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This is my story. I was attacked and sexually assaulted at my home and at work by a higher-ranking officer who wanted to control me. From the time my attacks happened back in 2008 until now I have been re-victimized over and over.
Often, as a woman—especially as a minority woman who is an officer—we are told to be strong and roll with the punches. I have done that over the course of my career and for the most part that has gotten me through, but this time I could not just turn my head and act like nothing happened. This man and so-called leader took a part of me purely because he knew he could and really thought he could get away with it. I struggled to keep the attacks inside and act like they never happened because I saw what the “zero tolerance” policy really meant in today’s Army concerning women. It meant as long as you teach classes and give an option to talk but not act (restricted reporting) we as an Army can keep moving and say the issue has been addressed.
I had seen women get dragged through the mud just because they did the right thing and spoke out against their attacker, and I seriously thought for a while that I would much rather deal with the pain then go through what I saw them go through. Eventually, I decided to be strong, get some courage together and take on what I knew was going to be a long, hard battle against the man that attacked me—mentally, physically and sexually.
It has been three long years and just last week my case was finally warranted an Article 32 hearing. It wasn’t until I actually filed a complaint against my attacker that I learned I was not alone and there were many other women that had been victimized but never had the strength and courage to do a formal, unrestricted report; so I felt so much better to know internally that even if they don’t find him guilty of anything I did the right thing by filing a report and taking on my attacker for numerous other women who for personal reasons could not. I am currently awaiting the outcome of the Article 32 to see if it goes to court martial. I have been through counseling and currently on prescribed medication, but in the end, I truly feel I have done the right thing.