Barbara’s Story

Barbara’s Story

***Trigger Warning***

Navy

BOOTCAMP

I left for Orlando Florida on January 3, 1987 excited about the next chapter in my life. I had chosen after taking the ASVAB to go to air traffic control school and become an air traffic controller. I had to wait a couple days for my company to fill up. My birthday was the 4th spent with strangers I was already getting to know. Once boot camp started we didn’t have much time to socialize. I enjoyed boot camp although I had my ups and downs. I was great at sit-ups but not so good at push-ups. Several events happened while I was in boot camp. Many had a reaction to one of the inoculations, and another was after going through the gas chamber the next company was in and we were lined up out front of a building that was between us and the chamber exploded. No more memorable moments about boot camp except graduation. Then my parents were there, I was super happy to see them.

They took me to Disney World and we had a great time! I got a Figment in Epcot. We had lunch in France and dinner in Mexico. They left and went home. I followed shortly after it was the beginning of March. I didn’t have to be to my next station in Millington TN for a couple weeks. I went home excited to see everyone kept running around so I could see everybody. Tried to get in as much as I could, went mudding, played some football, went to everyone’s house, some weren’t home, and were on vacation. Then my family and I took a trip to east TN to visit relatives. I took the bus from Knoxville to Millington and got a ride to the base.

A-School

I arrived at the new base March 15 again and had to wait for a class to be full. I made many friends, most of them female. The following Saturday a girl is stabbed to death behind our barracks. She had been raped the previous weekend and reported it. She was killed just to quiet her. Case never solved I’m sure! I continued going to school, PT, and having fun with my new friends. We’d go to a church in Memphis that sent a bus and spend our entire Sunday there. They always had a pitch in to feed us. Plus would go spend time at the NCO Club off base usually on Wednesday for Bible study. Met and became good friends with a woman who took me to a few bars, one in the Memphis mall and the one on base. Once the stereo was down at the bar on the base so having fun we skipped drinking and sang “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” then we sang other songs just had a blast.

After Memorial Weekend in school my grades dropped. I no longer socialized with anyone. About a month later after the second rape I flunk out. I just didn’t care anymore!

MEMORIAL WEEKEND

My friend and I were supposed to go to an Indy 500 party at the Best Western in Millington in room 222. I was waiting for her and just got impatient since I am from Indiana. I was excited and ready to go had on my dress whites after all I hadn’t been there long enough to wear civilian clothes. Back where I live the 500 is huge, celebrated the whole month of May. My friend had been taking her time picking out her outfit, accessories and putting on her makeup so I finally left and told her I’d meet her there. It was Friday afternoon, so I was sure I’d know someone else there since it was people from the base.

Once there I walked to the stairs headed upstairs then down the right side walkway to the last room. I’ve arrived at room 222…what’s going on? Who are these men pushing up against me and pushing me into the room? Once inside there were several men coming towards me. Something’s wrong, this isn’t right, this is supposed to be a 500 party. What’s happening? I am told to strip in shock I stated, “No, not going to happen!” This is the first time I was struck and it was with enough force I saw stars and fell back to the ground. Again they told me to strip again I said no. Again I was struck down this time I was struck several times and passed out. Woke up on the bed naked tied down and spread eagle nowhere to hide. I’ve always been a private person when it came to this being raised catholic. Now they take turns using me for their pleasure: they go in order of rank the officers and MP’s went first then the enlisted. I was so humiliated! Taking pictures of their conquest; I was no longer a person but just an object to be beaten and used and that they did well. First the lieutenant went and cleaned himself up in the bathroom while the Captain is about 5′ 10″ blue eyes and light hair looks blonde with bleached streaks in it with a stocky build. He was a biter, this hurt. Once he goes to wash up the MP’s have their turn sometimes doing me two at a time. They did things to me I didn’t know anything about. One guy stuck his penis in my anus that hurt so bad I passed out. Another stuck his filthy cock in my mouth. I had never! Then the enlisted men all took their turns.

I looked around the room across from the bed I was on. There was a dresser with a tv boombox above it was a picture of a barn. It was a hay barn and I would concentrate on that picture to escape reality and go there to the farm. On the back wall a mirror with lights above it a door to the right inside a toilet and tub. In front of the mirror a countertop sink in the middle with a tray four cups and an ice bucket in the right corner. While I was looking around the room one of the guys had to use the restroom instead he used me! Under the sink a trash can in front a large table with an overhead light. On this wall there was another country picture. The bed had two bedside tables and two wall lights. In front of the window on the other side of the bed was a smaller table with a overhead light on the table ashtrays officers sat over here. The bigger table on the on the other side mainly MP’s sat there beer cans everywhere ashtrays on that table and sink also they played a lot of cards on the big table.

If I’m thirsty I’m given urine to drink. Later when I’m hungry it’s even worse. I have a choice: their feces or mine. Didn’t even know that was a thing all I have to say is gross. I’m not even human anymore! While they go out and get fast food and order pizza and eat right in front of me.

At this point not only is my spirit broken and there is no fight left in me. I’ve all but disappeared now I just lie there emotionless. One of the MP’s didn’t get off and that made him very irate. They left me naked uncovered and continued the party around me.

People came and went, no one said anything or even attempted to save me or change the events taking place. Around midnight the irate MP came back to have his way with me again; this time he couldn’t achieve an erection. So he took his sidearm and shoved it into my most personal spaces as hard as he could. Oh, awe oh my God what will they come up with next the pain. I am bleeding profusely. In a lot of pain, I pray for death “Oh God why can’t you bring me home I’m done it’s over” sobbing as unconsciousness envelops me. I lay there like a party favor for all to see. Others join in my torture taking pictures and doing whatever they can think of to me.

The following morning two more officers arrived and they did a change of command like this was totally normal. The torture continued as people came in and out of the room. I would think someone would say something tell someone why am I not getting rescued? I’m not Job; I’ve sinned. Please send someone, anyone to come save me. I was confused for a while. It was the first time I’ve ever heard of women doing women so I had no idea how it works. After this I’ll know, not the way anyone should find out about homosexuality. This is a great way to develop prejudices, learning through force and fear.

Next a kind-hearted gentleman came in he seen what was going on. I guess he felt sorry for me. He immediately covered me, then went to the bathroom, took the ice bucket, filled it with hot water, brought out soap and washcloths and a towel came and started cleaning me up. He went from head to toe. This is the first kindness I’ve been shown; he melted my heart. I was starting to feel again. Until I hear, rape her! Rape her! One of the MP’s holding his gun on the nice guy said rape her or… He did as he was told. They took pictures to ensure he kept his mouth shut.

The rest of the day went as before people came and went and whoever wanted to could have me. Around 5p the alcohol ran out so the guys came up with a way to make money so they could buy more alcohol. They sold me for $2.00 a lay. At this point the officers wanted no part of that and left. Leaving only the MP’s and enlisted, the party got rougher! I’m gone; I no longer exist. To find out you are worth so little my heart was broken, not just my will to live.

The next day is Sunday we don’t check onto base until Tuesday so Sunday was another day of torture. Monday afternoon the last customer was so large, I felt as if I ripped. After him a couple of the guys picked me up and threw me over the railing… I barely made it into the pool below. My breasts, thighs and the tops of my feet were scraped. The pool both hurt and felt good. The cool water was soothing to my overused parts yet the open injuries hurt.

The police were called, don’t know by whom. I thought it was almost over and breathing a sigh of relief; however, I was pulled from the pool and shuffled from room to room hiding me from the police. Finally I landed in one of the girls I knew from my barracks room with her boyfriend thinking for sure she’ll believe me, and it’s over now. No luck! She started berating me immediately. I wanted to take a shower and put on clothes. She refused to let me take a shower like I would contaminate it or something. The room I was previously in they were kicked out for rowdy behavior.

One of the guys on his way by the room dropped off all there was left of my uniform. The skirt and shirt. I was finally able to put on at least a skirt and shirt, and for the first time my body has been covered since Friday. The gal from my barracks continued to berate me telling me how I set women back in the Navy by my actions. She wouldn’t listen, no one would. What’s the use? It’s just your word against officers, MP’s…then who do you tell or even if you report it who do you report it to? You go above everyone’s head and they will not see you. You will be told to go through the chain of command.

Later there’s a knock on the door. It’s a gentleman asking if he can have me. She says yes, take her, she’s trash anyway. They walked me around to a Volkswagen Beetle barefoot as I no longer have any under garments, shoes, purse, or cover. There were four of them; they put me in the back seat and pushed me to the floor. All I can think is here we go again! Will I live through this? Is it really ever going to end?

I pretended to have a seizure to see if I could get them to stop. The guys in the back seat freaked out and didn’t want any part of me anymore. It’s working! He is turning onto the recreation side of the base. When pulling in you see the movie theater to the right of it a baseball field behind it is the golf course and beyond it is stables and horse trails. They pulled up behind the baseball field then got me out of the car and started to march me to the dugout; I pretended to collapse and have another seizure that still had no effect on the MP’s in the front seat; they just barked out orders to the other two to hold me down. They did as told again they have their way with me and I am naked. After the two finished they decided I needed more and fucked me with their sidearm not as hard as the first guy but it hurt just the same and again I bled and passed out.

Woke up it was dark, I didn’t see my clothes right away. I found them on home base. Again I got dressed, I saw the footbridge leading to the barracks side of the base. Walking across barefoot with only a skirt and shirt on I knew I was going to be reprimanded for being out of uniform plus I had no identification. They never reprimanded me but they did verify my identity no one ever asked what happened. My friend never showed up! Was I set up? Needless to say, I never spoke to her again.

Afterwards

Checking into the base I was never stopped or reprimanded and I had no identification! However, they did verify my identification. They just shrugged their shoulders and signed me in. Didn’t ask one question. I thought that was strange, does no one care anymore? I cried all the way back to the barracks. Once back to the barracks, I was checked in again. No one asked what happened or are you okay? I went to my room and grabbed soap, shampoo, conditioner, and any other cleaner I could find in my locker. I went into the shower where I cried and scrubbed, screamed and yelled collapsed yet no one came. I continued to scrub. Finally I left the shower I no longer talk to anyone; I’ve stopped calling home. I jump at every noise or shadow…I’m drinking just to cope.

My barracks commanders got ahold of some of the pictures. Instead of asking for an explanation they just automatically assume and further degrade me telling me how awful I am and how single handedly I took women in the Navy back at least 40 years. Then they came up with the idea I would go to the male barracks next door and apologize to their commander.

I did as I was told. To my surprise and shock the commander next door was involved in the weekend from Hell. He accepted the apology but made a schedule with my commanders for me to get some classes on how to act with males…however it was rape by appointment.

After a week, the commander got scared and thought I was going to tell. So to teach me a lesson and keep my mouth closed he got some of the guys from his barracks to rape me. They did this time on the golf course in a sand trap. Again I take the walk of shame over the footbridge only this time I’m looking for a way to end it. Damn the fence goes all the way up to the cap. I was sure I was going to jump into the traffic below. They had put that up a couple years ago due to recruits committing suicide. Well go back and repeat the previous process.

Now I’m drinking all the time. I’ve flunked out of school. I just plain old don’t care anymore; I’m broken! At this point if I’m asked for sex I just say yes it’s far easier to give it away than to go through all that.

I hate to say this but I both loved and hated when I wasn’t being abused by them for I knew someone else was. Whenever I hated it and I knew someone else was most likely going through a similar torture, I would feel guilty. I had already been through it. They couldn’t take anymore from me except my life and that would be a blessing. So sometimes I wish I was the only one and everyone else was safe! They had the perfect set up going on. New young recruits officers and MP’s wanting to do the same thing formed a pack. Like wolves, they fed on the young unprepared kids 18, 19, and 20 both male and female more female than male. Only did one at a time so no one could tell about anyone else.

It was always the recruit against the commanders/officers and MP’s if it was reported at all… if you report it life really gets tough if you don’t get killed. Some committed suicide two males and three females I believe. That’s really high for a base that small. This is probably one of the reasons the Base closed three years later. Sometimes the male to female ratio was way off and it was dangerous or scary to even leave the barracks.

The Hospital

I’m admitted to the military hospital for evaluation for sex addiction and alcoholism. In the interviews for sex addiction they would ask questions I wasn’t ready or comfortable answering so I totally made up answers. Then they put me in a circle of people and had all of them reaching for me.

Next I get visited by one of the MP’s to ensure I’m not talking. He takes me onto the construction side of my floor and the other side of the building’s last room beds are already in it. Here we go again! I just thank God it’s not the one that likes to use his pistol. I was freaking out.

After this I hid, and didn’t go back to the therapist or therapy. My hiding place was on the construction side of my floor under the nurses desk. I would curl up under there with my radio, headphones, pillow, water, and a blanket. This was my safe place, a place I could breathe and not be scared like I am everywhere else. I would return for medication and change of shift. One day I overslept and they eventually found my hideout. I have never felt safe again!

Back at the Base

Now I’m at the base drinking morning, noon and night. I flunked out of school. Eventually I went to detox. I was discharged to a rehab facility in Indianapolis Indiana once back from detox. It was another week before I was discharged and left for rehab. Oh and get this the officer doing my discharge was no other than the ring leader! Well let’s just say he got one more before I left.

I am so scared I can’t even sign my name right, misspelling it seven different ways. That’s hard to do. My name is too easy: Barbara. He told me no matter what I’d never be able to get help from the military for anything and I better not tell anything because if I do… He left that up to my imagination. I still talk to no one and stay to myself jump at every sound and shadow. When going over the discharge honorable personality other physical and mental conditions—personality disorder is what my discharge stated. I was told I would never be able to get any help or assistance through the military of any kind.

Rehab

Being pregnant and going through rehab without letting anyone know then hiding the fact I’m not taking any medication for it would hurt the baby. Being catholic, abortion wasn’t an option. When I arrived at rehab they were going to put me through detox again but I told them already been through it and on ani abuse so they took me to the rehab on Coldspring Rd. I was given the only private room as I was the only female. That didn’t go over well with everyone. I spoke to no one; stayed in sight of the nurses at all times.

The first night I curled up and tried sleeping in the bottom of the wardrobe. I was soon told I can’t sleep there so I moved and slept underneath the bed with my bum in the corner so no one could get to my private area. Once they found me they told me I have to sleep on top of the bed. So I did in a fetal position on a pillow butt in the corner.

The other patients there constantly picked at me for being so young and female. Others just flirted with me. I tried staying to myself and not associating with anyone as much as possible in rehab. Finally, I am discharged from the rehab, too embarrassed and not yet ready to face my family. I go to a friends.

This is a medical facility with nurses and other medical staff supposed to be watching you; how could they miss so many cries for help? At least, done an investigation, sleeping in the bottom of the wardrobe, then under the bed… that would certainly raise red flags for me!

I was so scared I told no one until last year and just told my mother, brother and husband September 2021 they had told me I would get no help and I and whoever I told would go to Leavenworth. I was petrified and had nightmares of seals coming out of sky lights. I stopped living and shut down and isolated myself. My husband was a friend of my brothers so it’s not like I went out to find him. I just told him in September also. Now my PTSD is so bad I’m on a lot of medication. Started going to a civilian counselor then when in crisis I called the hotline. That’s when I found out they lied to me because I was transferred to a veteran counselor. Now I’m really upset. I was lied to. I’ve held it in and suffered for 33 years and I didn’t have to. Then they are fighting for disability. I haven’t been able to work since September 2019. As bad as it was and that was my chosen career I never really functioned after to hold a good paying job.