Updated: Feb 8
I served in the military from 1971-1977. I joined the Marine Corps shortly after graduating from High School. I intended to serve in the military because I did not want to go to college then, and joining the service seemed to be a way of escaping my small town. I also thought of the possibility of seeing some of the United States. As a young woman, I had not traveled farther than Houston, Texas, for short periods, so the thought of seeing another state was exciting! My Marine Corps basic training was in Beaufort, South Carolina, for eight weeks. Of course, I did not see any of the City of Beaufort, but knowing that I was NOT in Texas was exciting.
After basic training, I transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where I attended classes for my designated Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). My MOS was Supply Administration. This training lasted approximately 8-12 weeks, and then it was on to my first military duty station. My duty assignment took me to Barstow, California, in the middle of the Mojave Desert. This duty station would last roughly 2-3 years. The living conditions were acceptable, as only 12-15 women lived in our barracks. During this time in the Corps, enlisted women were few.
The work environment was, at times, challenging because I was the only female, black or white. Most of my leaders accepted me except for one male staff sergeant who immediately disliked me. This sergeant took every opportunity to find fault with me, and his hostility toward me ran the whole gamut. I believed he disliked me mainly because I wore a small afro. He decided I was militant because of my hairstyle. Every chance he got to write me up or file charges on me for failing to report on time, that is what he did. He also wrote me up for uniform violations, especially for my hairstyle. His constant harassment caused me great pain and anguish. I didn’t know anyone in authority I felt comfortable talking to, so I suffered in silence.
The real tragedy struck!
At some point during my tour of duty, I met another male marine, and we started hanging out in the barracks, where the other females entertained their friends. Eventually, I thought going on a formal movie date with this man was safe. Thinking it was safe to go out with him was a huge mistake. Instead of going to the theater as planned, he took a detour to a motel.
It was at that place where he sexually assaulted me at gunpoint. The assault took place over two days. This traumatic event marked when I lost my independence, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence. This man, who was an acquaintance, violated me at gunpoint, and in fear for my life, again, I suffered in silence for many years.
It has taken 40 years for me to tell my story. It took a friend to recognize that something had happened to me and encouraged me to seek counseling. The counseling has been an eye-opening experience to learn that many male and female service members have suffered the same violation and continue to suffer in silence. Although I am now in therapy, I know this sexual assault has consumed much of my adult life.
With the help of Jesus Christ, we can continue our story and know that He alone will write the
finale! Thank you for sharing your story with the women of Ferocious Faith.
To be continued!