Quick, what comes to mind when you think of a janitor closet? Brooms, mops, and other cleaning supplies, right? How about a rape survivor? Would you lock a rape survivor in a janitor closet for reporting a rape? Probably not. What if she was bleeding from the head? Would that make it okay to lock her up in a janitor closet? Well according to one Chief in the United States Coast Guard that is exactly what he did to a rape survivor.
The survivor reports being locked up in a closet while her supervisor conducted an ‘investigation’, need I say that her supervisor drives Coast Guard boats for a living and does not have training to conduct a rape investigation? After this so-called investigation he concluded that it was a ‘misunderstanding’ and forced the alleged rapist and the survivor to clean out an isolated area of the base as they ‘work out their differences’.
The survivor was told by her assigned victim advocate to keep quiet about being locked up in a closet and the way the command handled her rape allegations. The victim advocate justified to the survivor that being locked up in a closet was ‘common procedure’ and the only option since there was not a holding facility on base. Even if there was a holding facility on base you do not automatically throw rape survivors in prison for report!? After holding it in for several years, witnesses who were with her at Station Burlington VT came forward with what they witnessed she is speaking out about gruesome details of what happened after she reported a rape.
Another rape case from 2008 shows that the Coast Guard ignored the rape allegations and forced the young woman out of a career but not without spending months being ostracized by her entire unit and blamed for the rape. The veteran found suicide as the only way out of the pain caused by the rape and the Coast Guard’s response to being raped. Her rape allegations was not the only thing that the Coast Guard ignored, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Robert J. Papp, also ignored numerous phone calls, letters and emails from the family of the survivor and members of the public who are demanding answers on why her rape case was ignored.
Here is another rape case from the Coast Guard. Last week a rape survivor reported having bleach thrown at her by yet another high ranking enlisted personnel, makes you wonder what the Coast Guard fascination with cleaning supplies are? Trying to clean out women within their ranks? Since making her rape public she was kicked out of the Coast Guard this week.
If you are as fed up and disgusted as I am and sure hope you are head over to change.org and sign the petition to members of the Coast Guard and governmental officials demanding better treatment to rape survivors in the Coast Guard. All the initiatives and policies (aka STRONG ACT introduced by Congresswoman Niki Tsongas) as wonderful and great that they are pushing and would be a great resource for the Department of Defense unfortunately the United States Coast Guard, being under the Department of Homeland Security is excluded from all policies, regulations and funding.
Sign the Petition and share it with your friends and family and everyone you know.
Military Rape Crisis Center (started by an Active Duty Coast Guardswoman after she was raped cause the Coast Guard failed in protecting her and others)
For first persons accounts of rape in the military head over to My Duty To Speak