***This is just ONE of the many sexual issues I have dealt with over the years and why I didn’t report them. Anything after this went unreported. This set the standard.***
I had just returned to work from maternity leave. I had only been back a few weeks when this occurred…
Around August of 1993
I was sitting in, what was called the smoking area outside reading. I was between “runs” (jobs) when a TSgt. joined me in the smoking area. I acknowledged him and he acknowledged me. I returned to reading. This TSgt. grabbed a large cooler and slid it over towards me and sat on it placing us knee to knee. I looked at him with a question on my lips when his hand landed on my leg and slid up my thigh. Midway he grabbed hold. The TSgt. then began to tell me that in the very near future HE was going to be taking over my shift as the supervisor and wanted to offer me some job “perks.” He would lighten my workload and even cut my week by a day “IF” I agreed to meet him every Wednesday at a local hotel.
Now, neither of us were aware that we weren’t completely alone. Behind us was a lattice wall that enclosed the air conditioning unit for our shop. Behind that wall stood another TSgt. who was checking the unit for maintenance. We only became aware of him when I became very aggressive towards the man whose hand was still clutching my thigh. As I jumped up and began to defend myself the second TSgt. burst into the smoking area and pulled me out and proceeded escort a fighting, angry, loud, me to his office. The journey from smoking area to office was littered with TSgt. #2 barking orders and shouts and me being manhandled.
I was placed in a chair and TSgt. #2 ordered me to “stay put.” Closing the door as they left, I broke down. I heard muffled shouts and footsteps. A multitude of voices floated around the doorway with very little making it’s way in. I was scared, confused, and beyond pissed.
When the door finally opened I was greeted by my Chief and military police. Well, shit. I had to make a statement about what had occurred. Not by choice. You see, I wasn’t given a choice. Because it was witnessed by someone who was willing to report the sexual misconduct I had to give my statement. I wouldn’t be alone because, at some point in the hell that broke loose, my husband was called. Seeing the rage on his face didn’t help. At all. Nope.
So, not only did I have to give a statement, but I had to do so in front of him. I had to tell the MP’s about the smoking area incident and any other that TSgt. had made, like, telling me in front of a dozen soldiers that he wanted to lick me like an ice cream cone. Yeah, that happened. Do you know what the dozen men did? They chuckled uncomfortably, turned around and walked out. Know what I did? Stood there gobsmacked at the words spilling from his mouth. I couldn’t get out of there quick enough.
My husband had to listen to all the horrible things that were said and done to me. The reality was and is- I was a female in a male-dominated career field. Not only was I active duty but I was in a job that had only opened up to women a few years earlier. Split-tails weren’t as welcome at most would think.
Wanna know what happened after I made my statement…? I WAS INVESTIGATED. Questions were asked about ME. Who has SHE slept with? Did SHE make advances towards the men in the squadron? Is SHE a drinker? Did SHE tell dirty jokes…? On and on and on…
Wanna know what happened to the TSGT. who did this to me? N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
He continued to work right down the hall. He didn’t get that supervisor job over my shift but he was put in charge of a different department. I got to see him day in and day out until I received orders elsewhere.
I thought, Thank, God! I get to get away from all this crap!”
I was wrong. You see, that TSgt. knew people at my new duty station and decided to call them and let them know a “troublemaker” was coming. My first week at the new job I was called in and counseled on not making false accusation.
“You mean the false claims that were witnessed by TSgt.—–?”
“You mean the report that was made by TSgt.—-, where I was then forced to make a statement?”
“Oh, did you not know that TSgt.—– is a MAN?”
That’s right. A man witnessed the sexual misconduct by another man and attempted to protect me. Little did he know that he would fail.
From that point forward, I kept my mouth shut. I stayed clear of others, did my job, and eventually found I would be better off in the civilian world. I loved being in the service. I do not regret that choice. It’s just sad that my dream of service was destroyed by men.
My trust has been forever broken by men who do not deserve my time.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.