Military Sexual Trauma

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Three times.

But it will always be the first that hurt me the most.

I was out with friends. Admittedly very drunk. We were having fun. The guys with us were both engaged. They were safe. We were all officers. We know better. We treat each other better.

I lay in the bed, he crawls in next to me and starts to touch me. I move him away. He becomes more aggressive. I’m too drunk to move, but I remember it all clearly. He pulls my pants off and starts touching me more. I push his head back. He comes back in. He holds me down and says, “I’ve wanted this since we met.” I keep asking him, “What about Emily [his fiancee]?” He thrusts as he holds my legs up, when I try to move away and back, he keeps my legs up on his shoulders and holds my shoulders down. He’s so strong and heavy on my limp body. I turn my head to the left, where our other drunk friend is sleeping on the other bed- hard. I can’t make a sound. I’m so embarrassed. I don’t want anyone to know, but I can’t believe all of my training and I’m letting it happen to me. He stays asleep as Jim is thrusting more, then pulls out to ejaculate- “I can’t have a baby with you, but you are so much fun. God, you’re sexy.” He falls to the right, almost immediately to sleep.

I lay there. What just happened? Why did I let him do this to me? Why didn’t I wake up Matt? Why couldn’t I move, make a noise?

I sit up, put my clothes back on, still a little drunk. I have to get to my car. Shit, I drove them here last night… how will they make it back to base? Taxi, they can take the taxi. They are officers. They can figure it out.

I stumble out of the hotel, Matt wakes up to see me leave hastily, asks if I’m okay, I reply, “Of course, just getting breakfast.”

What was I thinking? Why didn’t I just tell him what happened?! Why didn’t I say, “Your friend just raped me. I’m leaving.”

I have to work with Jim and Matt for another 4 months during this training cycle. Jim receives word that he is going to become a Combat Engineer Officer. I find out I’m going to an engineer unit. I pray to God he doesn’t go, too. Thankfully he doesn’t receive the same information.

I’m NEVER drinking that much again (I did).

Second time.

The night before graduation, I was force fed alcohol and was drugged. I found solace in a room of who I thought was also my friend. He became vulnerable with me about how he isn’t sure that he’ll be a good Marine Officer. I empathize with him and we talk. He becomes handsy. He pushes me on his bed, next to the desk we were sitting at. It happens again. His strength holds me down. “I’m not allowed to have sex in the barracks”, I think to myself, “I’ll get in trouble if I yell out”, I think again. I let it happen. I just laid there. He enjoys himself. I just laid there. Will was drunk and asleep in the bed in the same room. I couldn’t cry out. I couldn’t. Simon falls asleep on top of me, half way. He didn’t even ejaculate. “Good, you don’t deserve it”, I think. I struggle to get him off of me without waking him. I put myself together and fall into the hallway, where no one noticed me. I walk outside for some air. I was met with Jim, who approached me asking if he raped me. “Did I rape you? Tell me please.. I can’t live with myself. Emily and I aren’t doing so well” I told him to leave me alone and tried to get back inside. He grabbed my wrist, someone else walked up and asked if everything was okay. I said I was just about to go inside. Across from my room, my commander was drunk, hitting on my roommate, and telling “war stories”. I slipped into my room and fell into my bed, wishing to be gone.

4 years later, I am overwhelmed with fear that Jim was going to attend the course that I now instructed and facilitated. I ask the unit victim advocate what I should do- he said to talk to the Chaplain. The Chaplain listened to me and comforted me while I relived the trauma I never really healed from but rather just pressed down into my soul. He said, “What would you tell one of your Marines to do in this situation?” “Well, I would hope that she would report it. Injustice should be trusted to the system. The system is there to take care of her. I would be there to take care of her.” “It sounds like you answered your question.” I go to my commander and explain what happened, 4 years ago, and not under his command. I am cold in my delivery, logical, less emotional, guarded. I told him if Jim comes to this course, I would have to request a month of leave as I wouldn’t feel safe coming to work knowing he was around.

Heading to NCIS, alone, I report all three (the third I didn’t tell you about) cases of sexual assault. They have me come in the next week to directly contact Jim and Simon. I call them through their system to prevent them from knowing my current phone number.

I talk to Simon first. He is nearly out of the Marine Corps- he finally caught his senses, but just started with a new job in San Francisco. We catch up, then I tell him that my therapist thought it was a good idea that I contact him to tell him directly that he raped me and that it has traumatized me since. The call goes silent. He asks if I am sure, that he thought it was consensual. I confirmed it was not. He apologizes and didn’t realize that it was what it was. That he never meant to hurt me. I lose any idea of what to say… how do you end a conversation like this? I find a way to do so, we hang up. NCIS contacts his new employer to note that he is now under investigation. No evidence was found, though, just my story. I thought that was okay. I didn’t need “justice” in the American way- lock him up… for what? I wanted him to apologize. I received that. It felt good.

I call Jim next. We catch up. He sounds happy, but tells me his wife, Emily, has recently discussed divorce with him. He has been very depressed and has considered leaving the Marine Corps, but it is all he has at this point that is consistent. I feel bad. “Why do I feel bad?” I think to myself. He’s driving home from work. I tell him the same thing I told Simon- direct, “You raped me.” The call goes silent. He shouts expletives. He is aghast. I try to keep talking. I become uncomfortable. The NCIS Agent tries to help me with what to say next. He’s not allowed to coach me, though, so I try to avoid saying what he wants me to say. I try to be empathetic to Jim. He is starting to cry. I ask him to pull over, he says he does. He’s sitting on the side of the highway in North Carolina, talking on the phone with someone who just told him he raped her 4 years ago. He’s broken. He asks me what he should do, he apologizes profusely, he admits that he didn’t think I wanted to sleep with him that night but that he just wanted to so badly. He asks me if he should tell his wife, I don’t have an answer for him. I find a way to close the conversation. I ask the Agent if he can contact Jim’s command so they know where he is and what he is dealing with. “Why do I care?” I ask myself again.

That was that. I almost went to Court-Martial for Jim’s case. They didn’t have a lot of evidence and I had since moved onto a new command- one of the first women to be in an Infantry Regiment. I couldn’t ask for time off to go to a court-martial for a sexual assault that happened now 5 years ago. I felt terrible about my decision to report it all. I ruined Jim’s career. He was held back for promotion, removed from his position, and there was a protection order against him for me. After they (and I) chose to drop charges, it took him another year to promote (three years behind now at this point). According to his records, he gained a lot of weight and did not do so well. He wasn’t selected for promotion with my class to Major. He probably has a separation date. I was selected for promotion and an interview for a position at the White House. I didn’t get the position, and I wonder to this day if it is because I had three active NCIS investigations open at the same time. They all say the same thing, “Use of alcohol was involved” “victim was incapacitated due to alcohol use”. Did this report now also indirectly hurt my ability to have these higher positions? I’ll never know because they’ll never tell me. I’m still treated with respect, even after I talked to my new commander, an infantry officer, about it all. I felt so vulnerable during the investigations. I was questioned about my actions and why I didn’t call out. As logical as I am, I didn’t have an answer for it. My vocal chords didn’t work. They were as afraid as I was- of embarrassment, of retaliation, of the system.

The first one hurts me the most. The other two just happened, but the first one hurt the most. I broke him. I broke his marriage, his career, his life. Now, 5 years removed from the report itself, 9 from the incident… I am re-traumatized sometimes but not as often as before. If anything, I am still working through how the reporting affected him. And I guess I’m just not sure why I am still hung up on that. He took my sexual freedom from me. Whenever my husband lifts my legs, I have to intentionally push memories from my mind. At least I don’t immediately start crying anymore.

I decided to post this because some military victims don’t want to trust the system. As a legal officer, I trust the system, but the individuals can be something else to consider. We aren’t perfect, but I was lucky to have two commanders at two different commands who did not judge me further for this happening to me.

Now, as I consider also resigning from the Marine Corps for other individual issues, it saddens me to see that so many others who go through this aren’t treated as fairly as I was. It hurts my heart so deeply. It also hurts me, though, that our suspects aren’t treated like human anymore. Even when someone is guilty of an event like sexual assault, they are still humans who deserve to be treated with dignity. My heart might be too big for this world some days, but part of the healing process for me is accepting that Jim and Simon are not perfect, that though they both hurt me, they will live with this as I will live with it.

Thank you for reading my story. It is not the first time I’ve told it, but it is the first time I’ve written it down in a public manner.

I hope every story teller here finds their Shiloh, their resting place.


Join the Conversation

64 comments

  1. Ana Espiritu Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,

    I want to say thank you for trusting and sharing your story with us. I feel that anyone should have the right to have fun and have a good night drinking. However, what happened to you, you aren’t to blame for the consumption you drank that night, you felt that you were surrounded by colleagues in a safe environment. You are not at fault that this experience happened because you did not know that there was going to be a risk of being a victim of rape. No one should make you feel less or not enough because of what you experience, having to use your voice took a lot of bravery on your part. Having to report all cases, didn’t make you the bad person, it helps you found the voice you needed to fight the justice that the majority of these types of victims are in your shoes would be happy that you’ve shared this story. Others may be dealing with a similar story that you’ve shared and yet your making a difference by speaking up. Know that your voice is important and if it took you that long to speak up, after years, it’s okay because you receive the apology and the trust of your commander, which gave you the strength to feel free and to share your story with us. Continue healing throughout your journey, we hope to hear from you again. Always know that you are important to us and you’re always welcome to come back and share here at AVFTI.

    Sending you Support and Love,
    Ana

  2. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story. AVFTI is a safe space. It takes courage to share and we appreciate you being willing to share. I’m so sorry to hear about what the other officer did to you. Please try and remember that what happened was not in any way your fault. Your body went into survival mode and it’s normal to not be able to speak during the time. It’s not your fault for not being able to stop him. Not at all. I’m glad you were able to report all 3 cases. You deserve justice and for people to know. You didn’t break him and you didn’t ruin his marriage. He did that. It’s only his fault. Thank you for sharing.

    Stay strong,
    T

  3. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi shiloh,
    You didn’t deserve for these things to happen to you, and none of it was your fault. It is difficult to think about the past and wonder what we could have or should have done. Fight or flight (in response to traumatic events) is mentioned often, but there is also the freeze response, or tonic immobility. Our body freezes up in an attempt to protect us, and it’s not a voluntary decision. I have heard that freezing up is common when someone is too close to the attacker to flee or when putting up a fight exacerbates the situation. Freezing up does not make this your fault; nothing does. The perpetrators are the only ones at fault for what they did.
    I’m glad you could trust your commanders, get justice for what happened, and receive apologies as well. Your strength is very evident throughout your story. I can understand why you felt terrible about reporting it at first, and you have so much empathy. I believe speaking up after being harmed is not wrong. They chose to do what they did, and they are now living with the consequences. I hope they can learn from what they did, and I hope they will not harm other people in the future.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us, and you are so courageous for writing this out. We are here to support you in any way we can, so please write back whenever you would like to share. I hope you find your Shiloh as well, and we would love to be here throughout your journey.

  4. Stark21 Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,
    First I would like to thank you for sharing your story and journey of healing with us. I would also like to acknowledge the amount of bravery, empathy, and perseverance you have displayed in your story. I’m happy to hear that you had great support from those you had seeked help from. I am also proud of you for sharing your stories to inspire others to come forward with their stories as well. Please use this space to share as much as you need. Sending positive vibes and hope nothing but the best for you on your journey to healing.

  5. iap66325 Volunteer

    Hello shiloh,

    Thank you for telling your story. I understand how everything must have made you feel most importantly the first time you endured it. It is great to hear that you in a sense got justice for what had been done to you. But I am sorry to say neither was it what you intended. I have to say I am proud that you have a very big heart and that you are working to heal. Because in the way that you are handling everything says so much about you as a person and that you deserve the absolute best. How you have so much power, strength and are extremely courageous for the way you are striving on letting go and doing better for your well being. Especially, doing you best to not let these experiences define you! I hope to hear from you soon with any updates, sending my love and strength your way!

  6. aegardiner Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with the AVFTI community and thank you for your service. Your perseverance and empathy for others is a remarkable quality says so much about your character. I’m so sorry though for all that you have experienced. It is good to hear that you received apologies from Jim and Simon – that really can do so much when trying to heal from trauma. It is natural to worry about the pain we cause to others, even when the other person is to blame for the situation in the first place. You can’t blame yourself though for taking the steps that you did. It is very unfortunate that Jim’s career was impacted, but you did nothing wrong by speaking up. That was the brave thing to do. I am glad that you had people within the military system who were on your side and who were willing to support you. As you have pointed out, some people in your same position do not receive the same treatment and as a result, don’t trust the system. Thank goodness there are people who do care and want to do the right thing. You truly are an inspiration and I know other will find hope and strength in your message. Please take care!

  7. Zithlaly.cruz Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,
    Thank you for sharing your story. What happened to you is not your fault. Your voice is heard and your story shows how brave and courages you are. You received the apologies from Simon and Jim, which I imagine that it must have been difficult. I am glad you received the support and help from commanders who had no judgement against you. I also appreciate the leader that you are and how you aspire to help other victims whose voices are not heard. You are not alone. We are always here to help you through your healing journey.

  8. oscarl2 Volunteer

    Hello shiloh,
    Thank you for sharing your story and I am sorry for all the trouble that you have gone through. I know you didn’t mean to affect the lives of these people but I do hope that things will continue to get better for you in your healing process. It can be difficult sharing your story but it was also very brave of you to discuss this in a private manner. If you ever need more help in the future, you can come to us here for more support.
    Best wishes,
    oscarl2

  9. lizzi

    Hi shiloh,
    Thank you so much for sharing this part of your story with us. None of what happened to you was your fault at all. It doesn’t matter that you were drinking. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t yell out for help. None of those people should have done what they did to you. You were right to report it, because it was wrong of them. You said that you see other people in similar situations treated even worse after speaking up, but if people don’t speak up at all, nobody will face the consequences they deserve. You didn’t ruin anyones life, career, or marriage. He did by assaulting you. He made the decision to do that, especially knowing you probably weren’t interested, and everything that followed in his life is his responsibility. You deserve to have people in your life that support you, and I recommend talking to a professional further about what happened to you and the impact it is having on your life today. I hope by posting here that you feel you are treated with dignity and respect, because we care about you. We’re here for you and we support you.

  10. lilyk Volunteer

    Hey Shiloh,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You are so strong for reporting all three assaults. You did not deserve this. You also are not the one responsible for Jim’s wellbeing, these are his consequences of his actions. I’m sure that you speaking out inspires other military victims to report their assaults. I’m happy to hear you’ve been able to talk to a therapist about these events. You have truly shown so much strength and courage, and I wish you the best as you continue your healing journey.

  11. ajklessig Volunteer

    Hello shiloh,
    Thank you for sharing your story. You are so resilient and strong for surviving through this. Your courage is astonishing. It sounds like you are a really empathetic person, and I can tell this was something that has really impacted you in multiple ways. You had every right to speak with your commander and eventually get NCIS involved. They chose to do that to you, which was not okay. I know that you feel torn because of the consequences it created for others, but you did what was best for you at the time, and that is what matters. They caused you harm and pain.
    I also commend you for speaking up and having a voice. Especially in the military, so many instances do not get reported, and even if they are, they are not treated fairly. I am glad this was not your case. I think your story is encouraging for other females in the military to know that they can be heard and respected.

  12. chompyapple1 Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,
    Thank you for sharing with us, I thank you for your service and admire your courage to share. I am sorry that you’ve gone through this trauma. None of it was your fault, and I’m glad that those two apologized. The healing process is long and sometimes difficult, but I believe you can persevere and overcome it. Stay strong, we’re always here for you.

  13. jyoung Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,

    Thank you for trusting this community enough to share your story. I’m so sorry that this happened to you; you did nothing wrong. None of this was your fault, regardless of your decision to drink. You have every right to go out, as you please, and enjoy yourself. I’m glad that the system worked in your favor as you chose to hold Jim and Simon accountable for their actions. I am also glad that you received the apologies you rightfully deserved. You have truly overcome so much, and for that, you are incredibly strong. Please remember the AVFTI community is here for you, and we will continue to be.

    Take care,
    Jasmine

  14. Caitlin Volunteer

    Shiloh,

    Thank you for sharing your story! It also saddens me to know all that are not treated fairly and I am so glad you decided to share. You did nothing wrong. You didn’t have to say anything for it to not be consensual. You have such a big heart, that is clear and worrying about their career and life is understandable after everything you have been through. You are doing what you can on your end and make sure you are working through it all. I know it wasn’t easy to bring it up to your superiors and to go through that whole process. You are so strong!

    Take care and let us know how are you doing if you want!

    -Caitlin

  15. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I want to say first, that your drinking in no way makes you at fault for this. You have the right to go out, drink, have fun, without the risk of being raped. It’s common for people experiencing this to not fight back or call out. You did the only job you had, which was to survive the harm you experienced. Second, I’m so sorry that this has caused a disruption to your mental health, personal life, and professional career. You don’t deserve that. It’s incredibly brave that you spoke out and contacted these men. I am happy you received the justice you needed: an apology and acknowledgement. Wishing you the best in your continued healing. Feel free to share with us anytime.

    KatherineL

  16. colton95 Volunteer

    I’m sorry for what happened to you, but I’m glad that the system worked in your favor which is unfortunately rare. You should not feel guilty for what you did to Jim; what he and Simon did to you is so much worse. I hope that things are going well with your husband and I hope that you will be okay and find inner peace. Stay safe and strong!

  17. Jiggy Volunteer

    Hey shiloh,
    I am sorry that this has happened to you. But you should not blame yourself for ruining a life. He did it to himself, you did not ask for it. It is understandable to feel some empathy for the guy as he was once your friend. That is the thing about being human, we have very conflicting emotions that we are not able to comprehend. You should feel proud that you were able to summon the courage to speak out and report what happened.
    Hope for the best!

    1. Thomas Volunteer

      Hi Shiloh,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. I understand why you feel guilty. It’s a very hard situation and it’s normal for people to have conflicting and complex feelings about these kinds of things. Your feelings are valid. I will say that you don’t have anything you need to feel guilty for though. You didn’t ruin someone’s life. He did that to himself when he chose to do what he did. You deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. When someone fails to do that, that’s on them and not you.

      You have been so strong and been through so much. Your will to carry on is admirable and I know that you will continue to heal on your life journey. You are not alone and believe. For additional resources click on our “Find Help” tab and please let us know how else we can help.

  18. VolunteerNem Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,
    I just want to start off by saying it was very brave of you to share your story here and strong of you to have to recall what happened. None of this is your fault and those men knew what they did was wrong. You had to make difficult decisions and just know that it sounds like you care for others strongly, which I admire. Simon and Jim know what they did and they have to live with the consequences of their actions. I hope you continue with your healing process and hopefully keep us updated. Thank you for sharing and stay safe!

  19. lmc83823 Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,
    I want to start off by saying thank you for sharing your story. It can be hard to share your story in a public manner, but it’s greatly appreciated. I am sorry this had to happen to you and I just want to let you know that the outcome of your report wasn’t your fault. Those were the result of their own actions. I am glad to hear that Jim and Simon apologized. I know you mentioned it was something you needed to hear and I’m glad you received that apology and regret from them. I hope sharing your story here has helped in some way. We are always here to listen and feel free to come back again.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Luna

  20. karinakalke

    Hi shiloh,

    I want to first thank you for your service and commend you on your bravery. I am so sorry that you’ve been through this trauma. None of it was your fault, and I’m glad that Jim and Simon apologized. The healing process is not a linear path, and it differs for everyone. Thank you for trusting us with your story. We are always here for you.

    Sending love and support,
    Karina

  21. alexiswilliams

    Shiloh,

    I am so sorry to hear that you endured these things. Someone very close to me has very similar experiences in the military. I am sorry that someone who you trusted chose to abuse their power. You deserve to feel and be safe. You are heard, thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes, expression is key in healing from trauma, you should be proud of yourself for having the courage to speak up!

    Sending love, hope, and healing,
    Lex

  22. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear shiloh ,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is evident that you did not take your decision to open the cases lightly. Reading your story, it sounds like you chose to do in order to be a leader for those you would be teaching. You made a difficult decision knowing that it could greatly affect your career in order to pave the way for others. It sounds like you care very deeply for others and have extreme empathy. You are able to see the person and not just the actions. Jim and Simon made their choices and have to live with the consequences. Hopefully, they have also learned from them as well. You are incredibly brave!
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  23. Starling Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that you had to deal with this. You didn’t deserve it, and it wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry that you feel guilty about what happened to your assailants, but it’s not your fault. You didn’t ruin anything for Jim. The repercussions Jim had were brought on by himself the second he chose to do that to you. I hope the apologies you got for them have helped you in your healing process. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  24. 123Ahmet Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,

    You are so resilient, I wanted to start off by saying that your story touched me very much. None of this is your fault please remember that I know you had questioned yourself but none of the responsibility is on you. Please do not think that you ruined his life, he ruined his own life by behaving in such a manner. I want to say that I am extremely sorry for what has happened and that you deserved none of this, no one deserves horrific acts such as these. You having a good time and drinking does not warrant for individuals to not have any self-control of themselves, this is something they have to live with.

    We are here to always support and listen to you.
    -Ahmet

  25. Araceli1090 Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,

    I like your strength. I admire the fact that after what you’ve been through you still remain strong with your head up high. We appreciate you telling your story.

    I would like to remind you that the outcome was not your fault. The things that occurred in Jim’s life was not your fault. It was simply him who destroyed his life, no one else. I know you have a big heart, but don’t beat yourself over the consequences of his actions.

    Im sorry to hear that at times it still affects you, but you are strong. You are in the process of healing. we are here for you!

  26. musicislove

    Hi Shiloh,

    I’m so sorry for all of the trauma you’ve endured. The people that hurt you had no right and should not have taken advantage like they did. It’s very common to freeze or not be able to reach out for help when an assault happens, people all react differently. Like many have said below me, just because you drank doesn’t mean you asked to be traumatized. You’re allowed to have a good time and you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your safety to enjoy yourself. Even though things went the way they did, I’m really glad you got apologies from both Jim and Simon and I really hope the healing from both of those apologies has helped you. You definitely sound like you have a huge heart and a lot of sympathy, that’s amazing. Thank you so much for trusting us with your story and please come back any time you want to share again, we’re always here for you!

    Delaney

  27. slozoya1120 Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,

    Thank you so much for trusting us, and sharing your story with us. It sounds like you have an immense heart, that can’t help but sympathize with others. You are truly one of the strongest persons I’ve ever come across. I’m sorry that you had to endure all of that. Being unable to speak and feeling frozen are common reactions in these situations, don’t blame yourself. I hope that you are in a much better place now and continue to heal. I think your heart is big, but the world needs more people like you in it. Thank you once again for sharing.

    -Sam

  28. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi shiloh,
    I’m so sorry that this happened. You didn’t deserve it. I’m happy you got Jim and Simon to apologize to you for what they did.
    When things like this happen, in the moment everyone reacts differently. I know it can be easy to look back and think, “why didn’t I say anything,” but what you went through was scary. It is not your fault you didn’t say anything. What they did to you is nothing you can blame yourself for.
    I’m sorry that you didn’t get the White House job. I can imagine how amazing of an opportunity it would have been. My mom always tells me and I stand by it, that things always happen for a reason. Whether the reason is good, bad, or something that you might never find out why or understand, there is always a reason.
    You sound like you have a heart of gold and are so strong. Continue to stay strong. You are amazing. Thank you for the service you have done for our country and thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. We are always here for you if you need anything.
    -Alyssa

  29. Lusine05 Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,
    We appreciate you telling your story a lot. Your heart is indeed big, and you seem like a very kind and empathetic person. What happened to you was awful, and it was not your fault. You have a right to drink and have fun, and it doesn’t give anyone else the right to take away your sexual freedom. I know it must have been hard to talk to Jim and Simon, but it is good that they apologized to you. You did the right thing by confronting them, and I hear you that you feel sad that your lives are ruined, but you had nothing to do with that. I hope you found your Shiloh too!

    Thank You for you service and your story,
    – L

  30. coachdiggs Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,
    First I do wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. I want to say sorry for everything you went through when you in training in the military. I do believe it is not your fault in anyway. You should not think that they outcomes of the people. It was good that you decided to tell because they guilt was eating you it is not good to let guilt to build up like that. It was amazing you was courage enough to let your story come out. You did not ended his marriage in the long run it is his fault. It is good that you found somebody to help you and also to let your story come out. Lastly, I wanted to say thank you again for sharing your story with everybody.
    Kevin

  31. morganndelacruz

    Hello,

    I just want to first to say to you that I am so unbelievably sorry and what you had to go through. It wasn’t your fault and you didn’t deserve that at all. You didn’t ruin their lives at all, they did, they are the reason of it. don’t blame yourself for other’s action. I also want to thank you for your service as well. I read and hear so many similar stories like yours and all the trauma they go through and all they want to is to have their voice be heard with humane and dignity. And I believe that you are starting here on AVFI with military women coming out about their stories. Thank you so much for sharing, if you need anything we are always here to listen.

    I give to you so much love and healing on your journey! <3

  32. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    I want to start by saying that I am sorry to hear what you have been through. You didn’t deserve it, and it wasn’t your fault. You should not feel guilty for telling your truth. I can tell you have a big and kind heart, but you did not ruin his life. Thank you for sharing your strength and your story with us. You are so strong, and we appreciate your trust in us. We are here for you. Stay strong on your healing journey.

    Carmen

  33. jcastle38 Volunteer

    Hello,

    I am deeply sorry for all of the trauma you have endured. You did not deserve any of that, and you did not ruin his life- he ruined yours. You did not break up a marriage- he did, with his own actions. You are not at fault for any of this so please dont blame yourself. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and thank you for serving our country and being an advocate to get other military victims help. You are incredibly strong for speaking up on all of the trauma that you have endured, and for continuing to heal. I loved the last part of your story, and I hope that you find your Shiloh too, you deserve it most. Stay strong, we are all here for you. Sending you lots of love!

  34. dzreid Volunteer

    Shiloh,
    I just want to first say a huge “Thank You” for serving our country! I really liked what you said at the end of your story. ” I hope every story teller finds their Shiloh.” That statement alone speaks loudly, & shows how courageous you really are. Just because you had too much to drink doesn’t mean you asked to be raped, nor does it make it your fault! I can see how this would be hard to talk about. I can see why when placed in certain positions with your husband how that could be a trigger for you. I am glad you have had the chance to verbally tell your story. Writing things down does take on a different perspective then sharing verbally. I’m glad you shared. I am glad you had the support you did from your chaplain & the unit’s victim advocate. Your story is yet another example of when someone is raped, it’s not always from a stranger. I’m sad that even in the military when this happens, backs are turned & the victims are forced into silence, or not believed. Thank you for putting your story to words so we can be a part of your healing journey! Be kind to you because you deserve kindness!
    Dawn

  35. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming to share with us. I am so sorry for everything that happened, and everything that you went through. I totally feel your sentiments expressed throughout, especially at the end. Even when people harm us in this way, hurt us more than we ever thought possible, we still can feel empathy for them. And at first that feels like we shouldn’t, it’s like why should I care about this person who harmed me? But I think that’s normal, actually. We want an apology, we want them to learn from the harm they caused, and not do it again. Thank you for sharing that, and for being so open. I know it can be difficult. We are here for you, and we support you.

    Erin

  36. semperfi Volunteer

    Shiloh, I think that the most unfortunate things remains in our thoughts, why didn’t I react when it happened? Was it because they thought we are close friends, was I, as an Officer, expected to be in control or just to show that I am a big girl now?
    To me, its like looking down the sights of my rifle and squeezing the trigger, only to see another human fall. I remember the many times I continue to second guess, should I have called for Napalm or just HE, could I save the day with just four cannons or a REPEAT. I try to justify it. The only console is, I was in a different world then and I lived through it. I am here now sharing what I experienced and how what I felt. This isn’t how we were brought up. There is supposed to be respect, dignity and doing the right thing. It’s these things that give us our pause. We want it to be, what we believe to be, fair and justice for all. When we see similar things happen, do we have the strength to correct it. I don’t know what future you are looking for but if it is to teach your experiences, how many more can you comfort?
    SEMPER FI, USMC SGT E5, 1964 -1968,

  37. Chris Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh! First off, thank you for your bravery and your military service. As a fellow brother in arms from the Air Force I can appreciate more than most the sacrifices you made and continue to make being in the military. Although I am an airman myself, I can attest to just how amazing the Marines are and that you should be proud. Throughout your experiences you showed a strength and resolve that is so strong that it is moving and eye opening. The fact that this happened not once, twice, but three times is horrible and something that has become a big problem in the US Military unfortunately. As a previous member of the Air Force Special Ops Command (AFSOC) I know just how common these kinds of horrible occurrences happen and the difficulty that there is to come forward or seek the proper council or avenues to get the representation and help that is deserved. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting so that other military victims who don’t trust or don’t want to trust the system can have a first hand account from someone who not only experienced the things you have gone through but who also comes from the legal side of military structure as you yourself are a legal officer. You talking about how we in the military are not perfect is a truth many people deny because the military is held in such high regard, but I am glad your CO’s did not judge you and helped you out with what you needed. Life in the military is so much easier with good leadership in your corner as I am sure your all to aware of that. Whether you decide to resign or remain in the Marine Corps in the end is up to you, but whatever you choose you’re always my Sister in Arms. Always here for you if you need to talk. Semper Fidelis, Aer Vis.

  38. zelda Day Captain

    Hi, Shiloh! Welcome to AVFTI! Thank you for telling us your story; you’re a Marine, so your courage doesn’t surprise me. What I found surprising was your amount of empathy. Not because you’re in the military, but because forgiving our attackers is so difficult to do. I believe I’m an empathetic person, but I still can’t forgive the people who hurt me. I have a lot of respect for you, and I look up to you. You not only confronted them; you also had enough kindness in your heart to forgive them.

    I’ve heard that forgiveness isn’t for them; it’s for us. So we can heal and move forward with our lives. So we can find our Shiloh, our resting place, as you say.

    I hope you have found it, or are at least on your way to that peace and comfort. You deserve to be free of their sins and their evil. It’s not your job nor your burden to carry their sicknesses.

    I’m sorry for what you went through, but I want you to know that you’ll never have to go through this alone. You now have an entire community to help you and fight for you. We’re in your corner.

    We believe in you, and we will always be here for you.

    Come back soon, Shiloh. 💕

  39. timms_andrew Volunteer

    Hey Shiloh,
    I understand how difficult it must have been for you to have three separate instances of rape happen to you while serving. I also understand how hindsight can make the decisions you made seem questionable. I am sure you were very scared, and it is completely normal to become paralyzed in a state of fear. I also imagine how it can be difficult to hear how you reporting your sexual abuse has impacted the lives of the people who abused you in a way that isn’t good for them. I applaud you for having empathy and showing compassion towards your perpetrators, as that is something that is very difficult to do. Even though it may feel uncomfortable to know your actions affected your abusers the way they did, I am glad you decided to take action and I am glad you decided to share your story with us. We are always here for you if you need it!

  40. Ramon Moran Volunteer

    Hey Shiloh,
    Hope you are doing well, and to start off I am truly sorry for what these men did to you. They had no right to take those actions against you and force themselves onto you. We are all human and make our own decisions. I understand that Your decision to report the problem impacted Jim, however he did not care how his actions would impact you for the rest of your life. I am happy to hear that you did report it even if time had passed. It is totally normal for people to take time to process what happened to them, and to decide to come out with their story. You are a strong person for coming out with your story, your voice matters and will impact others.

  41. sarahj Volunteer

    Shiloh,
    Thank you for being so courageous and sharing your story with us here. I am so sorry to read what happened to you, but I am grateful to read that you took steps to move forward, acknowledged what happened and addressed your assailants head on. That is not an easy thing to do. You are incredibly strong. I am thankful to know that you are there helping other officers if needed, to let them know that their stories are valid and real & that action is to be taken when necessary. Voices are meant to be heard: and your voice is loud and clear. Thank you again for sharing.
    Take care,
    Sarahj

  42. ericasarkisyan Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,
    I want to start off by saying thank you for sharing your story with us, I know it was not easy for you and you demonstrated true strength. Your ability to express vulnerability about your experiences is truly inspiring. No one should ever be put in the situations that you were put into. I can’t even imagine all the things that ran through your mind during your healing process. I am so proud of you for following your comfort level and reporting the issue when you were comfortable enough to do so. Your bravery and honesty is admirable and we are all here to listen to you whenever you feel comfortable to share with us again. I wish you all the best and sending positivity your way.

    With love,
    Erica

  43. seanprender34 Volunteer

    Shiloh,
    I would like to start off by thanking you for your service and commending you on being strong and brave enough to talk about your story. I am sorry that you had to endure everything you spoke about, nobody should ever have to go through the things you did. I can comprehend the level of confusion you feel with the aftermath of your reports but you did what you felt was right for you. Through your words I can almost feel your level of joy and want for good in this world. That is a trait which is often admired but not attained. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors and I want you to know that you are always welcome back to our community and we will be here for you.

    Sean

  44. Karenv12 Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,
    I would like to start off by saying that you are so strong and I admire you so very much. Thank you for trusting us and sharing your story with us, I know it was not an easy thing to do and I am so sorry that you went through this. Your heart is so kind and pure and I am glad that you found you own way of healing through forgiveness and understanding you are such a strong person. I want you to know that none of what you went through was your fault and that if you ever need to talk to anyone we are always here for you.

    Sending you love and positivity
    Karen

  45. t3nnis_player18 Volunteer

    Hey Shiloh,
    I am so sorry you had to go through this trauma. It is not your fault even if you were drunk this was not something you wanted. You should be able to drink and not have to worry about someone doing this to you, it is not fair. I am glad that you reported the incidents though, i am sure hearing their apologies helped. I know you feel bad about what happened to Jim after, but you did what you needed to do to make yourself feel better and that is not something to be sorry for. I know it must have been hard to face this head on, but I am glad the officers and officials treated it seriously because you are right not many would get that if they were in the same situation. Thank you for sharing your story with us you are so incredibly strong.

  46. SarahLove Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,

    First I’d like to say thank you so much for sharing your story and serving our country. Please know that everything that happened is NOT your fault. I am so ashamed of the Marine Officers who did this to you. You are so amazing and your story will help other people to speak out. I know it wasn’t easy to share, so thank you for your trust. If you ever need help finding resources, there is a “help button” at the top of the page and our team is ready to help at any time.

    Stay strong Shiloh,
    SaraLove

  47. Pamela Z Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh
    I want to thank you for sharing your story, I hope your story inspires other military officers. I am sorry for what you have gone through, none of this was your fault. You are so brave to report to your unit victim advocate and the commander what happened to you. You confront them and you got your voice heard, you got your voice back. I am glad that you have started to heal and want to help others in the same situation as you.

  48. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey shiloh,

    Thanks for sharing part of your story with us. I’m so sorry Jim, Simon and the other person took advantage of you while you were incapacitated. I hope you know that what happened to you was not your fault. Being drunk doesn’t give anyone the right to touch you without your consent. Silence is not consent. It must have taken a lot of courage for you to come forward about your assault and I’m so proud and impressed that you did that. You are so incredibly strong!

    As for Jim, I understand why you are hung up on it. Please keep in mind that he feels the way he does because of his own actions, not yours. Everything that has come from that night is his fault. He even acknowledged that you didn’t consent. It sounds like it was eating him up on the inside, even before you spoke out about what happened. The moment he overstepped your boundaries, he was inviting any backlash into his personal life and career. He took something very personal from you. I’m glad you are working through this and making progress.

    You sharing your story here will help others to find their Shiloh. It will inspire others to come forward. It will help them find peace. Thank you for that. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you. We are here for you, no matter what!
    Marissa

  49. adrian Volunteer

    Hi, Shiloh-

    You are a brave and strong warrior. Coming from an active duty background myself, I understand how difficult it is to trust the system when your career is the system. It is difficult to separate the individuals and the system. It was right for you to report, though. You are correct in your advice to one of your Marines and I can appreciate the strength it took to do what you would hope for someone else. Sometimes it is difficult to take our own advice, but you did just that because you knew it was the right thing to do. Admirable.

    Officers are meant to take care of each other and I know it hurts more to witness and be a victim of something as invasive and completely opposite of honorable as sexual assault. One thing I will say is, you are not a number. You are not a statistic. You are not “just another”. You should be able to trust your peers and trust your friends. I imagine you’ve learned a lot from these events, especially given how closely they were to each other and you may have found that you are more guarded toward others. Allow yourself to trust again.

    You’re right, Jim and Simon, and your third perpetrator are not perfect. It is inspiring to see your heart open for them and their hurt. Doing the right thing does sometimes hurt others, but you are not the cause of that hurt. You can only control your own actions.

    I appreciate your last line of this post the most- every victim (and suspect/perpetrator) will find their Shiloh. What a beautiful way to close up a tragic story of assault, but a powerful story of healing.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    Take care,
    Adrian

  50. odishoe

    Hi there, what you have been through must have been a tragic. Thank you for sharing your story with us, remember that there are always people that want to hear you voice, story, and just listen to it and really understanding what you have been through. I personally respect for who you are as person and as what you have been through and I thank you for your service. No one should go through tough times like this but know that past is past, don’t look back (even though it must be hard sometimes) just move forward.

  51. JudithT Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You have so much strength and compassion, to tell stories with so much personal pain but still care so deeply about your friends who hurt you. It sounds like you have a tendency for selflessness, that you can readily see the humanity of others and not define them by how they mistreated you. It can be easy to minimize personal experiences or experience self-blame for “allowing” something terrible to happen, but none of this was your fault, even if alcohol was involved. You are not responsible for the decisions that others made and you are equally not responsible for the consequences of their actions. I think it was incredibly brave of you to contact them, to confront them, and receive closure through their apologies. It is inspirational to hear that you speak out so that other military victims may feel empowered as well. I hope you continue to heal and find peace–we are always here to support you if you ever need us.

  52. CSUN Student1 Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,
    Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us and I am sorry for the experiences that you had in the past and it was never your fault at all no matter if you were drunk or anything. It is amazing to see how big of a heart you have that even after those experiences you still cared about them and didn’t want anything bad happening to them, that’s a true strong warrior. The way you told us the story we are all proud of you for taking the step and share your story with us and also we are always here for you and you have our full support whenever you need us.
    Thank You

  53. Angela Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,
    Thank you for sharing and trusting us with your story. I am sorry for what happened to you, I can tell that you are such a strong and brave women. I am happy that you reported and that you received comfort and no judgement from you’re commanders, which is very important. Also, I am happy that you got the apologies that you deserved. You have such a big heart but none of this is your fault, you did not break anything. Thank you again for sharing.

  54. pinksky92 Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us and for writing it down publicly. That is a big step and I’m hoping that it is has been a positive part of your healing process.

    I just want to say that I am sorry that you experienced what you did. There definitely needs to be more accountability for the perpetrators of sexual assault. I understand how it must have felt in that moment to feel like you could not scream or do anything. I am so sorry that these experiences have also ruined your sexual freedom. It sounds like you have done a lot of work to get to the point where you can accept the imperfection of Simon and Jim. You have such a positive outlook for survivors everywhere and your strength and courage is admirable. Speaking out against these men has definitely made a positive impact for other victims who may have been too scared to come forward. Everyone deserves justice and I am glad that you got the apology that made you feel as though you got justice from these men.

    Thank you again for being brave enough to share your story. Take care.

  55. betterdays1

    hi Shiloh,
    you have a big heart. Your post made me feel like we have known each other for years and that you were telling me like I was your best friend. The consequences to the actions they made is not your responsibility, you are not the one to blame. You said that you are now married. It makes me happy to know that you know you still have your life to live. Also, thank you for inspiring other military women to share their stories and encouraging others to take action. Feel free to write to us again!
    -v

  56. jenniferb Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are such a courageous person. I am sorry that you had to go through this and that you were questioned to the point that you felt vulnerable. I want you to know that it was not your fault and that you did not ruin or break anyone’s life. I am glad that you had supportive people around you that did not judge you. I am also glad to hear that you got the apologies that you wanted. You are a very caring person, and I am sure that your story will help others with similar experiences. We are always here to support you.

  57. haesol Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,
    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry you went through those experiences, you didn’t deserve that. None of those instances were your fault, you deserved to believe you were safe, and no one can say how one should act when an assault happens because every situation is different. I’m glad that you got the apologies you wanted, you deserved that. I do think you have such a big heart for still caring about how they felt after everything, it shows how great of a person you are. I hope other victims in the military system get strength from this post to speak about their own experiences and get the justice they deserve.
    I hope you’re doing well, and please let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you. Feel free to update us anytime and to check the Find Help tab for more resources if you want. We are here for you.

    Stay safe!

  58. brookeallnutt Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry to hear about everything that you’ve had to go through, and I’m glad that you received the apologies you deserve. You are so strong for reporting what happened, and you are also so amazingly kind and empathetic. Like jcas 120 said, those around you are so lucky to have such a caring person! I wish the absolute best as you continue on your healing journey. Please feel free to come back and share anytime- we are always happen to listen!

  59. Tokyo_Kaneki Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh,

    Firstly, I want to thank you so much for telling us your story. I know it must have been extremely difficult having to revisit that time but you courage and strength is absolutely amazing. I am so sorry that you had to go through this, but I can see that you are moving forward and trying to not let it take control. As someone who knows a military service member, I am so glad that you said that you trust in the system. I hope you continue to do well, I wish you nothing but the absolute best. I’m sending you lots of love and support.

  60. Solongago Volunteer

    Hi Shiloh, Thank you for sharing your story here. That was very brave of you. I think that it can be a huge step to write it out with the understanding that it will be read and commented on.

    Of course there are reasons you might have 3 separate investigations at the same time. Victims are often victimized by multiple people and when you begin to work on that, is not necessarily when you are ready to disclose, and by the time you are ready, there may be more to disclose.

    One thing though, you did not wreck his marriage, his career, or his life. He did that all by himself. Even if it was a consensual incident, the onus is on the person who is in a committed relationship to not cheat. For some reason women tend to blame women for this, even when it is the guy who did the cheating. Whoever he cheated with is usually the one that women blame. We hear so much about home-wreckers. Well, it ain’t right. If it isn’t consensual, then there isn’t even that going on. You couldn’t stop him. He ruined his own life. Your delay in reporting it just gave him a reprieve of sorts. But even that, he knew what he did, and he was living with the possibility of it coming out, and now it is out, so now he can deal with it.

    As for calling out, your body had three choices, fight, flight, or freeze, and in the moment it chose to freeze. I don’t believe it is all that conscious of a decision. If we freeze, we cannot call out. I expect you did not expect Jim to be such a jerk, who knows what Matt would have done if he was roused. We like to think he would be a human being and stand up for you, but not all guys do. Some might leave. Sometimes you might have two attacking you. It is dangerous to judge or critique behavior that happened during a traumatic event from the comfort and safety of our homes. And we ourselves do this to ourselves, we critique our behavior from a whole different place and are too often very harsh with ourselves. I think that is part of the syndrome.

    What I mean by the syndrome is the unique set of similarities that victims of trauma tend to have, how we tend to turn what happened to us, inward, so that we are somehow to blame, and how that crushes our self worth, self esteem, self everything. It is almost like if we allow ourselves to hold the perpetrator solely accountable, we can never be safe again, so it is somehow safer to believe that we played a part, maybe even the lion’s share of our own abuse. That we do this does not make it right. We can analyze and understand it. We don’t have to berate ourselves for it. We can actively fight the thoughts and symptoms of it.

    I am sorry that these people did a terrible thing to you. I am sorry that as a member of the military, you probably had and even tougher time accepting and disclosing that this happened to you. I commend you for wanting to help the other women who share military service and have had this experience.

  61. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello Shiloh,

    I see this is your first time sharing with us. Welcome, we are really glad to have you here! It takes so much bravery to share a story like you just did.

    I am so sorry to hear about everything that happened to you in the military. I hope you know that none of what happened was your fault and you didn’t deserve any of it. You showed a lot of bravery (not only in sharing this with us) but reporting all 3 cases of sexual assault and directly confronting those who did these things to you. I know you wrote feeling guilty for reporting, but I hope you know that you did nothing wrong here. You reported something that happened to you, if you had stayed silent who knows what could have happened? It could have happened again to someone else. Also, if they never did that to you they wouldn’t have had to get reported. But I know you know these things, and you just have such a big heart. I am glad that your own flashbacks of the event are fading and I hope you continue to heal, you deserve it.

    I know you must be going through a lot after dealing with all of this. I know you said that your heart might be too big for the world and I agree, you have so much empathy for others even those who hurt you. This shows me that any friends/family/coworkers you surround yourself with are so lucky to have you in their lives.

    I knw your story will inspire others and I hope you know you can come back for an update at anytime. We are here for you!

  62. DY17654 Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,

    You are strong and brave for sharing your story. It takes such courage to come forward like you did, especially with three separate incidents. I am sorry for what happened to you and these guys should have never done that. Your strength and character really comes out in your story and hopefully you’re moving forward and putting these awful incidents behind you. You should feel no guilt for the Jim and what has happened to his career and marriage. It is good to hear that you’re are trusting of the system and that you’re outwardly involved in dealing with it. I wish you nothing but the best and hope you continue to get the love and support you deserve.

    Dustin

  63. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi shiloh,

    I am so sorry for these horrible things that happened to you. You did not deserve to be treated that way in any circumstance, whether alcohol was involved or not. I am glad that you were able to report these incidents and that something was done about it, even if things didn’t turn out the way you initially hoped. I understand why you might feel responsible for what happened to Jim, however, it is important to remember that the choice was his. Just as your trauma and lingered and affected you all of these years later, guilt can have the same affect on people. You are not responsible for what happened to him. You did what was best for you, and that is the important thing. Thank you for taking the time to share your story here with us. You are an incredibly brave and strong individual. Please feel free to share again with us anytime. We believe you, we support you, and we are always here for you.

    All the best,
    Becca