Saturday, September 13, 2014
GQ: Male Military Rape
“Son, Men Don’t Get Raped”
Sexual assault is alarmingly common in the U.S. military, and more than half of the victims are men. According to the Pentagon, thirty-eight military men are sexually assaulted every single day. These are the stories you never hear—because the culprits almost always go free, the survivors rarely speak, and no one in the military or Congress has done enough to stop it . . .
TRENT SMITH“HE WAS A SENIOR AIDE—HE HAD A DIRECT LINE TO THE TOP. BEING INVITED OVER TO HIS HOUSE, I JUST TOOK IT AS I SHOULD GO. LOOKING BACK, I ASK MYSELF, WHY DIDN’T YOU DO ANYTHING? IT WASN’T LIKE HE HELD ME DOWN OR TIED ME UP. I DIDN’T WANT TO CROSS HIM. I REALLY DIDN’T FEEL LIKE I HAD ANY CHOICE. I HAD JUST TURNED 19. IT COULD BE MY CAREER. I FROZE AND WENT ALONG WITH IT.”
TERRY NEALNAVY, 1975–77
The part that I remember before I passed out was somebody saying they were going to teach me a lesson.
RICHARD WELCHAIR FORCE AND ARMY, 1973–82
I was coming in and out of consciousness. He kept saying, "You're going to like this."
MATTHEW OWEN*ARMY, 1976–80
I heard one of them say, "Get that broom over there by the lockers."
GARY JONES*ARMY, 1984–86
At first I thought he was playing around. He managed to wrestle me onto my back, and I started freaking out. He pinned my arm above my head and my knee in the crook of his arm and covered my mouth with his right hand and looked at me and said, "You will not make a noise."
SAM MADRID*MARINES, 1962–68
When a gunnery sergeant tells you to take off your clothes, you better take off your clothes. You don't ask questions.
DANA CHIPMANJUDGE ADVOCATE GENERALARMY, 2009–13
The way we socialize people probably has some effect on the incidents. We cut your hair, and we give you the same clothes, and we tell you that you have no more privacy, you have no more individual rights—we're gonna take you down to your bare essence and then rebuild you in our image.
I still don't believe I didn't bring this on. I keep telling myself, If only I hadn't had a few beers that night. If only I hadn't invited him back to my room. I tried to resist. He was just so fucking strong.
There's nothing I could have done, except never have joined the military.
CHARLES BIGOARMY, 1966–69
I've told my psychologist, "Maybe it's my fault, because I'm gay." I was looking for friendship, companionship, some kind of emotional connection with somebody. They were predators. They knew what they saw in me that allowed them to be that way.
MICHAEL F. MATTHEWSAIR FORCE, 1973–85
Afterward they started kicking the shit out of me and said, "If you ever tell anybody, we'll come back and get you." But it was like the angels were singing, because I realized I wasn't going to die. Later I wished I had.
KOLE WELSHARMY, 2002–07
I had actually let the assault go, because I didn't want it to interfere with my career. I wanted to be an officer, and I just said, "Bad experience, won't let that happen again." But there was some residual damage. A month and a half later, I was brought into a room with about nine officers and told, "You've tested positive [for HIV]." I was removed from the military and signed out within a day. It was a complete shock.
JAMES ASBRANDPSYCHOLOGIST, SALT LAKE CITY VA
There's the fear that "if other people know this about me, well, then, my life is over. No one's gonna want to be around me. They'll know that I'm less of a man."
One of the doctors said to me afterward, "Son, men don't get raped."
JIM MCDONALD*ARMY, 1982–2004
I'm gonna have to cut this short. I'm not gonna be able to do this interview. This is really causing some flashbacks and triggers. I'm already having a panic attack. You're asking some serious questions, and I'd rather just cancel it here.
* Name changed.