My Duty to Speak. Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma silence no longer.

According to the Department of Defense, they have a total of 3230 reported rapes in the military for fiscal year 2009 or roughly a rape is reported every four hours. According to experts from the Department of Defense, the Military Rape Crisis Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs many more rape cases go unreported or are under reported perhaps making Military Sexual Trauma the least reported crime committed against American citizens.

We can look at statistics but it does not give us the full picture. Yes, 3230 reported rapes in the military but what is the story behind each of those rapes. Survivors now have a chance to share their stories.

Sarah from the United States Marine Corps reported her command put rank above anything else including ordering her to respect her perpetrator because of his rank:

“My command told me from the beginning to not tell anyone about what happened, “for my own good”. They told me that my safety was “their first concern” and that they would see this through to the end. So they said… In reality, they did everything they could to drag my name through the mud and punish me for having reported it, despite the fact that I was forced to do so!! I was frequently told that I needed to just forget about the incident, and “treat him with the respect his rank deserves!”

John, a United States Coast Guardsman reported witnessing a sexual assault that was retaliation of reporting a rape in her previous unit.

“I saw the woman surrounded by the men crying telling them to leave her alone. They were calling her a “crazy, lying whore” and telling her that she will pay for “snitching on their friend” and one said that “you are hot, I’ll love to rape you too”. I made my presence noticed by asking what is going on here and soon all the men backed off and acted like they were not doing anything wrong. They greeted me and left. The woman, her uniform ripped up and her in tears ran off the opposite direction.  I couldn’t even ask her if she was okay but she was obviously very shaken up.”

When he reported to the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Department of Worklife he says that their response was to keep quiet of what he witnessed or else HIS career could be in jeopardy.

Melissa from the United States Air Force reported a rape against a Colonel. When forensic evidence came back confirming that there was a sexual intercourse her sexual orientation came out and within two weeks she was discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. According to Melissa

“Within two weeks I was being discharged for violation for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Nothing happened to the Colonel. Even if it was consensual as they said that it was, the Colonel was married so charge him for adultery. I was a lower ranking enlisted personnel, charge him with fraternization. Fucking charge him with something. They had no problem discharging me for homosexuality but the heterosexual sex in their opinion was still consensual. He is still in.”

NFM reported that her niece was raped in the Coast Guard. Her command refused to follow policy and have CGIS investigate the allegations. She was forced to continue serving under the alleged perpetrator until she was involuntarily discharged from service. The pain from the rape and betrayal of her command was so severe that the young Coast Guard veteran saw no other way out than to commit suicide. She was found dead by her little sister.The family contacted the Coast Guard Commandant and did not receive a response.

Carri Leigh Goodwin from the United States Marine Corps drank herself to death leaving behind journals filled pages describing  revictimization and abuse that she encountered from her command in the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps still denies the rape allegations.

My Duty to Speak was started by the Executive Director/Founder of the Military Rape Crisis and Coast Guard veteran that reported a rape at Coast Guard Station Burlington, VT. According to this courageous woman:

“I know the pain of betrayal far exceed the physical pain of the assault itself. I know how it feels like to be treated like a criminal  for being a victim. I know how it feels like to lose your career while watching your perpetrator go unpunished. I know how it feels like to walk on base and hear “whore” or “liar” be thrown your way. I know that what I went through in 2006 has been going on for decades and it is still goes on today. I know that I do not want any more of my comrades, my vet-sisters, my shipmates to go through what I went through which is why I am sharing my story.

I am  inviting you all to do so as well. If you are a survivor, a family member, or a service member that witnessed abuse please share your story. Together, with the public knowledge of what is really happening in our military we can put an end to the truculent treatment of Military Sexual Trauma survivors.”

If you are a survivor and want to share your story visit: http://mydutytospeak.com/be-heard/

If you want to read more from Military Sexual Trauma survivors visit: http://mydutytospeak.com

If you want to take action to end the epidemic of sexual assault join the Military Rape Crisis Center or on Facebook.

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