It was July of 2017, I had been in the Navy for about a year and a half and was 20 years old. At this time, I was recently advanced to E4 and thought my life and career was thriving. One evening, I was invited to a Game of Thrones watch party with some of my coworkers. I drove myself to the apartment of an E5 in my division and upon arrival, noticed that a man that I had previously dated for about a month earlier that year was also there, we’ll call him “D.” I didn’t really think anything dangerous of this because we had ended things on good terms. At the beginning of the night, I was drinking a few beers and we were playing card and drinking games, something fairly typical in the Navy. Although the matter of what I was wearing has no relevance or reasoning as to what happened to me, it sets the tone for this next fact; I had been wearing a white wife beater (with no bra underneath) and jeans. D had been taking photos and videos of me, primarily of my breasts, and sending them to his friends on snapchat. At the time, I wasn’t a very confrontational person, and nervously laughed it off. As the night progressed, D had started to place beers in front of me as soon as I’d finished the one prior. Those beers quickly turned to shots and mixed drinks. At one point, he invited me into the kitchen with him while he made me another. D had grabbed me and began kissing me, whispering “I miss us.” I will admit, I was drunk and made that statement back. When we sat down at the table, he was holding my hand under the table and playing footsies with me.
The end of the party was nearing, and I was highly intoxicated; so much so that I threw up for probably 20-30 minutes before taking myself to the living room where I laid down on chaise type chair. I was starting to fall asleep when I felt a body on top of me, it was D. Again, I was very intoxicated and could barely hold my head up. D began kissing and touching me all over my body while starting to remove my clothes, before literally dragging my limp body to the couch to lay me down. Once I was on the couch, I began to go in and out of consciousness. I woke up one time to my pants and underwear around my ankles. Each time I gained consciousness, D was either inserting his fingers/tongue in me, or kissing me. At one point, I fell asleep and he woke me by smacking my face saying “baby, wake up, wake up.” I remember saying “I just want to go back to base; I just want to go back to base.” At this time, D had removed himself from me, saying “I’m sorry” and sat down in the recliner next to the couch. I laid there, in complete silence and fear, until I felt as though D had finally fallen asleep. Once I felt I could leave safely, I quickly ran to my purse in the other room and gathered my belongings to leave.
I left the apartment and ran to my car, trying to call my friends to see if I could maybe get a ride back to base. No one answered and I had to make the decision to leave, to get myself out of the dangerous situation I was in. I called my best friend who lived in Washington State to at least talk to me while I was driving home. I made it on base and immediately went to a friend’s barracks room who had been at the party. Once I was at his door, I knocked hysterically until he answered. He spoke to my friend on the phone and then made the decision to take me to the naval hospital in Portsmouth. Once at the hospital, my blood alcohol content was taken- I later found out it was 0.234, this is probably an hour to an hour and a half after the assault. The hospital informed me that I was too intoxicated to consent to a rape kit and would have to wait hours until I could so. At this point, I just wanted to go home, so I declined and just made a restricted report instead.
When Monday came around, I didn’t realize how seeing D would impact me- I was experiencing a racing heart and incredible fear and anxiety. I spoke to a medical professional about it later that week and decided to take my report unrestricted in order to get better and be separated from D. I was removed from the division and put into a different building within the command and a military protection order was put into place. The investigation with NCIS had begun. I explained what happened to me that night and when asked how I got back to base, I panicked for fear of being charged with a DUI and said that one of the friends that I had tried to contact was the one who drove me home. This would later be denied by said friend, as it should have been, and I recanted my initial statement and told the truth to set the record straight. At this point, I told nothing but the truth, knowing that it wouldn’t help my case if I didn’t. The investigation would then go on for almost two years. For almost a year, I was given the same, vague update from the legal team that my case was either at forensics or it was still under investigation. My lawyer had even told me that the prosecutor really thought we had a strong case and was going to push for a court martial. I was very anxious, but also excited, for this to be over and for justice to be served for what I know had been done.
In November 2018, my lawyer had informed me that the legal team was prepared for an Article 32 hearing the week after Thanksgiving. That week quickly approached and I received news that the hearing would not be happening due to more information needing to be gathered. The next date I was told the hearing would be happening was sometime in March of 2019; again the hearing did not happen and I was not informed until after it was supposed to happen; mid-April 2019 was when the next hearing was to be supposedly scheduled. The week before the hearing, I received an email from my lawyer saying that someone from my old division that both D and I had worked with before, had made a statement that I told them the Monday following the assault that “I regretted sleeping with D and didn’t want my boyfriend to find out.” Also, that I “was an untruthful person and to not be trusted.” There are a few things wrong with this statement because, (1) I did not have a boyfriend at the time of the assault and (2) the “informant” and I were not close enough friends (or even acquaintances) for me to even feel comfortable to tell them such a personal thing. In addition to that statement, I was informed that the friend that took me to hospital changed his statement upon speaking to the defense, even after telling NCIS and the legal counsel the same statement twice. These two people were scheduled to speak at the Article 32 hearing.
With this new information added to the case, the prosecution and RLSO decided to pull the Article 32 hearing and not move forward with the case for court martial. Their reasoning, as it was explained to me, was that they “didn’t think they were going to win with these two ‘character statements’ and my statement change to NCIS”, therefore they didn’t want to lose in a court martial. After nearly two years of an investigation and being told by the legal team that my case was “strong” and we were expected to win, it was all just, done. There was nothing left for me and no legal justice would be rewarded; all based off of gossip and slander.