Shannon’s Story

Shannon’s Story

My name is Shannon and I kept my rape to myself for over 30 years. The thought that things haven’t come very far in over three decades is truly a sad statement.

Unfortunately, when I entered the army it was the beginning of a brand new era for women in the armed service. We were no longer Women’s Army Corps. We went through basic training with the guys. We were soldiers. I was proud to be one of the first to accomplish this mission. I wanted to be one of those women who showed the world that we, too, could defend our country. I was very proud, determined, and motivated.

After basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, I entered my schooling there also. After finishing that with stride, I was sent on my way to begin my obligation on active duty.

I was sent to Schofield Barracks Hawaii. I was overjoyed. Hawaii…I. was so lucky. No one else was heading in the same direction. I was on my own. I wasn’t worried. I had been trained and prepared for anything. I was assured. My first few days went pretty smoothly. I was placed into the 25th A.G. Company, Administrative services. This was the headquarters for all the big brass. I thought that was pretty cool. Can’t get safer than that.

Before a full week was finished, my life as I knew it was no more, destroyed and never to be seen again. An evening before I retired for bed, I found myself watching a basketball game in the day room on TV. Several guys entered the room and were enjoying the game also. Then, everything went black.

I woke in the morning to my roommate reminding me we had P.T. in 15 minutes. I was naked from the waist down, and I felt like I was in a car wreck or something. I was in serious pain, inside and out. Last I remembered I was watching the game. When did I come up three flights of stairs and disrobe halfway and go to bed? I was bewildered.

As I headed for the P.T. field, I was approached by one of the guys from the night before. He said, “Hey, about last night. Don’t worry about it. You will get over it. We just wanted to welcome you to Schofield Barracks.” Then he snickered, shuffled off, and got into formation to start P.T.

I had so many questions going through my head. We? Who’s we? What welcoming committee was he referring to? Why did I hurt like I did? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: I was raped. I was drugged and gang-raped by men that I was in formation with at that very moment. Which ones were they? How many were there? Why did they do this to me? I did not want to be there. I wanted to run and tell someone, but there was no one to tell and nowhere to go. Even if there were someone to report this to (there wasn’t), what would I say? I was devastated. I felt dirty, used, and scared. I thought, they didn’t even give me a fighting chance. I had no voice, no chance whatsoever. I was broken and I was shamed. I spoke nothing of this to anyone. If I acted like it didn’t happen, then nobody could hurt me. That was my reasoning at 21 years old.

After the rape, I was broken. I felt smaller and even less human than I thought was possible. I contracted an STD. I wanted to scream that I was raped, but I just crawled deeper into the depressive state I had become accustomed to.

I was required to return for several follow-ups with the doctor. I arrived for my last appointment with the doctor, a Major in the Army, who called me to the head of the line and sent me into a room for examination. He had me disrobe and was examining me. It felt odd. With my eyes closed tightly, I tried to take my mind off the examination and think of something else. The doctor was quiet, which was also peculiar to me. I slowly opened my eyes when I noticed that both the doctor’s hands were off the table and something was penetrating my vagina. What I was feeling was his penis inside of me. I screamed, jumped off the table, and grabbed my clothes. As I got dressed, he continued pleasuring himself and ejaculated on the table where I had just been lying. I had been raped again. I hadn’t even been in Hawaii for two months.

I never spoke of this for three decades. It changed me. It wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could do to have prevented it, but I blamed myself. My insecurities and hatred for myself weren’t self-afflicted, but I blamed myself. I was trained to put my life on the line for my fellow soldiers, but when my fellow soldiers took my life from me, I blamed myself.