My name is Jill, and I am a survivor of military sexual assault. I was sexually assaulted by my squad leader in June of 2000. I was traveling in an advanced party for annual training, in which I was the only female. We were stuck in Chicago because of weather, and we stayed at a Holiday Inn for the night. My squad leader said that he would room with me so that none of the guys would mess with me. He sexually assaulted me that night. When he was finished, I managed to get into the bathroom and locked the door. I then slept in the bathtub.
Initially I did not report because my assailant was an E-6, I was in the military police, and I did not think anyone would believe me. I was the only female in a unit of “good ole boys.” A “buck” sergeant (E-5) noticed that I was acting differently; quiet and reserved, the next day as we finally got out of Chicago on our way to Fort McCoy. That sergeant was also a highway patrolman back home. He came over and hugged me. He was trying to get me to tell him what happened, but I was ashamed.
My assailant did not think he did anything wrong. He just thought I was being shy. I had an entire floor to myself in the barracks once we got there. The First Sergeant and our supply sergeant had the top floor and they made sure that I had a key to the barracks. He tried repeatedly to get me alone after the assault, and told me to unlock my door. I did not oblige.
A year later, I found out that my squad leader stole my underwear to claim a bet of $500 of who would “nail” me first. Even though I did not report the assault, there was a suspicion because of his claim to the bet and because of my withdrawn behavior. The sergeant had guessed what happened and decided to get me away from the E-6. Because of what the other sergeant told my First Sergeant, I was transferred to another platoon, and he was told to stay away. They couldn’t do anything to him until I reported it.
I learned after my unit moved to another armory in our state that my assailant’s wife turned him in for pedophilia-related crimes. I was told that he “would not see the light of day again.” I do not feel the need to prosecute him for my assault, now, because he is incarcerated and is being punished for other sexual crimes. However, I want to share my story to change the treatment of survivors of sexual assault in the military.