What Really Happens When a Rape is Reported in the Military?

I am not a Amy Schumer fan by any stretch of the imagination especially after she sold herself out to the ‘feminists’ of today. She caved to the political pressure of the ‘women’s movement’ and lost my respect big time. Unfortunately, the movement has become one of all that matters is women and we don’t give a damn what men think. That’s where I draw the line and take a stand for human rights because I do give a damn about men. Although to Schumer’s credit, she nailed this sketch ‘A Very Realistic Military Game‘ on Comedy Central. Once you report a crime in the military, it is the beginning of the end of your career as you know it. It plagues and follows you. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t work hard enough, you just can’t drink enough, you just can’t run enough to escape the looming cloud of being ‘that girl’ after reporting a crime in the US military. This is the very reason it took me two years to report the crimes. I knew reporting would screw up my career and throw it off the track I was destined for. I totally feel robbed of a career that I loved and I wish none of this crap had ever happened. I wish there was some way I could have prevented it. But there wasn’t. I simply went to work.

Here’s what happened when I ‘reported crimes in the military’:

  1. I am not talking about the rape/sexual assaults again. Click here for history.
  2. Senior NCO observed distressed E-4; shared experiences; mandated reporting.
  3. Reported 4 individuals & crimes to Commander; deemed sexual assault.
  4. Recruiter (E-7) moved to another state after learning of report, no jurisdiction.
  5. Technical school instructor (E-6) was active duty, no jurisdiction.
  6. Commander asked me to write statements on the other E-6 and E-7 (supervisor)
  7. Asked Commander to transfer me somewhere else during investigation; granted.
  8. Commander informed the accused of their rights and charges.
  9. Met with Equal Employment Opportunity Office; shared experiences again.
  10. Met with Prosecutor; shared experiences again; discussed criminal MO
  11. Commander informed me he could only investigate on Guard weekends
  12. Commander investigated; questioned accused, witnesses, took statements.
  13. Went to rape crisis center because zero services available in 1998.
  14. Attended rape counseling group, attended counseling & psychiatry.
  15. Defense Attorney sent letter and called me; never responded.
  16. During investigation, perpetrator’s friend attacked me at local dance club.
  17. Attempted to press charges but civilian prosecutor deemed ‘bar room brawl’.
  18. Reported attack to Commander; no jurisdiction, no consequences.
  19. 2 Administrative Hearings Scheduled for March 1999 at Headquarters.
  20. Continued seeking emotional support for scheduled Administrative Hearings.
  21. Day before court, Commander calls to see if I would agree to a plea deal.
  22. Informed both had over 18 years of services (so in protected class)
  23. E-6 would be kicked out of Maine Air National Guard (honorably).
  24. E-7 would be knocked down to E-6, lose full-time Superintendent position, and be forced to retire at twenty years; would received E-7 pay upon retirement
  25. I agreed to the plea deal to make it all go away so I could go back to work.
  26. Plea form referred to sexual assault as sexual harassment (it was that too)
  27. Signing the plea deal meant that I could go back to work at the squadron.
  28. Signing the plea deal meant the facts of the case not a matter of public record.
  29. Signing the plea deal meant that the charges were withdrawn and the accusation went away as did the problems; therefore it didn’t need to be reported to DoD.
  30. Returned to the squadron, immediately faced professional retaliation from Chain of Command; demoted from positions, isolated, denied training on equipment.
  31. No expedited transfer option then so transferred to another squadron in 2001 to escape the escalating professional retaliation, mistreatment, & abuse.
  32. Old Chain of Command told new Chain of Command I was ‘troublemaker’.
  33. Was told ‘women never make it in the satellite communications workcenter’
  34. 9/11 occurred and my father died unexpectedly a couple days later.
  35. STOP LOSS initiated for critical career fields like satellite communications.
  36. Faced opposition to flourishing as an NCO, was instead minimized & belittled.
  37. Did not want to endure another military investigation ever again, put up with it.
  38. Received a Letter of Reprimand (LOR) confirming suspicions of gender bias.
  39. Went to JAG with LOR; referred to Equal Employment Opportunity office.
  40. EEO determined that LOR was a form of gender discrimination.
  41. EEO referred the case back to the Commander who gave me 2 options.
  42. Commander offered informal or formal investigation; I chose informal.
  43. Commander investigated the incidents to determine guilt/innocence.
  44. My allegations ‘could not be substantiated’ but a transfer was granted.
  45. Transferred to new squadron; changed career fields; PTSD began to develop.
  46. In 2006, learned sexual assault victims could get help at the VA.
  47. Immediately went to Veterans Affairs to ask for help; no insurance.
  48. Reported getting counseling at VA and taking medications to medical.
  49. Red flagged as non deployable and asked to leave squadron immediately.
  50. Commander informed me I needed a doctor’s note before I could return.
  51. Got doctor’s note and returned back to work; began deteriorating.
  52. Losing confidentiality & sharing experiences again contributed to paranoia.
  53. Tasked as a squadron to do exercise, inspection, and deploy to Iraq.
  54. Supervisor got in my face & backed me into a corner during exercise.
  55. Contributed to a panic attack; not able to deal with an aggressive man.
  56. Removed gas mask so I could breathe; got pulled from exercise by medical.
  57. Medical observed that I was distressed, told them I wanted to disappear.
  58. Sent to Keesler Air Force Base to be assessed for suicide; was not suicidal.
  59. Keesler doctor belittled me; accused me of trying to get out of work.
  60. I did not take kindly to his belittling attitude and asked him to leave.
  61. A Chaplain was sent to see me; he validated my Post Traumatic Stress.
  62. Commander put me on ‘suicide watch’ for 2 days until they could fly me home.
  63. Commander flew me home earlier than originally scheduled.
  64. Continued to be treated at the Department of Veteran Affairs.
  65. Medical squadron was going to initiate a medical discharge.
  66. Requested medical retirement since injuries occurred in the line of duty.
  67. Shocked that I would lose my career because of what someone else did.
  68. Shocked that a medical retirement was not a given and had to fight for it.
  69. Shocked I lost my career while perpetrators retired with full military benefits.
  70. Security clearance investigation initiated; asked for VA medical records.
  71. Initially I gave permission but then rescinded the release of information.
  72. I gave up in defeat because I was not willing to release any more information about my private medical records. I had already provided everything to medical, the Commander, the unit security manager, my supervisor, etc. At this point my head was spinning with who knew what and how it would impact my career.
  73. Walked away in defeat and asked for assistance from Senator because Commander began retaliating after I had words with my supervisor about his actions when he got in my face. He in effect ended my career because instead of smashing his face in like I wanted to (disrespect to a NCO and possible dishonorable discharge), I walked away, went into the bathroom, and cried. I had had enough of aggressive supervisors forcing themselves on me or getting in my face in an attempt to intimidate me.
  74. It’s unfortunate that the men who damaged me the most were the ones in my Chain of Command; they had the power to collude and make me out to be anything they wanted; I didn’t stand a chance.
  75. I am thankful to my peers for being so good to me and I understand completely why they were silent bystanders; they would have been next.
  76. I am thankful to my first and second Commander for believing me despite the fact that they had to find a way to make the crimes go away to preserve their careers; I grapple with the outcome of the investigations but do not hold them personally responsible for wanting to save their careers; I wanted that too.
  77. And to my last Commander who decided that it was okay for my supervisor to get in my face yet punishes me for getting upset about it, you can go to hell; You pushed a veteran who was already riddled with compounded PTSD to the brink of suicide by dropping the ball; I needed your assistance getting out the door not your resistance; but thanks to you, I got more then what I even bargained for.
  78. My Senator got the plane tickets reimbursed for the trip to Dover Air Force Base so I could go to a medical retirement appointment; as a result, you couldn’t punish me with a Letter of Reprimand or an Article 15 because the government credit card was not paid; thanks for not helping us with getting it paid.
  79. And I also learned that from the time that I was deemed unfit for service by the National Guard until the day that my medical retirement kicked in, I should have been paid; I got all of it in back pay when in fact I should have been collecting it when it was due to me instead of going to food pantries because no money.
  80. In the end justice was served and I got the medical retirement I deserved. I worked my ass off for the military from Day 1. My career got side tracked and railroaded because I had to deal with people who abused their authority.
  81. Until I joined the military, I had no idea what the modus operandi of a criminal was. I learned the hard way and unfortunately they were in the very Chain of Command that was supposed to protect me. It sucked being one of the only females out in the field. The very policies put in place to ‘protect’ me actually isolated me and put me in more danger. I thought women in the military was a thing, like we actually were equal. I found out they were not prepared for me at all, like right down to not having any steal toe boots in my size. WTF.
  82. Despite the toxic enlisted leadership, I still loved my jobs and wanted to serve in the US Air Force. I still wanted to move forward with a career so I could be the leadership I wish I had from my enlisted Chain of Commands. They sucked.

If I had to do it all over again, I would report these people again. Three of the four enlisted NCOs had known histories of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and sexual assault. Victims did come forward after I reported. The only people who knew everything were the EEO office, Commander, and prosecutor. They believed me and that empowered me. Despite the skirting of actual justice in an effort to make a problem go away, I was vindicated because I was the one who was allowed to return to the squadron. Unfortunately, others had preconceived notions of me and had already formed their judgements before I returned. I was no longer part of the team. I went from hero to zero overnight simply because I reported felony crimes and didn’t want anyone to know the details. Everyone involved in an investigation at a small squadron should have a gag order and should not be allowed to talk about the case in an effort to protect the confidentiality of the accused and the accuser. I wanted this dealt with in confidence and as quietly as possible so it had minimal impact on the future of my career. That did not happen. I was judged anyways and made to feel like I was the bad guy because they lost their jobs. They are lucky that’s all they lost. They are lucky they are not on a sex offender registry list after what they did to me and others. I hope they are enjoying their full military retirement benefits and their free care at the VA.

9 thoughts on “What Really Happens When a Rape is Reported in the Military?

  1. Thank you for posting so much detail. I hope and pray it helps people understand MST and PTSD. I volunteer for K9s for Warriors who provide service dogs for veterans with PTSD, TBI and MST. I’ve done a lot of reading about MST in order to be a better ambassador for them; your authentic writing helps me. As someone who loves our military, thank you for your service and my deepest apologies for what happened and how our military failed you. I can only pray that this will get better in the future. (I will repost your blog on my own blog to help spread understanding.) Blessings.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. When I went through my CoC to report my MST, no one believed me. My report isn’t even on my records so I don’t even know if the VA will help me. It happened all the way back in 2006 and it still haunts me. I do tend to ramble a bit so I will leave it at this.
    Thank you for being a brave soul and I am sorry the military let you down. I hear you, I believe you, you matter.

  3. SHORT VERSION: Long struggle to get professional legal assistance. Family, friends, associates helped in search, but we only received rejection after rejection. My children were repeatedly molested by military member, I reported it to COC who ordered me to “Shut-up! Stop talking!” I even provided documented proof along with other authorities records & proof. I was physically abused, sexually assaulted & severely retaliated against. DoD blocked further involvement from state officials. DoD further retaliated via numerous false serious criminal charges/record; threats, lies, blocking, withholding military & med records, etc. Reached out to hundreds of lawyers, advocates, & other groups & organizations but after they review our evidence & other professional records.. Nothing. Their insults, condescending comments, sarcasm & doubts take a sharp u-turn. But instead of taking/making a case; providing assistance/support; advocating in any way or helping, we are met with silence while the retaliation, blocking & furthering damages continue. No one cares. Wish I had NEVER joined the military. They did what they promised to do to me & my family… Ruined our lives.

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