Anonymous Story

Anonymous Story

I went into the Army in 1984 as a married woman, although I was separated from my husband. I arrived at Fort Rucker, Alabama for A.I.T. to become an air traffic controller. There was a group of us soldiers that went to a lake by the base one day to have a BBQ. There was a lot of drinking going on and I got pretty intoxicated. Another soldier offered to drive me back to the base. I don’t remember anything past getting into his truck until the next morning when I woke up in a hotel with him, nude. I could tell there had been sex between us. I was really hung over and he took me back to the base. I blamed myself for this happening and tried to put it out of my mind.

Three weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. I was offered a hardship discharge because I refused to get an abortion on moral grounds. I didn’t want to loose my college money which is why I went in. Because I didn’t accept the discharge, I was told I wouldn’t be given special treatment and ordered to dig fox holes, which I did.

The other soldier was sent to Ft. Bragg. I contacted him and told him I was pregnant. He said it wasn’t his kid. I just accepted the blame and went on to my next duty assignment at Ft. Hood. When I got there I wasn’t showing my pregnancy yet. The sexual harassment was extreme. My Staff Sargent saw this and he knew I was pregnant. He told me to let him handle the troops, that he would protect me. Since I didn’t have a car he offered to give me a ride to my doctor appointments as it was winter and snowing. I trusted him. It got to a point that I had to call my husbands family in California and tell them I was pregnant with another soldiers child as they would know it wasn’t my husbands child. My husband told me he was going to divorce me.

The staff Sargent showed up at the barracks that day when everyone was out and I cried on his shoulder. He started kissing me and told me he loved me. He was a married man much older than me, but said his wife didn’t understand him and he was at the end of his marriage. Before I knew it, I was involved in a sexual relationship with him! The person I thought was offering to help me in this mess used his power and position to further my problems. I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening. One day I got a call from the doctors office saying I might have to have a C-section because I was diagnosed with herpes. I was crying and the staff Sargent showed up and I told him this. The look of guilt on his face was palpable! I went on to have my baby at Darnell Army Hospital at Ft. Hood, Texas.

One month after my son was born, the staff Sargent showed up at my apartment intoxicated. I was still glad to see him, needing emotional support. He pulled me into my bedroom and pushed me down onto the bed forcefully, onto my stomach. I didn’t understand what was going on. Then he sodomized me, despite my pleading with him to stop. Afterwards, he quickly dressed and left. I sat there, alone, bleeding, and confused. I had trusted this man. Why would he do that?

After that incident, he stopped talking to me altogether. And I went to duty, hanging my head in shame. I had another year to do, to finish my obligation as I had a two year enlistment. I was a single mother the entire time and kept my baby, going through 4 different childcare arrangements. I was so broke, having to pay for rent, childcare and a car payment on about $800 a month. The pay in those days wasn’t much. I had to use cloth diapers, wash them by hand and hang them in a window to dry. I had to move to a cheaper apartment that was infested with cock roaches. I found one crawling out of my child’s pajamas one day. I became very withdrawn, and couldn’t wait to get out and go home. But when I did, I was having nightmares about the attack. I was fighting with my family that I needed help from.

I have had nothing but problems since then. I came home to poverty, shame and PTSD. I didn’t date because I couldn’t trust men. I struggled with work because I couldn’t trust authority. It took me 25 years to finally get a 2 year college degree with all the problems I was left with. I ended up on welfare when my child was 3 even though I had tried to not go that route. I stuffed these memories for 30 years. Finally, 2 years ago the dam busted and I broke down sobbing, and have been flooded with the truth that I could no longer deny. I lost my career, my self respect, my pride of service, my innocence and so many other things that I had hoped for. I will never be the same. I still have the nightmares. I am on all kinds of medications just to keep some shred of sanity.

I finally am in an MST support group and working on healing. I’m not there yet. But I am doing a lot of work on it. My hope in writing my story is to some day be able to be healed enough to help active service women to know what to look for and not fall into the trap I did. I hope that trainees are getting educated, both men and women and would like to be a part of that education, so that I could recoup the pride of service that I have lost. Until then, I march on . . .