Amplified Stories: Call Rape What It Is

Amplified Stories: Call Rape What It Is

AMPLIFIED STORIES is a platform created by KCSARC in order to amplify the voices of survivors of sexual violence. Shared experiences hold the power to validate, heal, and change. The post below was submitted by a survivor who gave KCSARC permission to share their story.

This post contains a story of sexual violence. If at any time, you feel unsafe, need support, or need to talk, please call our 24-Hour Resource Line: 1.888.99.VOICE (1.888.998.6423).

I was beaten and later raped by a fellow shipmate while I was serving in the United States Coast Guard. I reported the rape to a Chief (E7). He was the highest-ranking person at the 28-person small boat station. He adamantly refused to follow Coast Guard protocols and took it upon himself to "investigate" the rape.

The Chief said that since we were such a small station and did not have a "holding cell" that he would put me in the janitorial closet. He claims that this was for my own safety.  

He eventually let me out of the closet and he called my rapist and me into his office. We were instructed to stand behind his office while we each took turns giving our side of the story. Even though I had physical injuries and bruises, the Chief felt it was all a misunderstanding. The Chief decided it would be in the best interest of our small boat station if we could all "just get along." The Chief said that my rapist and I must "work out our differences" and ordered us to clean out an isolated area of the station—the attic—as some sort of team building exercise. 

Early on in my journey of healing, the counselor that the Coast Guard required me to see, called my rape “being taken advantage of.”

His choice of words minimized my experience.
People take advantage of a sunny day by having a picnic.
People take advantage of toilet paper on sale and stock up.
I was brutally raped by a man that planned it all out and knew exactly what he was doing. 
My rape was a violent hate crime.  Call it by what it is: RAPE.

I eventually was transferred out of my small boat station to a larger Coast Guard station in another state. I was made to believe that this larger unit has all the support that I would need to help me heal from the rape. It was not long before finding out that there was no one there to help me.

The reason for my transfer was not kept confidential. Everyone at my new unit knew I was there because I reported a rape at my small boat station. Coast Guard members were instructed to stay away from me or else they too would be found “in a position of being accused of rape.”

I was ostracized. I was a young Coast Guardswomen, new to the Coast Guard, new to a city and alone to deal with the trauma of my rape. It was a frightening time.

One day, I was walking to the barracks for lunch. A group of Coast Guardsmen cornered me and attempted to rip off my uniform. This incident happened on base, during a work day and we were all in uniform. As the group was attacking me, I was crying, yelling, and pushing them away. Thankfully, another Coast Guardsman that was passing by intervened and just by his voice and presence the group stepped back and that gave me the opportunity to escape.

After I had left the Coast Guard, the bystander was able to locate me on social media to tell me his side of the story. He said that he immediately went to CGIS and my victim advocate to report what happened. He was told to “forget what he saw” and that he should not get involved in the investigation. If he chose to advocate for me any further, his career would be on the line.

The so-called support that the Coast Guard has promised turned out to be folks that were more interested in keeping the public image of the Coast Guard in a positive light than ensuring justice for me. They pointed fingers at me. They gaslighted me. My words, my truth would be twisted to fit their narrative. The Coast Guard took every opportunity they could to tell me, and everyone else, that I was “crazy” or “lying.”

If they could convince everyone that I was at fault for being raped (or that I am lying about it), they can all proceed to spit out the lies claiming that they have a “zero-tolerance policy” and still protect my wrong-doers. They protected the Chief at my small boat station that mishandled my initial investigation. The years that he gave to the Coast Guard, as well as training and money that the Coast Guard has invested in him up to that point, was far more important than my justice.

I was an E3 and a woman. I was disposable. I did not matter.  

In the Coast Guard, perception is the reality. They can print out colorful posters warning us against sexual assault, require anti-sexual assault training, and claim that they take all allegations seriously, but that is nothing more than a show.

It is naive to think that after how they treated me that they have the best interest of a rape survivor in mind.  They do not. The one Coast Guardsman that tried his best to stand up for me had his career threatened. The rest that witnessed the retaliation that I experienced daily could justify what they saw (and even contributed to) because the command falsely made me out to be that I was at fault (or lying and they could be next).

I had zero chance of getting support to heal or a chance at justice.  After I got out of the Coast Guard and attempted to sue the military, the military lawyers were successfully able to argue in civilian court that my rape was an occupational hazard. That court ruling speaks far more than any training where the Coast Guard alleges that they care about survivors like me.

If at any time, you feel unsafe, need support, or need to talk, please call our 24-Hour Resource Line: 1.888.99.VOICE (1.888.998.6423).


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