Story by Ellen Mull
So, I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll just start a month before my ‘incident.’ I’m enlisted in the greatest fighting force in the United States, the Marine Corps.
I had just finished Marine Combat Training (MCT) and I was going to the school house for training in my MOS (military occupational specialty). I was on top of the world, felt like I could do anything. As a female Marine, its already empowering enough. Not many people in general can say that they could ever think of doing what I’ve done.
My school was only two months of training. I was halfway done with the first month when my (ex) best friend, Jason, texted me asking for me to come over to his barracks and hang out. Yes, he’s a Marine. I didn’t think anything of it, because we’ve been friends since 7th grade, so I took a cab and went over.
He was getting ready to deploy, and he was excited. More excited than a fat kid in the bakery with a couple hundred dollars to spend. He showed me all of his cool gear, his Ka-bar, some weird underwater notepad, etc.
Now, I won’t get into many personal details about this upcoming part.
I sat on his bed and we talked for a little bit. All of a sudden, he kisses me out of nowhere. He was a terrible kisser, he was blocking my nose so I couldn’t breathe. I pushed him off of me and told him no. He was persistent. He kept kissing me and started rubbing me. I told him I didn’t wanna have sex because we weren’t together. He then replied with, ‘we can be now.’ I told him no, he just wanted the sex. He then started kissing me harder and put me on my back and held down my wrists.
Yada yada yada, he assaulted me. I hate the word rape, but that’s what he did. I was silent the entire time. I’m not sure if I was in shock or what, but I couldn’t move at all during his work. I couldn’t find the muscles to fight or the words to scream.
He got off and got dressed. I did the same. I grabbed my phone and walked outside and called my friend Nick to come get me. I sat outside and smoked a cigarette and looked at the lake outside Jason’s barracks. He came out and sat next to me and started talking to me like it was no big deal.
Nick finally showed up and stared Jason down, he instantly knew what happened, but he didn’t get out of the car. I got in the car and didn’t say a word. Nick tried his best to start a conversation but I just wasn’t in it. I tried to deny the incident.
On the way home, Jason texted me non stop. Telling me that I should get plan B, trying to talk to me, etc. I never responded, except to the plan B text, asking if he was gonna go half on it. He said no. Luckily, my body said no to having a baby, I was on birth control. (by the way, shout out to President Obama for having those options available and FUCK YOU to everyone trying to close that option for women going through that situation. I personally like to be able to control my women parts.)
I still remember to this day what I was wearing. Skinny blue jeans, my Bob Marley shirt and my black chucks. Believe me, I didn’t remember for the longest time. I’m not sure how I remember and why.
Well, after I got back to my barracks, I instantly took a shower. Thankfully, my roommates weren’t home. I sat in the shower for a good hour just spaced out, trying to avoid what happened earlier on in the day.
I got out of the shower, got dressed, put my clothes in the wash and went to bed.
For weeks, I tried to forget or deny what happened. I tried so hard to convince myself that I wanted it, but it didn’t work. I started falling behind in school, I graduated last in the class. I went to school tipsy, drank some more during chow, drank heavily after I got off and took some advil PM and passed out. That eventually stopped working and I started cutting myself. Not to die, but to replace the emotional pain with physical pain. I personally think that’s why most people cut themselves.
I was pretty good at hiding my cuts. (we were sleeves up at that point.) Three weeks later (I was 3 weeks away frm graduating at this point), someone caught me. I was drunk as a 120 pound girl could be and cutting myself in the bathroom. They took the knife away and hugged me until I stopped crying. They promised me that they’d help me get help. So the next day, we went up to my class commaner and I asked to see the chaplain. He said he’d set up an appointment. He never came back to me with an appointment day. I went back a couple days later with the same question and he came back with the same response. So I gave up. I lived with my pain and misery for 7 months until I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to my UVA (uniformed victims advocate) and asked to take an STD test. He immediately became concered and took me to medical. He didn’t ask a question, he never judged. He’s honestly the best Marine anyone could ever ask for. Non judgemental, will wake up to your drunken depressed calls, gives you some time off from work when you need it, etc. (I took a couple sleeping pills before coming to work one day and I couldn’t stay awake. He knew. So he sent me home until after chow.
Thankfully, I was clean. But that didn’t stop the rumors.
Marines in my office saw me leave with him (I forgot to mention he’s a Leiutenant, and enlisted-officer interactions are strictly forbidden) and I got in his car. That was the day I took my STD test. He dropped me off at medical and my friend picked me up.
When I got back to the office, I went to the LT’s desk and quietly told him what medical told me. They told me I was high-risk for HPV. High-risk is not the same thing as actually having it. It’s exactly as it sounds.
Unfortunately for me, someone must have overheard me and spread the rumor that I actually had it. No one would talk to me, no one would go out or hang out with me. I was all alone. People called me every name in the book. Slut, skank, hoe, etc. It was hard to have a boyfriend at that point.
These rumors eventually got worse, and never went away. They still go on to this day. My test was two years ago. Every time I get close to a guy, they hear about the rumor and ask me. Every time they ask me, I start bawling my eyes out and want to punch them in the balls. I actually did once. Someone mentioned it to me a week ago, and I slapped them and walked away. With all the counseling I’ve gone to the past couple years and all the hard work I’ve done trying to heal those scars, those rumors just rip the scabs off and they put salt and lemon juice in them.
When I finally decided to report my case to the police and NCIS, it was too late. When I say too late, I mean physical evidence. That’s the only thing to slam any service member with if there were no witnesses. Once I gave my word, it was up to Jason’s command to charge him. Because I was silent for so long, I lost the case against him. He’s still enlisted in the Marine Corps, still getting promoted, no brig time, nothing.
I’ve had an AMAZING support system the past 7 months. Gunny Locke, Staff Sergeant Saylor, and my closest friends, Mary, Chelsi, Destany, Nick, and my boyfriend who has put up with me through all my ups and downs, Michael. I’m not sure how or why he’s still with me, but he does.
Why am I sharing all of this with complete strangers? Because I truly regret being voiceless. If I had gone to the hospital when it first happened, maybe he’d be discharged. But I can’t keep having “what if” moments, that just brings me back a couple steps. All I can do is move forward, keep my head up, and stay strong with my amazing group of friends and my support system.
I’m now being promoted to a Corporal, I’m the best at my job, and life is looking up. I’m going to re-enlist, buy a new car, a new bike, and move to California. Unfortunately, not with Michael, but hey, that’s life
To all the victims out there, I hope I gave you a little strength about having a voice, because I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through.
PS. I hope I didn’t give anyone a bad taste in their mouth about service members, there are A LOT more good Marines than bad ones.