In today’s post, I’m going to talk about when I was sexually assaulted, and it wasn’t by my ex-husband. I’m not going to go into specific details because I just wrote it all out and was sick to my stomach thinking about people I know and other victims having to read that awful, sickening event. I deleted it and rewrote this whole thing. I thought I’d healed from this, but honestly, it was awful to relive the details. I’m writing about this because DVP’s abuse worsened because of this event.
I’m not weak, and I “don’t have something wrong with me”. I was just in a bad situation, and didn’t know how to get out of it. It is not my fault. I hope those who read this don’t think that I have “issues”, or that I attract a “certain type” of guy. I think I’ve come out of this the best way I could, which is why I’m here typing this: to help others.
Four months after we moved to Big City, I was getting really discouraged with how my life was going. I hated working retail, and had just started as a bank teller, which I also didn’t like too much. I had applied for many Universities and Colleges in Big City, and got accepted, but couldn’t afford them. Since I had grown to love the military community through the times I was on base with DVP and his friends, the idea began to swim around in my head to join.
During one particularly intense blizzard, I put on some of DVP’s extra military gear to stay warm. We went out to help shovel out cars that were trapped in the snow. People assumed I was in the military because of the camouflage snow suit I was wearing and thanked us for our service, and were glad military members would help. It was a good feeling. I looked at myself in the mirror and imagined myself wearing the uniform and imagined (a bit incorrectly) about what boot camp would be like. I decided to wait to talk to a recruiter for two weeks, to allow myself to ponder about whether I should enlist, and to be sure I was doing it for the right reasons (not just to wear the uniform or gain recognition). After further research on military life, I decided that serving would allow me to make a good income and receive tuition assistance for school, two things that we were struggling with.
By the end of the month, I swore an oath to serve my country. I went through Basic Military Training (BMT) otherwise known as boot camp, and went on to technical school to learn how to do my job. Tomorrow I will touch more on these experiences because DVP displayed abusive tactics during these, but, today I want to focus on how he handled the sexual assault.
Technical School, or Tech School as we call it, is a lot like living on a college campus with all freshmen. Most of the trainees there are fresh out of high school, and still pretty immature. I was in my early twenties, and there were still a group of older trainees that enlisted later in life, but the majority were young. We had to live in dorms, go to school every day, do organized Physical Training (PT), etc. It was a good experience… for the first half of it.
The ratio of men to women is something like 25:1(possibly higher than that) for my particular career field. So, if you are a female Crew Chief, you get a lot of attention at school. I became good friends with another girl (I’m going to call her VT for Victim Two), and we hung out every day. Eventually, VT and I began to hang out with a group of guys on the weekends.
One night, our group of friends were out at dinner trying to decide what to do for the evening. None but one of us were of the legal drinking age, yet the goal was trying to figure out a way we could get alcohol and find a place to drink it. The one person of age was eventually influenced by two of the guys to buy us alcohol. The whole time we had this conversation, I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I knew that it didn’t sound like a good idea, for many reasons. One, I was engaged and didn’t want to drink with other guys I hardly knew. Two, I was underage and just beginning my military career. I didn’t want to risk getting paperwork or getting kicked out for underage drinking.
I voiced my concerns and just asked them to drop me off on the military base on their way to get alcohol. They ignored my comment and ushered us out the door to the car. I told VT that I didn’t want to go, and she said it would be fun, to not worry about it. But, still I worried. Everyone went inside Wal-Mart to buy the alcohol, but I stayed behind to try and call DVP. I couldn’t reach him. His phone was off (later I’d find out it was because he was at the casino losing my hard-earned money I’d saved from BMT). I was hoping I could ask his advice on what to do. I called multiple times, left multiple messages, but to no avail. When the group got back in the car, I asked them again to take me back, and they said I was being a party-pooper, and that I should just enjoy a few drinks.
The thought came to my mind to call a taxi, but I had never had to use one before and didn’t know how. With all the constant pressure to join them, I convinced myself that it was just a few drinks and I would make them take me back before it got too late.
Before this night, the guys would flirt with us a bit, but nothing inappropriate. They seemed like good friends, but honestly, I missed a ton of warning signs that I’ll get to later. They served us each a drink that must have had something in it because after just one drink, we were both highly intoxicated to the point of near passing out.
All I’m going to say about what happened is that it involved two of the guys and us two girls. When I woke up, I ran out to the car, which was unlocked, but didn’t have the keys. I tried to call DVP but he still wouldn’t answer. I just sat in the car and cried. When they did come out to the car, they took us back to base and acted like nothing happened. VT and I went to the chow hall to eat, and decided we weren’t going to report it, in fear for getting in trouble for underage drinking (which in the end we didn’t get in trouble for).
Before I go on to how DVP handled this, I want to explain a few things. First, one of the guys had complained on the way to get alcohol that he was currently being investigated for another sexual assault with a different victim. He was so convincing and charming, that we believed he must be innocent. That was another reason why I was nervous about joining them that night. Another sign was that one of the guys was very flirty with a lot of girls, including a Military Training Leader, like a drill instructor during boot camp but during school. And she flirted back with him! I’m telling you, he was very, very charming. The fact that they wouldn’t take me back to base was a very, very clear sign that something bad was about to happen. I should have done everything in my power to make back on base. I could have called a friend, or a taxi. I could have called the police. Hindsight is 20/20, and I was scared. But, if you ever get in this situation, do all you can to leave.
Part of the reason why I think I hung out with these guys although I could see that they were degrading women, was because I had such a low self esteem from the abuse with DVP that I really liked the attention I got from these guys. Like I said, they were very charming. I felt “good” around them.
When I told DVP about what happened the next day, he was furious. He broke up with me. He told me to start looking for a place to live because he wasn’t letting me stay with him. He told me that I cheated on him, that I was a whore. He threatened to call my parents as soon as he got off the phone to tell them about their slut daughter. He told me I’d be all alone in Big City, without any friends and family, and he’d make sure his family didn’t help me.
I can’t begin to describe how alone I felt. I had just experienced something so awful, and felt like I couldn’t tell my parents because I didn’t think they’d understand. The only person I felt I could confide in was DVP and he didn’t want anything to do with me.
The next day, he told me he’d stay with me if I did certain sexual acts with him. He said he’d bought tickets to fly out that weekend. One of the horrible things he wanted me to do was have a threesome with the other victim. THIS DID NOT HAPPEN, but the fact that he would even demand this is just awful.
He told me that he went over to one of his old girlfriend’s house to have sex with her to get even, but he was “such a good person” and could never hurt me like I had just hurt him, so he just kissed her.
When he flew out, he made me wear his bomber jacket with his name and squadron patches the whole time he was there so “everyone knows who you belong to”.
He threatened the guys who assaulted me, said he’d beat them and they better not be anywhere around or he’d find them. They called the cops on him, but he got off the hook.
We eventually got passed what happened, but every once in awhile he’d bring it up in fights. This incident happened five years ago, and he brought it up constantly, the last time being the last fight we had before I was granted the protective order.
Everything he did in reaction to this horrible event was emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. Although a lot of women don’t experience sexual assault like this, many experience traumatic events outside of their relationship before their abuser. When they bring up something from your past and use it against you, it’s abuse. Withholding emotional support, blackmailing, and threats are abuse. Even though you may be married to him, making you do sexual acts you are not comfortable with is still sexual abuse/assault.
Eventually I and VT reported the assault and testified at a trial against these perpetrators. One of the guys that assaulted me was convicted of sexual assault, served 5 years in jail, and got dishonorably discharged. The other guy, however, only was convicted of underage drinking and still serves in the military, because there wasn’t enough evidence and he a had a good lawyer. Does this mean he’s innocent? No. It’s easy to beat yourself up when abuser’s get away with what they’ve done. That does not mean you are at fault. I truly believe God will hold them accountable for their actions one day, even when justice fails.
Thank you all again for your support. It’s only been a short time since I started this blog and already I am so glad I did. I’m glad I am able to reach out to so many people about abuse and I hope I am helping to save lives.