen and called my neighbor. I told her I felt “weird” and was feeling tired. I went outside with her, and we smoked several cigarettes. After this, I went upstairs to my bedroom locked the door. They continued to drink and talk downstairs. I changed into a pair of pajamas I had and looked forward to jumping in my bed. New sheets and comforter so that when my husband came home, he would be impressed I put an effort to making his return joyous. We had moved in relatively recently and didn’t really have things like coffee tables and decorations. All of which I bought that weekend. I woke up at 3 or 4 that morning to my pajama bottoms being ripped off. I could see his outline, I could smell him. I knew who it was.

My friend, my fellow Marine I had known for a long time, doing the unthinkable. I knew my other male marine friend was in the other room because he would never drive after drinking. I went to yell at him, but he told me not to and covered my mouth. He continued to do as he please, all the while I struggled. I was scared. I was angry. I was hurt. I finally was able to kick him off of me. He went to grab his stuff; I pulled the comforter over my head. I heard the door click shut. I cried myself to sleep that night. The following morning I woke up to another female Marine I was very close to shaking me. She had entered through the garage after my husband instructed her to check on me since neither one could get a hold of me. We were to go to the beach that morning. I moved the sheets to find that I was sitting in a pool of blood. I didn’t know what was going on. I yelled at her and threw her out. It’s always the ones we love we hurt the most. I jumped in the shower and cried and cried until I had no more tears. I got dressed and headed downstairs. The marine who had stayed in the other room was sitting on the couch, after having cleaned up a bit. I sat on the sofa and told him everything. He asked me what did I want to do. We both knew if I said anything, bad always comes down the pipeline. I wanted to pretend that nothing happened. I knew if I said something everything I held to be good and right in the world would come crashing down and it would make the Rape real. It’s still difficult to say he raped me. We went to the gas station so that I could fill up my SUV. When we got there, I saw my friend. She had been through the same circumstances. I grabbed her and hugged her and told her everything. She held me close and said you need to speak the police. I looked, and she said I can’t. I’m scared. You know what’ll happen. No one will believe me. She respected me enough to let me make that decision on my own. Later that day I mustered enough willpower to tell my husband what happened. I reported the incident to the police.

I knew once I said this it was going to become a mad house in my battalion. It had taken a long time before the police convinced me to give them his name. Marines would call me a liar. I was ridiculed and forced to sit through SAPR training which contains a reenactment of rape. Worse of all, I would have a battalion that would not support me and force me to work with this Marine, in the same unit, only 10 feet away every day. All the Marines I knew would shun me and turn their backs. Marines would drive by and yell obscenities as I walked down the street. I said what was happening to me after I reported the rape to the Battalion Commander. I was told not to complain and ‘Duty before self.’ I was discharged from the Marine Corps four months later. Several other female Marines came forward with their stories of rape from the same Marine. After seeing how I was treated, all retracted their statements. I don’t blame them. A Marine on duty has no friends. No room for doubt in the Marine Corps Fidelity.

My Duty to Speak

A Male Marine and Nearly Two Decades of Shame and Silence

Adapted from “I’ve Got the T-Shirt and the Trauma Response to Go With It”

As a vocal male survivor, when I’m not talking about sexual violence in writing or before audiences, I’m reading about it in many contexts and sources. A great deal of what I read on a daily basis is written with the implication that military men don’t experience sexual violence or have no experiences that parallel those of female survivors.

Those making such arguments are often NOT sexual violence survivors themselves. Encountering such memes can be quite painful when you are a rape survivor yourself. The problem is not that female survivors receive the majority of the attention when sexual violence is discussed. The problem is that when sexual violence is discussed with regard to male survivors, there is often resistance, condescension, and outright mockery by people who quite often have not experienced such violence themselves. For those who have lived through abuse at the hands of women, that can be doubly wounding.

I’ve lived through sexual violence. I have my own story and my own experiences. I have my own triggers and my own issues.  This is my story.


Approximately twenty years ago I met a friend at a club in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He came with a female friend. During the night, he disappeared leaving his friend by herself and without a ride. As she was pregnant and without a ride, I agreed to take her home when I left. She had not been out in a while and wanted to stay until the club closed that night. While she was not drinking, she bought me a few thank you drinks for agreeing to drive her home.

After a few drinks, I became very tired and disoriented. I never drank until I got drunk, especially when driving and off base. I didn’t like the feeling and it wasn’t secure off base. I just figured I was tired and had too much without realizing it. There was a motel next to the club. She suggested we get a room and sleep it off, then I could drive her home in the morning. I agreed as I was rapidly losing the ability to think or see straight.  She got us a room with double beds and we split the cost.

I vaguely remember laying down with my clothes still on. I probably took off my shirt per the norm, but I left my pants on. I did not feel comfortable taking my pants off around this strange woman. She warned me that she did not want to have sex and I remember saying that I was seeing someone and was not at all interested in that either. I laid down on my side of the room and was out almost immediately.

At some point in the night, I awoke to find her on top of me. I said something I cannot remember and she coaxed me back to sleep. I doubt very much that she could even understand what I was saying, given how disoriented I felt at that time.

The next morning, after the sun had risen, I woke again feeling confused and unsure of where I was or what had transpired since getting off work on Friday afternoon. My pants were nowhere to be seen, my underwear also missing and my penis was erect. I realized that she was on top of me, grinding and moaning. I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t fucking her. I didn’t want to fuck her. Who was she again? I moved as my legs were stiff and sore from being in the same position for hours with her on top of me.

She darted her eyes at me and told me not to move. I was ordered “don’t be forceful.” She then implied that I was trying to rape her when I could not remain perfectly still and again told me not to move. In addition, I was told that I could hurt the baby if I tried to stop it. After she finally finished, I was still expected to drive her home and was not dismissed until late that evening, after sunset.

In short, I was drugged, raped, threatened and had a baby used against me as a human shield. To say that experience left me messed up would be an understatement.

Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. I was under 21, drinking illegally in a club, while on active duty with a local, pregnant civilian. Why didn’t I report it? Read this paragraph again and think about it harder if it eludes your grasp.

The Reaction

How did I react? I buried it deep and pretended it didn’t happen, which is a common reaction for male survivors. That did not mean that it had no effect on me. I simply pretended it didn’t happen.  I called it a bad night and said she was a little twisted.  I tried my best not to ever think about it.

As one therapist would later tell me, denial of trauma does not mean it isn’t affecting you. I believe she said that if unacknowledged, the effects would “come out sideways” and in a manner that may not be easily identifiable.  For me, that was a sudden and ridiculous promiscuity that did not exist before the rape. I began to act out sexually by sleeping with any woman who offered. I turned down no one, to include several much older, married women. I did not seek out sex, I simply said yes every time.

To say that I was reckless then would be accurate. I was risking exposure to disease and potential violence from angry husbands and boyfriends. I did this for about three years before getting married and stuffing the memories down deep. Further, I lost nearly all trust in women – especially aggressive and loud women.

Nearly twenty years later, I decided to confront it. The time had come to do something about it. I sought out assistance and began to see a therapist. I spent a lot of time on me, thinking, analyzing and progressing. It was painful, but necessary work. I’m not done with it. I don’t know that I’ll ever be truly done.

While in therapy, it was as if the bandage had been ripped off suddenly and the wounds were newly raw. I had panic attacks, crying fits, sudden anger and loss of time. I felt exposed all the time, everywhere.

I had trouble being alone with a woman in a confined space like an office or elevator. Some days, I didn’t even want to stand next to a woman in line for a cup of coffee.  I felt guilty all the time. I still feel guilty quite often. I feel guilty because I don’t trust women I don’t know. I feel guilty because I sometimes view women, particularly loud and aggressive white women, as potential threats to my well-being and mental health. I feel guilty because for a long time, I couldn’t look at a pregnant woman without seeing that sick woman from so many years ago.  I still notice when a pregnant woman is near me, but that doesn’t always result in a panic attack.  Yeah, I know, it sounds ridiculous.  Since when did PTSD, rape or emotions ever make sense?

I still struggle with some of these issues today, but not as often and not always in such intensity as before.  Presently, I have returned to my prior human resources career. This field is dominated by women and has proved a big test for me.

The biggest test is sometimes just getting through the day without losing it. Some days pass without issue, while on other days I just have to give myself a hall pass so I can get on with my life.


James Landrith is a healing rape survivor, public speaker, internationally syndicated blogger, civil liberties activist and the notorious editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist (ISSN: 1552-3446) and The Abolitionist Examiner (ISSN: 1552-2881). Landrith can be reached by email at: or at his personal website/blog.

My Duty to Speak

U.S Marine raped

H, United States Marine Corps

While serving in the USMC, I was raped by a Corpsman attached to our unit. I was on liberty one night with my mod-mate, and had seen the Corpsman at the bar. I had a few beers (I honestly, was NOT drunk…I knew very well what happened every moment that night!) We went back to our barracks rooms that night, and I got an unwanted visitor at my door.

I cannot count how many times I said “NO” or “STOP” or “PLEASE” that night. No one heard me. I reported it the next evening to my Chain of Command and the investigation was launched from there. The investigation went from June to January.

During these months, I was heavily alienated by my peers and my NCO’s. I was made fun of. I was referred to as derrogatory names by EVERYONE. I was severely depressed. My Sergeant Major even told me to my face that it was MY FAULT because I did not have a father in my life growing up, and that I need to learn how to PRESENT myself in front of men, because “I must have” given him a reason to think that I wanted it.

He was wrong. MY Marine Corps did not stand by me. Then shunned me, when I needed them the most. I selflessly gave myself to my country, and my country did not stand by me in return. My heart was broken. When all was said and done, the official investigation done by NCIS was “unfounded” because there was not a rape kit done (as I did not know I needed to go to the hospital to do so), and I did not have a roommate so there were no witnesses. Only his story and my story. Period. If it weren’t for my UVA (uniformed victim’s advocate) & civilian led support group that I faithfully attended weekly for over a year..I would still consider myself a victim. I am not. I AM A SURVIVOR!

My Duty to Speak


S.K, United States Marine Corps

I reported to my first duty station in Hawaii and met an NCO from my unit. He invited me to a bbq to meet other marines from my unit and I accepted. I didn’t drink, so I was offered a soda.. 3/4th through the drink,I began to not feel good. I tried to go outside for air but could not walk. The NCO and 4 other marines forced me down the hall into a small room. I passed out and came to many times. All of the 5 men were raping me as I was unable to move or stop them. They kept me at the house from Friday through Sunday, beating, torturing, threatening to kill me.

My Duty to Speak

Veteran sexually harassed at Detroit VA

Michelle, United States Marine Corps

I was raped while serving my country. This is my story. This is an update about MST treatment at the Detroit VA.

I have been in treatment at the Detroit VA and Vet Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that resulted from Military Sexual Trauma. I am currently rated at 100% for PTSD. The Vet Center in Detroit is great. I have zero complaints about them however the Detroit VA is absolutely in need of a complete do over. It is simply not a safe place for women veterans.

I try to stay away from the VA as much as I could often dealing with pain and illnesses alone without going to see a doctor. What I can not get away from is medication to help with PTSD, depression and insomnia. For that I have to  see a psychologist at the VA every few months for medication. I usually take off at least two days from work because; one to go to my appointment and one to stay in bed to cry from my appointment at the VA.

Every time that I go to the VA I get hit on like crazy by creepy older male veterans some who are old enough to be my dad. I am not even what you consider pretty. I’m a heavyset black girl to put it in the nicest possible way.  I complained to the patient advocate to the point that they no longer return phone calls. Last time I talked to a patient advocate she told me to dress less provocative. I am usually in sweats so not exactly sure what they want me to wear short of a burka.

The Women Veteran Program Coordinator is aware of the problems but she does not know what to do. I was told to report to her when I get harassed but usually I don’t even know the name of a fellow Veteran that hit on me in the hallway or in a waiting room. Due to HIPAA even if she knew who I was talking about she can not tell me a name so that I can report it and she can not legally report it for me. It is a Catch 22. I was also told that I can go directly to the VA Police but like most with MST I do not trust law enforcement and the last thing that I want to do is sit in a room with a male cop to tell them that I was sexually abused. No way am I going to put myself through that again.

I do not have any other options but to be sexually harassed when I get my treatment for rape. My job does not offer me insurance and I can not afford it elsewhere.


My Duty to Speak

Rape at Camp Lejeune

Michelle, United States Marine Corps

The Marine Corps hate muslims. I am a muslim. The Marine Corps do not like women. I am a woman. The Marine Corps is not favourable towards blacks. I am black. The Marine Corps are not sympathetic towards rape survivors. I am a rape survivor. I am also a Marine. The thing that I got out most from the Marines were that I should hate somebody like myself.

Growing up I never had a desire to serve my country. In my Junior year of high school I even talked an older cousin out of joining the Army and go to college instead. I was going into my senior year with hope to play Volleyball at a Div I college. I was talking to recruiters and was one of the nation’s top prospect. Then 9/11 happened. As I was watching the news from the TV at my high school in Detroit I knew that I had to get those that did this to us. That Thursday I visited a Marine Corps recruitment office and in June 2002 a week after graduating high school I was on my way to Parris Island. I chose the Marine Corps cause they are the baddest and the best.

I went to Iraq. I loved it. I loved being deployed to Iraq. I loved the Marines. I loved my job. I loved serving my country. I fell in love with another Marine and we had a Marine wedding with both of us in uniform. When I put my uniform on I felt nothing but pride. That all changed in 2007. I was raped.

My rapist was a Captain. I was a Sergeant. I knew him from Iraq. It was early afternoon and he was intoxicated and was about to go into his car. I told him that I’ll drive him where he needs to be. He had my back in Iraq and was like a father figure to me. I was not going to allow him to drive drunk. I drove him home roughly 20 minutes from post. I drove up to his driveway. He got out stumbled up his front steps. As I was driving out of the driveway I saw him fall. I rushed out of my car to help him up. He unlocked the door and pushed me in. He raped me in his home.

After it all happened I called my husband who said he’ll meet me at the hospital. He told his command why he needed to leave but by doing that he made my rape public. At the hospital they gathered the forensic evidence in the SAFE kit.

I chose unrestricted reporting and it went up the proper channels. They said that there was not enough evidence that I was raped. Yes, they found evidence of sexual intercourse but could not find evidence that it was by force. He was never charged. They said, “well, you are a big girl (I’m 5’11) so why didn’t you just kick him in the balls.” In the flight, fight, freeze response I froze.

They said that he was suffering from PTSD and may had made a bad judgement. He was medically discharged for PTSD. Well I also have PTSD and won’t rape anybody!

I was raped at Camp Lejeune just months after the Maria Lauterbach case got worldwide attention. You’ll think that people would have dealt with my case much more carefully as all the news camera was pointed to Camp Lejeune. I had to continue working directly under him for a year. I was the scape goat of the company. I was blamed for everything. It was all my fault. Being a muslim they even blamed 9/11 for me. My grand parents are from Guinea. I was born and raised in the USA. My parents grew up in the United States. We don’t pray 5 times a day. I only put Muslim down on my enlistment papers when they asked what religion that I am. We are not at all die-hard practicing muslims, I am as American as the next Marine over but I was not that blonde girl, blue-eyed girl next door so I must be a terrorist! I did after all blew the whistle on a rape. I went against the United States of America when I dared reported rape from a United States military officer. I am married to a white, Anglo-Saxon American as they get. I had to remind myself that I am an US Marine while everyone else was calling me a sand nigger. My husband got out of the Marine Corps last year partly because of what happened to me. He is having difficulties finding a civilian job and been unemployed for over a year. He blames me that he had to leave his job. Our marriage is falling apart and my rape and PTSD is to be blamed.

I lost my career because I was told that I have Adjustment and Personality Disorders which the VA denied that I have either conditions. They said that I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which they rated me at for 100%. I tried to get my investigation and medical files but the Marine Corps ‘lost’ them both. How convenient to lose the investigation files from rape survivors.

I am a survivor.

I am a Marine.

Semper Fi.


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

Carri Leigh Goodwin, United States Marine Corps

by Melissa Obrien as said by Carri’s father; Gary Noling

Carri Leigh Goodwin, USMC

August of 2007 at the age of 18 Carri Leigh Goodwin of Ohio enlisted in the United States Marine Corps to make her father, Gary Noling, a former Marine proud. During her time in the Marine Corps Carri reported a rape. Instead of being supported and having her allegations being taken seriously she felt that the Marine Corps did not do enough to help her. Similar to what many survivors reported, the blame of the rape was put on the survivor instead of the perpetrator. She was bullied by her command for reporting a rape and was eventually forced out of the Marine Corps for reasons of Personality Disorder. According to an external investigation the alleged rapist was accused of another rape in 2006 at Camp Pendleton but was able to continue serving. The alleged rapist did receive an NJP for the rape of Carri Goodwin but that was all. He is still in the Marine Corps.

The day she was discharged from service, her father Gary Noling along with her sister Misty and brother Lukas picked her up from the bus station happy that she was back home-safe. Five days later at the age of 20 Carri drank herself to death. To make matters worse, her sister was eventually charged with involuntary manslaughter and furnishing alcohol to an

Carri with her father Gary

underage person. Because of the affects of Military Sexual Trauma an entire family has been turned upside down, with losing a daughter due to the military lack of resources to help a survivor in need.

According to a journal that she left behind she confessed that the pain of the rape and even more so, the ill response from the Marine Corps were unbearable to her. Carri had an alcohol blood content of .46, six time the legal limit. In combination with medication given to her by the Marine Corps, including zoloft it stopped the alcohol from going through her liver and went straight to her blood. She has signed up with wishes to be deployed, go to combat and defend her country. Instead she was raped, blamed for being raped and betrayed by her command.

She left behind three journals. Below is a picture of one of the drawings found in the journal.

Taken from Carri's journal. A picture she left behind showing her how the rape affected her.

Gary Noling started a facebook group for his daughter. Visit it here.

My Duty to Speak

Rape at Camp Pendleton, United States Marine Corps

Sarah ,United States Marine Corps

I joined the Marine Corps in 2003. In 2006, at age 22, I was a LCpl stationed in Camp Pendleton as a Russian Linguist. I guess it’s fair to say I was a partier… I drank several nights a week to the point of drunkenness, occasionally to the point of blacking out. I’ve since learned my lesson… On August 26th, 2006, my friends and I had been drinking in the barracks, “pre-gaming”, waiting for a friend to get home who had promised to take us out and be our DD. When he got home, he took one look at me, apologized, and said I was clearly too drunk to go out. He was concerned it wouldn’t be safe considering my level of intoxication and that it was likely I wouldn’t even be allowed in at a club at this point. I shrugged it off and my friends and I decided to just keep drinking in the barracks. I don’t have much memory of the rest of the night, but I do recall at one point walking past the perpetrator. He was a supervisor of mine, a Cpl 12 years my senior. I had talked to him at work about running, but that was about it. I didn’t really know him. Honestly, I looked up to him, as most of us junior Marines did. He was older, seemed more mature than the rest of us. It was well known that he didn’t drink, or cuss, or smoke, and he was always wanting to talk about God to everyone. Our command adored him. I saw him in a friend’s room. He was standing in her doorway as I walked by. I remember being embarrassed that he saw me as drunk as I was. I APOLOGIZED to him for him having to see me like that! Ugh! Makes me so sick to think about now… He laughed and said, “Oh, that’s alright!” And I kept walking. The next thing I remember, I woke up in his room with him on top of me. I found out through the investigation what had happened: He had come down to my room later in the night. I was there with some friends. He asked me to come watch a movie in his room. Since I was nearing the point of unconsciousness, a friend of mine that I don’t even remember seeing that night apparently answered for me, said yes, and helped carry me up to the perpetrator’s room. But I passed out soon after getting there, so my friend suggested calling it a night. My friend asked the perpetrator, “Is it cool if she just crashes here tonight or do you want to help me carry her downstairs?” The perpetrator told him it was cool to just leave me there… that he would take care of me… The only words I remember from the whole incident were after he raped me: he asked me if I thought God could still love me after what I had just done. I think a combination of having dissociated and still being so drunk are what kept me from responding, but I remember those words…

Completely confused and devastated (not to mention, still drunk), I wandered around the barracks and found a group of shady people hanging out by the smoke pit behind the barracks. They offered me drugs and I took it. For all I know, it was an aspirin, but the point was, I had no clue what I was taking or who was giving it to me, and I honestly didn’t even care at that point. Definitely not something I usually do… I mean, I had just been horrendously violated and it had been suggested to me that God could no longer love me… I was feeling pretty low… I didn’t want to report it at first. I wasn’t even sure if it counted as rape. With my memory as hazy as it was, I kept trying to convince myself it was probably just some sort of misunderstanding, that I must have said or done something to make him think I had wanted him to do what he did. But I wasn’t handling it very well. I was breaking down at work; hiding in the bathroom, crying. Not eating, not showering, not sleeping. So a few days after it happened, I asked a friend what she thought about such a situation, hypothetically… She told me I had to report it and she called our battalion EO Rep, thinking he was the guy to talk to. He came to my office and took me outside to talk. I told him what happened, leaving out the perpetrator’s name. I asked him if that was even rape, and how I could get into counseling because I was recognizing the fact that I was not OK. He demanded I tell him the name. I asked if it would be kept confidential. He said yes. So I told him the name. THEN he told me he wasn’t really the EO Rep, that he was just filling in while the EO Rep was away, and that he was required to report it by law. And that I, too, was required by law to report it. Thus started my personal hell…

My command told me from the beginning to not tell anyone about what happened, “for my own good”. They told me that my safety was “their first concern” and that they would see this through to the end. So they said… In reality, they did everything they could to drag my name through the mud and punish me for having reported it, despite the fact that I was forced to do so!! I was frequently told that I needed to just forget about the incident, and “treat him with the respect his rank deserves!” I suffered a lot of psychological stress (diagnosed with PTSD), several breakdowns at work, hiding under my desk, running away from the office, locking myself in my boss’ office, crying during a battalion hike, having a panic attack during a PT session. All because my command never honored their promise to keep me safe.

Initially, I wasn’t even moved from the office in which the perpetrator worked. I asked (begged) to work a crap job as a guard for a top-secret building. The perpetrator didn’t have a clearance, so I knew he would never be there and I would feel safer there. I was told that would be “special treatment” (despite the fact that it’s the kind of job that newbies are given when they first come to the battalion because NOBODY wants that job!) so they couldn’t do it. I was never even moved to another barracks like I was promised. I was forced to live below him for the next 2 years, constantly in fear, living in paranoia of what could happen. Their solution to that was taking a restraining order out against me (??!!) saying I needed to stay away from the perpetrator, unless it was work related. I was given the “consolation” that it was mutual: he would be forced to stay away from me unless it was work related, too. How nice… I told them I wouldn’t sign unless they took out the “unless it’s related to work” clause. I didn’t want to be forced to work with him. Again, I was told that would be “special treatment” and that I needed to put “personal drama” aside when at work and act like a respectable Marine, treating him with respect and professionalism. This was mere weeks after what had happened! I was in counseling and even saw a psychiatrist to treat me for the anxiety and panic attacks, the sleeplessness, and the severe depression. My command forced me to hand over my list of prescriptions (which I learned later they had no right to do) and told me that it indicated that I was too crazy to deploy or continue performing my job. I was told that I was a “threat to national security”.

They suspended my top-secret clearance, stripped me of my position on the deployment roster, and sent me to work for Area Maintenance. I spent 5 months there, picking up trash along the side of the road with “rejects” from other battalions. Area Maintenance is where you send Marines who are considered useless or troublemakers. It is also where other battalions had sent male Marines who were currently being investigated for rape. So I frequently had to listen to other perpetrators tell stories about how the girl “had it coming” or why she “deserved it”. And every time I communicated with my command, it was again thrown in my face that they didn’t believe me, that they adored him because he was a fast runner and he didn’t drink, and that I just needed to move on.

I had one female lieutenant, who didn’t even have any right to know about my situation, seek me out because she thought she “could help me – speak to me – as one female Marine to another”. She told me, “Well, what he did was capitalize on an opportunity. That’s not really the same thing as rape. You know that, right?” I was constantly being made to feel like I was the crazy one for being hurt by what had happened. They even suggested just charging us BOTH with “Inappropriate Barracks Conduct” as a solution to the whole thing! Him, for having raped me, and me for having drunk hard liquor when I knew only beer and wine are allowed in the barracks. Oh, they also suggested charging me for “drug use” since during the investigation I admitted having taken something from someone that night, even though the rape kit I did revealed no drugs in my system. In all odds, it was aspirin of some sort, but since I admitted that I didn’t know what I took, my command tried to jump on the chance to charge me with drug use… Seriously? Threatening someone for reporting something when they were forced to report it against their will?? THIS is the Marine Corps?? But my command was good at covering their bases. They did conduct the NCIS investigation, as they are obligated to. The thing that’s messed up about that, though, is the right to press charges lies solely with my command. I have no rights in this arena. NCIS has no rights in this arena. Just my command. So, NCIS came back with the results of the investigation, which just listed the facts: “he says he knew she was drinking, but that he didn’t realize she was drunk. She says she was passed out drunk and barely remembers anything. Everyone who saw either of them that night confirmed that she was visibly drunk and he was sober.” The end.

First of all, you would THINK that this would be enough, considering both California and military law say that any alcohol at all equates to inability to legally consent, but nope… They didn’t seem to care about that. I had begged them for a lie detector test, but they said they only issue lie detector tests if the perpetrator denies having “had sex” with the girl. For some inexplicable reason, they can’t ask “Did you know she was drunk?” or, “Did she seem incoherent?” or even, “Did she seem to be enjoying it?” Nothing like that. All they ask is, “Did you have sex with her?” and he had already admitted that. So they denied my repeated requests for a lie detector test. So everything came down to “he said/she said” (why everyone else’ testimony was useless is beyond me… chalk it up to another failure in this system). NCIS insisted that the decision to press charges or determine criminality was with my command. My command insisted that it was up to NCIS to tell them if he was guilty or not. NCIS said they couldn’t make that call, it was up to my command, so on and so forth… My command insisted that the results were therefore “inconclusive” and that their hands were “tied”. Told me once again that I needed to get over it once and for all and put it in the past. That I needed to “give them an honest day’s work”. Like I was somehow a bad Marine for having PTSD. One MSgt even took the liberty of telling all of his junior Marines about my situation, telling them that I was a lying whore trying to ruin the reputation of a “good Marine”. He told his whole office. Probably about 30 Marines… And since I had been advised by them from day one to keep my silence, many of my friends (who weren’t involved in the investigation) had no idea what had happened and were still friends with the perpetrator. I can’t even begin to explain how painful that was… Seeing everyone revere him as this super-Marine, while I was silently suffering from this hell, often wishing I were dead.

Since my command had failed, was now refusing to let me transfer to another battalion, and was now forcing me to go back to working with the perpetrator, I decided to go beyond my command. I emailed news stations, I called lawyers, I wrote to senators and governors (both my home state and California), and I even contacted the base IG (Inspector General). Nothing happened. News stations never replied. Lawyers told me they would love to help but couldn’t touch my case since it was the military. I was advised by my advocate not to trust JAG. She said their primary goal is to support the battalion command and that they would just take anything I might tell them and use it against me, to help my command shut me up. The politicians either told me that I was out of their voter range (not a citizen of California, and no longer living and voting in my home state) or that my command had done everything they were legally required to do. The IG came and talked to me a few times, but that was about it. I vaguely remember there having been a brief investigation into my command’s actions, but since they conducted the NCIS investigation, and that’s all that’s legally required of them, there was nothing to be done. They are legally allowed to refuse to press charges, no matter what. The more pressure I tried to bring down on my command, the more they mistreated me. I had gained weight from the depression and was placed on BCP. Basically, we worked out at lunch everyday. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, except shortly after I was put on BCP, the perpetrator, who had been promoted during this investigation, was put in charge of BCP! I was forced by my command to report to him everyday!!! And they don’t understand how this contributed to my mental instability??? I had my psychologist, my psychiatrist, and my victim advocate all lobbying for me, begging my command to take me out of this situation (and many other situations just like it) for the sake of my mental health, but all requests were denied as this would be “special treatment”.

Finally, after almost a year of fighting with my command… I gave up. I had sacrificed my clearance, lost most of my hair, gained about 30 lbs, and about lost my mind. I was completely defeated and had nothing left in me to keep fighting this system. I “moved on” in the sense that I started running and getting back in shape, working on me. I became very bitter and hardened towards the entire Marine Corps, feeling let down by a system that makes it illegal to sue your boss, no matter what they do to you. Upon giving up, I was called into one of my bosses’ offices and “congratulated” for having moved on. He congratulated me for giving up!! Again, this is the Marine Corps…?? A few months later, our battalion CO even held a battalion wide meeting where he told my story (without names) to everyone, and basically patted himself on the back for having helped get me through it! He even said, “I am proud to say that the Marine is now once again a functional member of this battalion because of our ability to step in and take the appropriate measures.” I hid in the bathroom for the rest of the afternoon-long brief crying. I hate him so much for having so callously swept everything under a rug, destroying so much of who I was, and then freakin’ congratulating himself for it! In front of everyone… Needless to say, I am beyond thrilled to now be a civilian. May they never call me back…