By “Jane Doe,” Former Staff Sergeant
Seven years later, I believe that I am starting the healing process. I still have the dreams, I am still triggered, and there are still sleepless nights. Sadly, my assault and subsequent treatment by my superiors after reporting still haunt me – but again, I am healing.
My assault happened six years into my nine years of service in the Army. On the last day of my contract I moved to New York City. I finally felt I was not being watched. I had a new start. I started working for a large organization and was doing well. I worked hard, and I also partied hard. I went to lavish parties, I spent loads of money on things, and I traveled to foreign countries. I thought the shopping, parties and travel would get me away from myself. They never did – I always ended up alone, by myself, dealing with my demons.
Over time I developed a cocaine and alcohol problem. Subconsciously, I was putting a temporary Band-aid over my wounds. I became reckless, physically attacking any man who I felt looked at me in a sexual manner. Over a four year period, I lost three jobs due to my outbursts at work, always involving a man. I became unemployed and checked myself into the Veterans Affairs hospital more than ten times. I decided to hop back on a plane and left the country for six months. No matter how far away I was, I could not run away for the shame and guilt I carried.
After coming back to the United States last year I finally hit my lowest point. I decided that I was tired of running. I checked myself into a drug rehabilitation program. I have been to a Military Sexual Trauma Unit twice. I’m finally taking the medication that I am prescribed every day. I am even in a healthy relationship with a man. Now, I am taking my life one day at a time. All I have to do now is be pro-active in my healing process. I may eventually start loving myself again.