My #metoo moment and how it relates to the Church’s victims.

It is not something I scream off the top of my lungs, but it is no secret, that I was drugged and gang-raped while serving in the US Navy.  Because I was heavily drugged, I don’t remember much of the attack, so even if I wanted to, I can’t give you all the details.  But I do remember it was a small gang of 3 that took me into a bedroom that seemed like a home bedroom, not a hotel/motel room.  I knew two out of three guys, and they were fellow sailors.

After recovering from the effects of the whatever drug they slipped, I realized I was back on base, hurting very much in areas that shouldn’t normally hurt, and alone.  I went to the doctor to get checked for STDs, pregnancy, and all the possible side-effects.  The doctor acted as if I wasn’t telling him what happened.  He took blood and urine samples, and told me to come back in a month for a re-check.  He told me that if I was indeed telling the truth, that I should go up the chain of command and inform them of what happened to me.

So I went to my Leading Petty Officer and told him about what I could remember, and the two guys that I recognized.  He told me that he couldn’t believe me because there were drugs involved and the Navy has zero tolerance for drugs.  At least he didn’t try to kick me out of the Navy. 

But he told me he couldn’t believe me, and even if it was true, that there were several things against me:  I was using drugs (which I wasn’t; I was drugged against my will), the two guys I could recognize had orders to transfer to Japan within the next 2 days, and it wouldn’t be possible to even attempt to prosecute them (not true; the Navy would have flown them out back to the USA for their Court Martial.), and also, that I had no credibility, because they were exemplary sailors (truth is, I was too), and outranked me.

The heart of the problem is that I didn’t know any better, and believed him.  I didn;t pursue it further, because he said that little loud-mouths like me don’t do well in the Navy, and at the time, I had been considering a 20 year career in the Navy.

There are so many things wrong with the story, but the parallels that I can see are mind-numbing.

I was a victim of a crime punishable by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and civil laws.  Clerical sex abuse victims are victims of a crime punishable by criminal and civil laws.

I was victim of superiors taking advantage of me.  Clerical sex abuse victims are too.  I was told that nobody would believe me, and I was also told that further pushing the issue would only get me in trouble.  Sound familiar?

I felt further slighted when I was silenced and told that talking about it would get me in trouble.  When they covered up my rape, I felt just as bad as when I was actually raped.

I have come to terms with having been drugged and gang-raped to a certain extent.  I have learned to live with having been raped, but I haven’t learned to live with the fact that I couldn’t do anything about it, that I couldn’t seek any kind of justice.

By now, the statute of limitations has run out, so even if I were to find them and turn them into the police, there is nothing that I can legally do about it.

In the end, I have licked my wounds and became super paranoid of all my fellow servicemembers.  I was subsequently sexually harassed by superiors in different assignments, and there was nothing I could do, as when I brought it up, I was told nobody would believe me, and that there was nothing I could do about it.

If you are a victim of sex abuse – be it in the Church, the military, at work, or at home, know that you have options, and don’t make the same mistake I made.  Please, go tell on your abusers, and have a day in court.  Even if your allegations aren’t found substantiated, you will feel better for having sought justice, and having done the right thing.

The military and the Church both need cleansing of these cover-ups.  I am no longer part of the Navy.  But I am still a Catholic.  Please, know that I pray for all victims of sexual abuse – especially that of minors, and especially for those abused by predators within the Church.  I am prepared to endure the scandal, and as many scandals as it takes to cleanse and purge the Church.