17 DEC 02: — Just want to add my name to the list of female veterans that suffered sexual discrimination/harassment and a rape while in the Navy, but unfortunately I did not take the Petty Officer to Mass. I have not been able to get any type of compensation for what happened to me, but it is good to read that some females in each branch of the military services are receiving some type of compensation. I’ve lost hope in receiving decent/fair treatment at our local VA hospital because they were too worried about insignificant things than trying to help me change for the better. When I complained to the Veteran’s Affairs online, they in turn sent the e-mail to my doctors and they just ridiculed me for asking for better treatment. When another female veteran tried to help me, I was also ridiculed by my previous counselor for seeking help and they got the other woman out of the group I was in. There is too much mind control in the recent group sessions I have been in at the VA. Drugging veterans up seems to cover up and make the therapist’s job easier and less of a hassle for them.
10 May 02: “Remembering to Forget” — I have read the entries here with a very heavy heart. I must tell my story, briefly, to let you all know that you are not alone. I joined the US Army at the age of 17, after my advanced early graduation from high school at the age of 16 and two semesters of college. I endured much more in the Army than I had ever bargained for. I was the pretty, prissy, homecoming queen that no one ever thought would join the army. Aside from my cheerleading training, I was not even physically fit for the military. I cried many nights during basic training, but I was a survivor, and determined to make it through. Toward the end of my basic training, we were all given (it was the Christmas season) what was called “Christmas Exodus” leave. I went home to visit my family with such pride and sense of accomplishment that I was almost done…only two weeks remained prior to my graduation. Not to mention the fact that I had been made a ‘squad leader’, which gave me some authority over my peers. I decided to return early, ahead of my squad. When I arrived on base, I was told by the staff duty officer that I was the only female there, and that the only place for me would be in the male barracks or a hotel! Well, I walked out the door with this NCO to head to a hotel. He initially put my bags in the military vehicle, then later moved them into his personal vehicle. I didn’t figure it out until YEARS later. Anyway, we arrived at a little hotel off base and I went to sign in, and the hotel caretaker was very friendly (and later remembered me clearly). I was escorted to my room by the staff duty NCO, who later demanded a reward for his kindness. He pushed me onto the bed and forced himself upon me. I was in such shock, I did not know how to respond. I didn’t know what to do, a young soldier, 17 years old, close to the end of basic training (just barely making it through) and being accosted by a senior NCO. Was it rape? Or was it my duty? I was so confused. When he had ‘done his business’, he sat at the edge of the bed and held his hand in his face and ranted about how this could ruin his career and that I should not tell anybody, but I was just so pretty…and he could not help himself. I did not move until he left. I sat for a few minutes, then called my recruiter…yes, my recruiter!! I told him what had happened, but not to tell anyone, because basic was hard enough already, and I didn’t want any trouble. Well, he didn’t listen, and called my commander. Next thing I knew, the MPs were at my hotel room door to take me to the hospital. I was so in shock, I don’t even recall everything that happened. I do remember that once I was back at my company, I was visited by a JAG officer, who seemed so very supportive. I began to develop stomach cramps and all sorts of pain in my abdominal and back area. In spite of it all, I made it through and went on to AI.
20 Jul 01: “Cover Up of Sex Crimes in the Military” — I grew up in a patriotic family. The thought of serving in the military was as natural as breathing. Today I live with so many conflicting emotions. I hate the military and what it ALLOWS to happen to women. What it condones..and it does condone rape. It if didn’t there wouldn’t be so many cowards and rapist still wearing uniforms. Whenever I see any news item concerning the US stance of condemnation against foreign militaries who assault and rape I could get sick. Why in the hell don’t they clean up the mess in our military before they pound on someone else. Not only is assault and rape tolerated, it is usually covered up by higher authorities. I was even denied access to records about my assault because it would infringe on HIS right to privacy. What about our rights. In the US military victims have no rights; especially if the assailant was senior ranking. I’m so damn tired of fighting the VA I have pretty much resigned myself to the constant pain and suffering of what was left of me when I left the military after 17 years. If I hate the military…I hate the VA more. For a while I thought I was over the wanting to die to end the misery…but my wish to leave has raised it’s ugly head again. I served with pride…I left like a beaten dog…..
20 Jul 01: “Escort Duty” — My first year as an Air Force nurse was very eye opening. I was one of several single female officers (nurse corps) on a Southwestern base in the middle of nowhere in the early 1990s. The Thunderbirds were performing at the upcoming airshow. I had a TDY scheduled for the week before the airshow (a professional conference) and extended it to a 3 day leave in the area to visit friends. My charge nurse (a female) came to me on the shift prior to my departure and asked me to return after the conference and not take leave. The Thunderbirds were to town and needed escorts. They preferred to get these escorts from the medical group, and wanted nurses. I would go to the nicest, most expensive restaurant (an hour away), wear something short, sexy and black and whatever happened – happened. Military uniforms would not be needed but it’s a military function. Just as long as I was entertaining. It would also be a great OPR bullet. This suggestion made me feel dirty and I felt as if the Air Force was asking me to be an prostitute. Later that day I talked to a senior NCO who said while he worked in Staff Development at a AF Medical Center the Thunderbirds representative came to the hospital looking for single good looking female nurses to be escorts. He was lead to believe by his then supervisor it was expected that the female officers sleep with the pilot and it would be ok. After all what goes TDY stays TDY so any adultery on the pilots part is OK, after all they are the crème of the pilot corps. Why would a group of pilots need female escorts? Why is Air Force money being spent on dining officers and escorts when the pilots are probably married and why would the Air Force seek single female nurses? I hear that it’s no longer a practice (escorts duties are open to everyone and escorts must be in uniform) but I have a problem believing gung-ho Thunderbird pilots would want a male escort in uniform and have never seen an ad for escorts prior to an airshow where the Thunderbirds will be performing. I am still sickened when I think of my charge nurse’s request. I am also very glad that none of my single female officer nurse friends accepted this offer. And it’s unsetting when I think that this was and could still be standard practice. How many women and men had their military careers cut short because of adultery and then the Air Force seems to encourage it in the elite Thunderbird pilot corps.
20 Jul 01: “Tragedy” — I am an Army veteran now. [During my time in the service] I was raped and assaulted and nobody did anything. They did some corrupt things and didn’t even counsel me correctly. They covered everything up. They did not believe me. I was harassed repeatedly and everyone thought I was crazy. I was a caring, loving church-going person before I entered the military (and still am), but I was put through hell. Why? I was just standing up for myself. I did not want it to happen to another female, but it did. I am a human being like everyone else. They were trying to blame me for everything. I am not crazy; I was just telling the truth. Nobody wanted to hear it. I was going to retire from the military, but now I don’t think so. I am going to college now with a 3.75 (I had a 3.5 before I quit to join the military). It is sad that the military is still a “man’s world!”
12 May 01: — The postings about rape and harassment brought tears to my eyes. I am no rapist, nor do I know of any in the Army, yet with all the incidents of rape reported here I must have worked with or near a rapist at some time in my 19 year career. That disturbs me. I have been known to tell my co-workers, at least those who feel the need to brag about their infidelity, to keep their stories to themselves – it was not so much a moral issue (although I am against that behavior), but it was a matter of trust. I would tell them that if they were not worthy of the trust of the person with whom they had exchanged vows, then how could I be expected to trust them? Some men didn’t even get my point or see the connection. The disturbing fact is that some of the ‘faithful’ people who had earned my trust may in fact have been rapists. I am in the combat arms field, so I don’t work directly with a lot of women, yet there are some that I do work with a many more filling supporting roles. I haven’t seen a trend regarding harassment of females nor would I tolerate it. I’d like to think that I am not the exception but the norm. Often the discussion of women in the military arises and becomes quite heated, yet these issues are never resolved to anyone’s satisfaction. I am of the opinion that the only problem with women in the military is that many men in the military are too weak to view females as equal co-workers without allowing gender to cloud their judgment. Of course this is not grounds to bar women from various military fields – men simply need to adapt and . . . mature. My heart goes out to the women who have overcome the various forms of harassment, intimidation, and abuse that members of the military have dealt them – and also to those who are still struggling with the effects. Just as there are bad seeds in any society, there are bad seeds in the military – your stories have reminded me just how insidious a problem it is and how conniving and evil people can be.
- -To those of you who have been sexually assaulted, I offer my apologies for the evil that males have done; I pray that you have and are continuing to receive the support of an individual or group with whom you feel comfortable.
– To those of you who have been betrayed or hurt to the point that can no longer ever trust a male – you have my prayers.
– To those who have been driven from promising careers in the military by the actions of males – I mourn your loss as I would mourn the loss of any good service member and I pray that you have found even more joy and fulfillment in another line of work.
– To those of you currently suffering harassment by males I offer the following:
* Mace with marking dye (available at any Wal-Mart or sporting goods store)
* A personal recording device that can be concealed in the pocket of a uniform (preferably one that does not beep when recording starts or stops)
* A second recording device that records all incoming telephone calls too a cassette (these recording devices you can get at any Radio Shack)
* A women’s self defense class (local police departments and women’s groups can recommend instructors), these classes can be taught in less than one day and include a lot more than just punching & kicking, they teach you defensive techniques that include a defensive attitude, voice and eye contact which serve to empower you in all aspects of your life
* My prayers that you endure and overcome the situation
11 May 01: “I Am A Woman in the Combat Arms!” — I joined the reserves when I was 17 Loved it, and I mean loved, would volunteer for other the extra work, would go out in the field (woods) before anyone else and prepare for the night. Some might even call me keener! I decided to join the regular force as an artillery person, ya know the big, BIG guns. And again I loved it I had just moved to my new base, had no friends and was a little scared so some people kinda took me under their wing and took care off me. These were the same people who, not much later on, ended up harassing, me, both sexually and physically. A year and the court case is still going on and it has drawn attention to me, to my name, to my reputation amongst the other troops, to my sex so much that I know longer want to be soldier in the Canadian armed forces, something which at one time I use to love very much. They say it’s getting better, what they mean is we’re telling you less about it now!
9 May 01: “The Life in Times of a Post-Military Woman Who Was Harassed/Raped While in the Army — When I joined the Army, way back then 1978 I was a 21 year old very enthusiastic female who enjoyed the challenges of military life, yeah, basically I liked the outdoors, the training to a degree and the new friends I met. Reality came quickly in an environment where seniors both NCO and Officer simply looked the other way in situations not conducive to military life such as fraternization etc., after all everyone regardless of rank was seemingly engaged in all of this. Drill sergeants flirted and had sex both consensual and not with recruits and so the story begins in basic training. Being a strong minded individual or so I thought I shrugged off my share of flirtations, propositions, and dates, that is until 1991, when a supervisor I had in a very high position continually harassed me nonstop for 2 years and was always propositioning me for sex, always when we were alone in our cubical, yeah I actually had to sit with this man on a daily basis, I worked for him and with him. He was careful NOT to make his remarks when others were around…after all who would believe me? The man was second in command of the USAR command for which I served. I had to travel TDY with him because he always requested me, things got out of hand on a TDY trip to Atlanta where he finally forced his way into my hotel room, which he booked next to his, and he raped me. I had opened my door to go eat dinner in the lounge which is how he entered the room, ultimately, I requested out of the military after 14-15 years of service, because I felt trapped, not only that I was trapped. Who could I tell? Answer: NO ONE and Who was gonna believe me in the environment that existed and probably still exists in the armed forces today? Answer: No One, there were no independents…The IG ,JAG, Bldg administrators all in with each other, and we all know they tell the big man/woman generals only what they want them to know or what they want to hear. Finally, as a result of the past 7 years of denial of the whole thing, my situation mentally could be better. I cant bring myself to do any type of office work anymore. I get depressed sometimes (not a basket case) but feel like it sometimes, like you know something’s just not right but you can’t believe its this wrong something you tried to handle but couldn’t. I have finally contacted a VA rep in Atlanta who sounds very understanding, we haven’t met yet but I have an appointment. Moral of the story…For all of you feeling what I’m feeling, it really is OK to tell, in my case my career is gone but maybe Ill at least get my dignity back. I do feel a little better now, I don’t think Ill be judged by the VA they do seem to care deeply, as for you still in, I don’t know what the climate is today but I hope someday an independent counsel will be set up to evaluate allegations/complaints for AD soldiers and reservist both men/women. I hope they will be able to be heard before the damage is done.
11 Apr 01: DOD PR: Services Move to Lower Instances of Rape in the Ranks — The following represents an American Forces Press Service release relative to a recent presentation on sexual assault in the US Armed Forces. Forwarded by the: The Miles Foundation, Inc.,
Dr. (Lt. Col.) E. Cameron Ritchie said the actual extent of the problem is unknown. One recent study found that 23 percent of women seeking treatment for depression and alcohol abuse through the Department of Veterans Affairs report that they were sexually assaulted while on active duty. Ritchie is the program director for mental health and women’s issues for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. She cautioned that it’s hard to gauge just what this “23 percent” means because it only refers to women seeking treatment and relies on self-reporting. There is no way to verify the accuracy of such reports. Many circumstances make rape and sexual assault particularly hard to prove, Ritchie explained. “Often, it comes down to ‘he said, she said’ with no physical evidence to back it up,” she said. “There may be physical evidence of intercourse, but not of force.” Other difficulties in proving a rape occurred, she said, are that the victims usually know each other, weapons are seldom used, alcohol is a common contributing factor, and the victim’s credibility is at issue.
A common defense in a rape charge is that the sex was consensual. However, according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the code of laws affecting military personnel, consent cannot always be assumed, even if the victim didn’t struggle or scream. Often in a trial, people will say, ‘Well she didn’t scream,’ or ‘She didn’t cry out, so it must be consensual,’” Ritchie said. But this isn’t necessarily true. The UCMJ states, “Consent, however, may not be inferred if resistance would have been futile, where resistance is overcome by threats of death or great bodily harm, or where the victim is unable to resist because of the lack of mental or physical facilities.” Ritchie said a drunk victim can also be considered as lacking mental and physical facilities.
Many circumstances specific to the military environment can reduce the likelihood of a woman coming forward after she’s been assaulted. The military’s rank structure strongly affect whether a woman comes forward. Ritchie said this was a large part of the problem in the 1997 cases at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in which several drill sergeants were eventually convicted of raping trainees. ”These trainees felt the drill sergeants had absolute power over their lives,” Ritchie said. The problem was compounded because the trainees were isolated with the drill sergeants at Edgewood Arsenal, a small training area about 10 miles outside the base. The healthcare providers, chaplains and company command — all people the trainees could have confided in — were on APG. “The trainees needed permission from the drill sergeants to go to Aberdeen,” Ritchie said.
Isolation can also be a contributing factor in the military. Victims are isolated from their families and from pre-military friends, and they may be stationed in remote locations. Often a victim may be one of only a few women in a unit, she said. Because fraternization and adultery are crimes in the military, women who have been raped may also fear they’ll eventually get into trouble if the rapist later claims the sex was consensual, she added. Ritchie said the services are working hard to educate both possible victims on their rights and potential offenders on the consequences of such actions. “I don’t think the military gets enough credit for the things they’re doing to prevent assaults,” she said.
DoD has also increased training to make investigators more sensitive to victims and to make healthcare providers more effective in gathering physical evidence. ”Part of the problem is, we just don’t see this in most military hospitals. On large training installations, they may be fairly adept at completing a rape kit,” Ritchie said. “In a small rural base, they may have no idea what to do.”
The bottom line, she said, is the military takes the issue seriously. “It’s a readiness issue. It’s a medical issue. It’s an issue for all of us,” she said.
21 Mar 01: “Class Action” – I am a 35 year old prior service Army veteran who left the military after a period of sexual abuse that ended with my suicide attempt. My attacker is a married, white senior NCO who continues his career unscathed 6 years after my initial report of the abuse and 5 years after the first substantiated investigation report. I say first because I was forced to go through another investigation a few years later. The Army has promised me reparations, but continually finds ways to prolong this resolution, all under the statement that these things take time. So if the regulations tell you a sexual harassment case should be decided within 120 days of the investigation, why has the Army National Guard kept me on hold for eight years? When I went to Washington DC, November 7, 2000, I was told by the Director, EEO, National Guard Bureau, that this case would receive immediate attention and be handled expeditiously. I went to Washington at my own expense because for five years I couldn’t get a straight answer, and most times, not even a return call. I received a draft letter from the military contact on November 16, 2000, to be signed by General Davis, Chief, National Guard Bureau that was to go to the Army Board of Corrections of Military Records (ABCMR) in which the following is stated: ”This letter constitutes the final administrative action by the National Guard Bureau to provide equitable relief in the discrimination complaint of Ms. (victim) ………….NGB will support the following recommendations:
a. To void (victim’s) original discharge………
b. To grant constructive credit to (victim) for a total of 17yrs of Active duty with appropriate back pay and benefits….
c. To support her application for and approval of early retirement…..
d. To forward her request for ABCMR to consider reimbursement of reasonable attorneys fee.”
In addition to this, I was given the name of technical assistance to prepare paperwork for the ABCMR. He has not only finished the paperwork, but has retired. To date, this letter has not been received and the paperwork cannot go forward without it. The military contact has reported to me that the process has been held up by the legal office. When I contact the legal team, I was told by counsel that this letter went back to the military contact.
My abuser, who as of yet, faces no criminal charges, has been promoted twice since I first reported the abuse in 1994, and when I asks about the criminal charges he faces, I am told it is not my concern. I believe that I am being lied to, and that the hope is that I give up and drop my complaint.
I would like assistance with bringing this case to closure. I want to be able to go into treatment, get well, and work towards being able to function in a male/female work environment. This is what SGM (perpetrator) took from me and what the Army approves of him doing everyday that I am railroaded into believing that some resolution will eventually come and knowing in my heart it won’t. If there is not going to be a resolution in this case, I just want to know and stop holding out hope that my fight hasn’t been for nothing. I have a chronology of events regarding this case to further illustrate the hell I have been put through in an attempt to seek justice.
21 Mar 01: “Sex and Weight Discrimination” — I was in the Navy. Not only did I constantly face harassment for being a woman in a male dominant trade, but also constantly being harassed about my weight. I was not allowed to take the test for advancement. I had to work out everyday. I was denied a medically supervised weight loss treatment because of my rank. Meanwhile I watched men who were overweight get advanced. They got higher evaluations, and did less work. They got offered better schools. Meanwhile I was getting outstanding on my physical tests, and getting 3.8/4.0 on my evaluations in everything except the category where they could punish me for being overweight, military bearing.
9 Mar 01: An Update to the Post on 12 Nov 99 “A Captain Leaves the Army Dental Corps After One Year and Four Months” — I am giving an update from a previous posting. I previously posted my experience as a captain in the Army Dental Corps stationed at Fort X who went through a lot involving mistreatment and harassment for one year and four months. On February 11, 2000, I testified before an IG official and was recorded. My case was submitted and reviewed. On march 2, 2001, I received a letter from my Congressman with a response attached to it from the Army. The investigation was conducted involving all those who gave me a hard time. No one who witnessed what happened to me was questioned. I even received information that my sponsor, who was also a Black female dental officer, had told officials that upon my arrival to Fort X that she contacted me and I never responded to her. That was a blatant lie. All documents which I submitted were brushed off and the results showed that I had no proof. What does this tell us about the military? Everything I testified about was dismissed as if it was all my imagination. I will go public with my story and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the military officials will do whatever possible to cover their butts. I will not stop here and encourage all those who have stories involving harassment, discrimination, etc., to go forward and let America know the real stories.
11 Nov 00: “Discrimination, Harassment, and PTSD:” — I want to tell women who write about their terrible treatment, PTSD, and other serious consequences of the culture we live in that they are not alone, the past is filled with largely silent women who have undergone gross injustices and mistreatment, but that there is, at least, some information out there about it. See my book, “Warriors Without Weapons: The Victimization of Military Women”, by Donna Dean, and “Hornet’s Nest” by Missy Cummings for example.
13 Jun 00: — I was in the Army from 1978 – 1981, and as I read the stories submitted to your website, nothing has changed. I was harassed by the 1SGT and tried to go through the chain of command. Nothing worked and everyone knew. I’ve been wanting to write my thoughts and experiences, as well as other women’s stories too, in order to write a book. People need to know what the REAL military is all about.
7 Apr 00: “Being a Black Naval Officer” — I have been in the navy for 6 1/2 years now and I have not seen a happy moment so far. I am still in the navy because deep down I still believe that there is hope for a successful career. I am a Surface Warfare Officer. My first assignment was on an aircraft carrier. We have what you call “Hail and Farewells” where the new officers are “hailed” and the officers leaving are “farewelled.” Our party was held in the gulf near Du Bi. We were told to travel in two for safety because of the high anti-American crime rate. I was having a great time at the party, until an aviator came up to me and called me a “B—-”. He went on to tell me how I have been here less than one day and have not only spoke to the captain, but have danced with him. If I weren’t civilized, I would have done something to that man. I was so mad that I told the XO, I was leaving with or without a second person. My tour on the carrier continued to be that hard. I watched as new officers come on the bride and pass me in their qualification for their Surface Warfare pin not because I was slow, but because the officers in charged wanted to “show their power over me” per say. I put up with it for two years and finally put my foot down and requested a SWO board with the Capt. I not only passed it, but passed it on the first try much to the chagrin of the officers who were holding me back and to the ones who passed me and had to try for the board a second time. I left the carrier not satisfied with the navy. My second tour was even worst. I will not even go into detail, but I will say that I put my department head and almost the XO and CO on report. Through all my trials, I have kept strong because I have a stronger being on my side, GOD. He has never failed me yet. He has sent people in my path to keep me going when I got discouraged. If it were not for Him, I would not have the faith that I will have a good career someday. God bless.
25 Feb 00: — I was in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years. I was an avionics tech on the CH-53E helicopter. I experienced discrimination because of two reasons (1. I am a black female 2. other females in my unit had already screwed it up for the rest of us who wanted to do our jobs). I had to go to my shop GnySgt. constantly because I wasn’t allowed to do my job, I was sent on working parties instead. The other females in my shop preferred doing as little of their job as possible, so they assumed I was the same way. The males fresh out of school were sent out to the “birds” to work off discrepancies, but I was never sent. I finally figured out how to use my chain of command and requested mast. It of course never left the shop, but it let my superiors know that I meant business. After a long talk with my shop supervisor I was sent to out to work. I had to work twice as hard to gain acceptance in my shop and longer hours. Many days I worked from 0700 to 2100. I of course did not enjoy coming in as day crew and ending up working with night crew, but I wanted to be part of the gang. I eventually was allowed “in the club” after 6 months of hard work, but, was all of that necessary? I knew more than the guys from my class (I was our class leader and graduated highest in our class with a 97 GPA) I had a higher pft than most of the guys in my shop (I never had lower than a 290 in my four years and it was usually a 300!). Most of the guys in my shop were on weight control or mando pt because they had failed their pft! I should have been the one to mistreat them…they weren’t up to my standards. I excelled in my shop and became known as GI Jane. I made Sgt. in 3 years which is good in my field especially for a female. Females had been stopped from going on cross country flights because of an incident that involved 1 female having intercourse with almost every guy on the trip (including officers). I was tested on 1 trip to Key West, Fl. and since there were no problems I was sent on all cross countries after that. I’m out of the Marines now only because I want to finish my electrical engineering degree. This is my last semester in school and I plan on going back to the military as an officer. I know my story is not as bad as the others on the website but I wanted to send it anyway. You control your own destiny, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. If you give up and don’t fight for what you believe in then you never really wanted it and they win. We as women have to stand up and take these “bull headed” men by their “horns”, and let them know that we’re here to stay and if they don’t like it they need to find a new job!