AUTHOR of FORMATION: A Woman’s Memoir of Rape, Rage, and War
I was 21, new to drinking bc I was such a good girl & underage drinking seemed so bad to me. I had had one sexual partner, a long term boyfriend, and although we were broken up, I wasn’t sleeping with anyone at my new base. I felt sex was sacred, at that time. I went out drinking with my friends because that’s what you do in the Army. You drink. Or you go to the strip club and drink. Or stay in the barracks and drink. It doesn’t matter WHERE you are, you drink. Men do this all the time. They’re so allowed to drink and have fun and bond but the second women do it? Oh, then we’ve brought down our own ruin. That night, I drank enough. I told my friends I drank too much and got a ride home. I went back to my barracks. I felt I was being responsible. In retrospect, there was nothing more I could’ve done other than not drink that night, and that’s unfair to suggest since we all drank. To not drink was to not bond and not be a part of the team. My rapist, someone in my unit but whom I didn’t know well, saw I was drunk. I woke up on my stomach with him inside me. I don’t know how he got in my room. I told him I was confused & didn’t know who he was. He didn’t care. He finished, left, the MPs were called and, being young & dumb, I believed justice & truth would win. I was VERY young & dumb.
The things written in the report that should have definitively proven I was raped:
•He told his friends he saw me drunk so he was going to have sex with me. His friends later reported this to the MPs. He specifically said he was targeting me because I was too drunk.
•He lied to the police and said he was never there. When they said they had his DNA, he said it was consensual. That he openly lied never made them question if he was lying, while I never once lied and all they did was call me a liar. •He had scratches & cuts & I had bruises on my body. I must have tried to fight him off at some point. I don’t remember but I’m proud of black out drunk me for trying.
•Rape kit showed vaginal trauma inconsistent with consensual sex Did any of this matter? Not one bit. I had to continue to work beside him for weeks. My commander called me a liar and told the entire unit, in front of him and me, “don’t get drunk then have sex and call it rape in the morning.” He laughed. Everyone laughed. I found out my case was closed when he announced it in front of the entire unit. He stared at my face as he announced it.
I went to the IG. I was told to “move on with my life.” I went to JAG and told “do you really want to ruin this guys life?” I tried to get an appointment with the Sergeant Major. My unit switched it so I only met with my 1st Sergeant, who told me my rapist wasn’t going to deploy with us. I could stay in rear deployment with my rapist or go to Iraq. I went to Iraq. It’s been almost 20 years and I still remember it all so well. I still have severe anxiety & depression. Every story I hear like mine breaks my heart bc nothing has changed in 20 years. It’s all the same. They don’t care about us. The rapist is always more important, more essential, the good soldier, the needed soldier. Why are we so expendable and they’re not? Why do they care so much about rapists and not those of us who loved the military?