Shawntasia Crawford’s Story

Shawntasia Crawford’s Story

I was a 20 year old, that just wanted to be in the military and be happy. So simple, at least so I thought. My story is a very interesting one, I don’t remember it all and sometimes it bothers me that not only was a part of me was taken, my memory as well. It all started in basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, the week of graduation I became very ill, I am diagnosed with fatigue and dehydration as well as given duty restrictions. I am still sick the day of graduation, but I push through. Instead of going to tech school, I was transferred to med hold to rest for 24 hours, or so I thought. I spent approximately 10 days in med hold and that is where my life was changed forever. I was sexually assaulted, by multiple people and although today, 8 years later I am not able to recollect what happened to me, I give a special thanks to my mother, Regina Jones for keeping all documents, statements and medical records during that time and also a thanks to Protect Our Defenders, with a special thanks to Brigette McCoy who assisted my mother during that trying time.

What I do remember is waking up days later at SAMMC, mental health ward in a jumpsuit labeled “Property of U.S Air Force”, my time there was the worse. I was not treated like an individual who just reported a rape, I was labeled, drugged and neglected. My first diagnosis while being in SAAMC was psychosis, which was leading to an involuntary dismissal from the military. Instead of listening to my story when it was being told during that time, I was labeled as someone whom hallucinated what occurred to me. Not only was I diagnosed with psychosis, I had radiology records come back and indicate that I had a 3 mm module in my brain that was also accompanied with seizure in the brain. I later discovered after an independent examination this was false and I did not have a 3 mm module in my brain nor seizures. While hospitalized instead of performing a rape kit as soon as I arrived, I had one done days later and after I was demanded to take a shower. This again shows the lack of care they had for me, a victim of sexual assault. Instead I was given drugs like Zyprexa which is commonly prescribed for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. My mother requested the discontinuation of these drugs, she was informed my statement of the assault was not valid because I was drugged and it was “sketchy”.
My mother was informed by the intake doctor that I would be medically discharged from the Air Force because I would not talk to anyone, I just wanted to lay down and was not being communicative and in their eyes that was not okay. Nobody thought that I was withdrawn and only wanted to lay down because I was traumatized by being sexually assaulted and given extreme potent drugs that contains plenty of side effect that were given without consideration for what I was trying to communicate to trained medical professionals.

Nobody thought I was hurt, I came to Texas with the hopes to fulfill my dreams and woke up in a nightmare.

I was improperly diagnosed with psychosis, which triggers a series of administrative steps that almost resulted in my removal from the Air Force, and left me incarcerated for 12 days where drugs such as Zyprexa and Ativan were given to me that exacerbated and prolonged my condition. Instead of taken my assault seriously, I was labeled quicker, especially in light of the preceding physical ailments and the fact that I had told several individuals I had been sexually assaulted. It was assumed that my repeated and consistent allegation of sexual assault was considered a false belief rather than taken seriously by the medical staff. I was told I was having a psychotic break with reality and then twisted the facts to meet the assumptions. Instead of being treated like a victim of sexual assault, I was stigmatized as a “crazy person.” Eventually, I was released and was able to finish up my Air Force career until I did not want to anymore.

Although all this happened to me, I am here to tell my story today. In 2013, I was labeled with psychosis, a woman with seizures on the brain and a 3 mm module on the brain and days later, was told it was all a mistake, essentially. I was able to go on and attempt to have the Air Force career I thought I was destined to have. After 6 years, I knew I wasn’t happened. I experience retaliation and depression and although I was warned of these things if I decided to continue my career, I still had hope that the same organization that hurt me in the beginning would not hurt me in the end. I was wrong, but I am blessed to be here to tell my story.