Jason’s Story

Jason’s Story

I served in the Marine Corps from 2001 to 2003. My Gunny and Chief Warrant Officer would often find me to embarrass me in front of my peers. I was a big guy and had on-again, off-again issues with my weight.

While in CAX in 29 Palms California, my uncle passed away and I was not able to pay my respects per the decision of the Gunny and Chief Warrant Officer, who prevented me from being at the funeral. That evening after work, I had a few too many drinks at the Warriors Club and bowling alley. On orders from the Gunny and Chief Warrant Officer, my peers in the unit transported me back to the barracks in a Humvee. At that time, unit members were also ordered to disrobe me and shower me. I was in tears and attempted to resist. I pleaded with them to leave me be and not to put their hands on me.

I pleaded to be treated like a human being.

Some of the members of my unit thought being ordered to disrobe and shower me was odd and refused to do so. They, like myself, believed I was a grown man and wanted to sleep it off. They thought I could have taken care of myself in the morning, and I agreed, but the Gunny and the Chief Warrant Officer wanted to punish me.

Several of my unit members and I did not feel it was appropriate to shower me without my consent. They voiced their opinions, and the superiors instead threatened them with non-judicial punishment and Article 15s. Against my wishes and theirs, they were forced along with other members to restrain me, disrobe me, shower me, and then clothe me. I tried to get them off of me. They were too strong. There were too many of them. As the Gunny and Chief Warrant Officer watched and laughed, I could do nothing but be embarrassed and ashamed as grown men washed me against my will. I think it was very inappropriate to force me to be bathed and force them to bathe a man, nude against his wishes.

After the incident, not only was I ridiculed for months through name-calling from my superiors and fellow Marines, but I was also not allowed to go on a trip that I had paid for and was never reimbursed. I was made to clean the restrooms for 72 hours straight while the others went on leave, and then I was dispatched to the rogue unit to spend days at a time in a tent.

After the incident, the individuals involved spoke to me and explained things that happened and helped me piece together the incident. They, like myself, had been embarrassed and afraid to bring it up to higher-ups for fear of retribution. This incident has led to nightmares and instances where I feel I am back in the shower, being forced against my will to be showered by other people. I wake up in cold sweats and have trouble falling and staying asleep. I have difficulty concentrating and focusing on objectives.

I was physically and sexually harassed and taken advantage of by the people who promised to protect me – to fight side by side with me in combat and risk their lives, as I risked mine. I have been diagnosed with PTSD due to this traumatic incident that also included being sexual harassed and am currently going through treatment.

This situation led me to be forced to go to an alcohol training facility, since I had consumed alcohol on the night of the incident. I completed the course easily because I had never had an issue with alcohol. I made the mistake of drinking that one night, and it led to my General Under Honorable discharge, possibly changing the whole course of my career.

I can no longer take showers due to recent recollections of this event.

I want to tell my story because I don’t want others to have to go through the same thing. I want young people in the military, who may face similar actions by people in power above them, to know that they don’t have to submit. They don’t have to be afraid and can tell somebody without fearing retribution because it is the right thing to do. No one should be treated this way. No one should be forced to take their clothes off.

This is my story, and I hope it will help you deal with yours. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, and get help from the people in your unit who share your experience. We all need to ensure that we look out for one another and the other brave men and women who choose to fight to protect our freedoms in this country.