This is what happened! I had to report to the navy ship Labor Day weekend per my orders after graduating being just 18 years of age. Upon arriving to the ship I was greeted to a dirty looking ship, wasn’t anything I imagined. The on duty officer informed me that I wasn’t actually due till Tuesday because of the holiday and that there wasn’t anyone to sign me in. He said they could store my sea bag and other items but I couldn’t stay on board. A group of shipmates were leaving the ship and were waiting close by the gangplank and over heard the conversation. They invited me to go hang out with them for the weekend. I thought this was a nice bunch of guys wanting to hang out with me and I chose to go with them.
Now the station of the ship is in Earle, NJ and is very close to New York City. We took a bus into NYC and we got adjoining rooms at the Army and Navy hotel. These guys were fairly cool, although they didn’t really add me into all to their conversations, but I was new and didn’t really mind. After a while we started drinking. After a few mixed drinks for some reason I blacked out. I have drank enough to know my limit and that was way too early for me to even black out. Honestly I have never blacked out before or even in the years after that I have drank. I woke up startled kind of groggy with the feeling of warmth and like I was with a woman. I looked up and one of my shipmates was masturbating above my face, another shipmate was performing oral sex to me while another one was doing it to him and around there were men’s sex toys.
I freaked out, pushed him off me and struggled to get to my feet. My pants and underwear were pulled down to my ankles and I was dizzy and confused. I was screaming, crying and finally made it to the bathroom, the whole time they were telling me it was just a joke, nothing happened, come back. I hid myself in the bathroom and washed my face over and over again. I was feeling so dirty. I was grossed out. I had never experienced such a thing before. I was scared to death. They kept telling me that it was all right, come out of the bathroom. It was just something they do to all the new guys. This went on for hours, I was so shocked, and scared I refused to come out. I ended up sleeping on the bathroom floor and when I got up they let me leave. They said that if I told they would deny it and then find and kill me. I took a bus out of the city and stared out the window confused.
I was treated like the enemy, was yelled at told I was a liar, mamma’s boy and that I was home sick. The whole time I was disgusted with myself. The commander told me that it was because I drank and I was lucky to not get in trouble for underage drinking that I thought was ridiculous as I was old enough to fight and die in war but not old enough to drink a Bud. I was given a bunk and locker and told to store my stuff and to shut up and never speak again about my drunken lies.
For a few days I tried acting normal, but it was very difficult to do. Everyone ignored me and that made things even harder. I was given a job helping maintain the back half of the ship. Cleaning, picking up, and fixing ropes .Etc. A few of the same shipmates who attacked me worked with me and that also increased my stress level. After about 3 to 4 days it happened to me again. Those who attacked me were known as the twin towers. Both guys were 6ft5 230-250lbs. They pulled me out of my bunk and forced me to perform oral sex. Nobody who slept beside me tried to help at all. They were just as scared as I was.
In the morning I reported it to the Master at Arms and once again told I was a liar, this doesn’t happen on this ship, to let it go and return back to work. He even called me a sissy. This continued to be an every night thing, dragged out of bed, 2 to 6 shipmates would take turns sexually assaulting me, forced me to endure horrible acts to them or to myself. I would every day report it and every day but I was told to leave and go to work. After a few weeks I was so terrified and couldn’t get anyone to help me I attempted to hang myself. I used a cord and made a knot but it didn’t work. What i got was a bruised neck and wound in my face from the bulkhead. When the guys released me I got no sympathy but was told to go to the sick bay where I was basically ignored. I was tired, alone, scared, prepared to die. I was messing up badly in my work, falling asleep, reporting late since I was drained and tired so was getting reprimanded and disciplined as well.
I had nobody that would listen to me, I was alone and dealing with rapes and acts done to me that no one should ever endure! Finally ashamed, beaten, and lost beyond belief I called home. My family told me to do the one thing they always told me never to do, leave! So I packed some things walked off the ship and went AWOL, took a bus home where I divulged what had happened to me.
My father took me to meet our Congressman John Petterson from Utica, NY. I shared my story with him. At this time I still couldn’t share all the sordid details with my family since I was ashamed and felt in some way it was my fault and that somehow I let them down. The Congressman said “off the record, don’t go back until its safe”, so I didn’t. I stayed U/A. The congressman instigated a massive Congressional Investigation on my behalf and many other victims came forward. It became a media circus. Although my name was never mentioned, I was known as ‘Victim E” in the Navy Sex scandal I began to fear for my life. This behavior in the Armed Services was more common place than I had ever imagined
I started hiding out in garages, abandoned buildings, anywhere else rather than home and nowhere long enough that they could find me. I was always looking over my shoulder as the ranking officers that were aware that this was happening and took no action were being investigated and brought to answer for their crimes. I however though I would put my family in trouble if stayed at home. I was shoplifting food and more to survive. There was no victims support whilst the investigation was in full swing and finally I go into trouble with the law arrested for petty larceny and was released on bail. It wasn’t long till I was spiraling out of control turning to alcohol and drugs to try and forget the pain that was tormenting my soul on a daily basis. My crimes got worse and finally I was sent to jail.
I am now doing my time but am still tormented as the perpetrators of these brutal crimes on me were removed from the service but I have never been told whether or not they served time. The Officers were publicly criticized for their inaction and severely reprimanded but were not outed and to this day my old Commander still serves. Now awaiting my appeal and for the first time in years clean and sober still to this day I can’t take my pants down without remembering the terrible ordeal.
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