Anonymous Story

Anonymous Story

I have been assaulted twice in my career. Once in 2003 and once in 2011.

The first assault was the easiest now looking back…Five Army guys cornered me in their barracks at Fort Lewis, tied me up, held firearms to my head, and held knives to my throat and genitals. I was bruised and broken in so many ways. When the friend I was visiting came and got me, she said I had it coming. I walked away from her then until I got to a guard shack, where I asked for a cab to take me the four hours north to Whidbey Island. My SDO (Squadron Duty Officer) was protective when I got to the hangar. He held my hand through the whole horrific process. He made sure I got a SAVI (Sexual Assault Victim Intervention) representative. He gave statements, and he made sure the command was supporting me 100%. However, none of that mattered.  The assailants’ First Sergeant made a statement, calling me a liar and that his “boys” were nowhere near the barracks that night because they were in his basement shooting pool and drinking beer. At that point, the case died, and so did a part of my soul.

Over the years, I learned to cope, deal, and move on. I had a successful career in the Navy. I kept my clearance. Things were going well, until I got to my next sea duty, a ship out of Norfolk. I started experiencing the worst night terrors and hallucinations I’d ever had. I was placed on LIMDU (Limited Duty) and began a rigorous therapy regimen. Just as I was getting to the point where I could sleep and go out on my own, I ran into two friends from the Sub community. They’d just gotten back from a long haul and had money to burn and booze to drink. So of course, I fell right in line with these old pals. Hours later, I was screaming and crying for them to stop. I was left alone in the end, lying on blood-soaked sheets in a hotel room in Virginia Beach, wondering how on earth this could happen to me again. Now I’m getting med boarded out. Nothing happened to the assailants. I can’t leave the house on my own. I can barely stand to be near service members. My work life is an abject misery, and it takes everything I’ve got not to become more of a pill-popper or to turn to alcohol. I’ve attempted suicide twice. Now, the only thing I look forward to is getting out and getting as far away from the US Navy as possible. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to function again. All I know is that the military is the cause of every heartache, pain, and suffering I have endured in 12 years. It makes me weep even more that I still have so many fantastic memories, and I just didn’t know how to combine them together.

Update: I’ve now been medically retired from service for almost three years. I’m rated at 60% disabled and am under consideration for an increase. I require a service dog for my PTSD, anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia as well as seven daily psychotropic medications. I have required weekly therapy for the past four years. I did become a pill popper and a major drinker for a few months following my medical retirement, but was able to stop myself when I saw the pain it caused my family. Also, I’ve been unable to attain a job that pays more than $9/hour.

On the plus note, I’ve gotten married (my husband is a sexual assault advocate), begun riding motorcycles, am about to finish my B.S. degree, been accepted into a Masters and following Doctorate program, and am about to move overseas for a while.

I’ve been able to come to embrace all my good memories for the most part, and try to keep them separate from the horrors inflicted upon me. They are all a part of my story, but they do not make up the whole of who I am.