About two weeks of being on base most of the friends I met in Pensacola in A-school had gotten their orders and began to arrive in Virginia. I had been spending most of my time with my friend I rode to Virginia with and my friend, Ryan. Stephanie and Ryan were complete opposites but had been in class together and were mutual friends.

One day I met Stephanie for lunch and she was crying. She said that she and Ryan and some other guys had gotten drunk and Ryan raped her. I was shocked and did not know how to respond. She told me she was going to report it to their command and expected to be treated the way we believed we would be treated in boot camp.

She reported it that afternoon and in the midst of a few hours rumors were flying around base. Ryan was notified by legal and an investigation was held. Evidently, everyone seemed to believe Ryan’s story over Stephanie’s. She immediately became a trouble maker for reporting the incident. Our mutual friends refused to speak to her and most on base seemed to shun her wherever she went. Was it because Stephanie was a bit overweight and short and Ryan was slim, dark, and incredibly good looking? 

I did not understand why they would believe him over her. She was on shore duty orders, she had a fiance moving to the beach, she was living her dream. Because there was no physical evidence, Stephanie was removed from the base while Ryan was allowed to remain and was still walking around base the day I got out of the military, almost four years later, free of charge.

After Stephanie left, I cannot remember if she was transferred or separated, I began to whitness other women in and out of my command treated disrespectfully for reporting sexual harassment, assualt, or becoming pregnant before a deployment. They were shunned by their commands and all of the squadron mates they had worked alongside and considered family; ones they trusted.

They were called deployment dodgers, and it was not uncommon to hear females referred to as troublemakers, cum dumpsters, and not belonging in “their” Navy as well as the usual derogatory slang a female might hear. Slut, whore, boat hoe, bitch, and others were all commonly known terms of endearment from many of our peers and superiors.I was saddened and stunned by treatment these women received and it set a precendt for me and many other females in my command to follow; never cry rape!

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