My story is a long one, but the short version is that I was sexually assaulted and sodomized by a 2nd class petty officer at a party at one of our instructor’s homes.
I reported my assault and NCIS did an investigation. After a long investigation, Article 32 hearing and then finally a court-martial, my assailant was given a bad conduct discharge, stripped of his rank and sent to the brig for only one year because the jury got caught talking to each other before deliberations.
The jury made a deal for him, and I was not given any consideration whatsoever. I was raked through the coals. All my classmates and teachers ostracized me. My orders for my ship were canceled, even though other witnesses and roommates were allowed to keep theirs and went to their ships. Neither he nor I were removed from serving at the same command like I thought would happen and found out was protocol. I had to continue working in the same areas as him. I was demoted to working on the cleaning, stripping and waxing the barracks. I went from a captain who was understanding and compassionate to a captain who told me, “If you cannot handle what happened to you at this command, how could you possibly handle living on a ship in my navy?” due to a changing of captains in between Article 32 hearing and actual court martial.
While the court martial was going on, I was brought up on trumped up charges, so they could take me to captain’s mast. All the while, I was not receiving proper care for being a rape victim. I was constantly told that the rape was my fault, should not have been at the party, drinking with them or wearing what I was wearing. At trial, the captain of my command, along with other navy personnel that were in a higher position than myself, frequently buying me beer at our base bar came out. Some of this was caught on camera and reviewed at trial, but none of these other personnel were ever brought up on any charges.
Unable to deal with everything going on, I started drinking more heavily. At my so-called AA meeting that was mandatory as part of my restriction from captain’s mast, we would just go to someone else’s place and drink. I even had a party in my restriction room where the duty drivers drove the alcohol back to base and placed it in my waiting room for us. The party was busted by military police, and I was sent back to captain’s mast.
At captain’s mast, I said I was not receiving the proper counseling due for being a victim of sexual assault and that drinking was my way of dealing with it. The kicker to this whole story is that I was ordered to attend level 1 or 2 alcohol rehabilitation at the base in Maryland or be kicked out of the military immediately. I agreed to attend rehab and went only to find out halfway through that this was the base where my assailant was serving. I literally ate lunch right on the other side of this man. And I was forced to hold an AA meeting with him in attendance. As soon as the rehab was completed, I was booted out of the Navy.
The Navy made me pay back the cash bonus I received and took away my $30,000 college fund that was in my contract. And they took away my Montgomery G.I. Bill for $26,000. On top of that, I cannot receive any Veteran Benefits, Land Board Grants and received an Other Than Honorable discharge as well as non-reenlistment code. My career serving the United States was effectively put to an end. I have a hard time being patriotic to a country that could not stand up for me when I needed it most. I will never let my children serve in the military for fear that the same would happen to them.