MIND OVER MATTER, MIND OVER MATTER, IF YOU DON’T MIND, IT DON’T MATTER!!
That is a phrase I heard daily once I became a soldier in the United States Army, I come from a family of veterans starting with my grandfather, uncles, myself, and younger cousins whom are serving to this day. My grandfather would tell me stories of his military experiences while we would be cleaning fish or catching crawfish (I called them crawdads) in the creek wearing thigh high rain boots while standing in the middle of the water. I was so fascinated by his stories, he was in WWII stationed in Germany where he provided fuel to the Tuskegee Airman during the historic missions they flew in the war. I was honored to have a grandfather who served his country so when it was my time to graduate high school I knew I would follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and join the United States Army and serve my country too.
In the black community it was not a popular or smart idea to join THE WHITE MAN’S ARMY (that’s what the community called it) so when it’s learned that you joined you were not treated nicely for awhile but eventually it calmed down to a minimal. I didn’t care what people thought, I was always treated like an OUTSIDER in high school so the opinions of my peers meant nothing to me and I enlisted my senior year. I was so proud when I passed all the necessary requirements to join, I was determined to be the best soldier I could be and make my grandpa proud!
I arrived at the base in New Jersey with high hopes and dreams of being a good soldier, I was always the type of person to take the leadership role and to take the initiative when I see something that needed to be done, those actions caught the eye of my drill sergeant’s who decided to make me the PLATOON LEADER where I got to call cadence with my platoon as we marched everywhere we went. I was close with my drill sergeants, they were two black men I admired for their courage to serve in the military and they treated me like a little sister and very protective of me, they were like older brothers or uncles. One of them favored a younger Eddie Murphy, he was very good looking in his uniform and all the girls had a crush on him including me but I made sure to always act professional because he was my boss and I could get a dishonorable discharge for messing with a married man.
This particular day began like any other we trained, exercised, all the things to complete our day, my drill sergeant (Eddie look alike) asked me to meet him at a section of the base that was excluded I thought we were meeting to plan the next days events but when I got there he immediately threw me onto the bed and had sex with me AGAINST MY WILL, I was stunned, shocked, and angry I just FROZE IN FEAR, I COULDN’T MOVE SO I JUST LAID THERE WHILE HE VIOLATED ME, it seemed like it took hours for him to finish, I’m numb with all kinds of feelings and emotions running through me I was wandering how I was going to face him the next day and how I was going to keep this big secret to myself without my other drill sergeant finding out what happened.
I felt the same as I did when my dad molested me at 15. I felt shame, guilt, hurt, betrayal, anger, and embarrassment I couldn’t believe YET ANOTHER PERSON IN AUTHORITY OVER ME WAS HAVING SEX WITH ME WITHOUT MY CONSENT and I just had to go along with it in fear of retaliation or jail time at Ft Leavenworth. Once the assault ended, I ran to my barracks crying all the way wishing I could see my parents hoping they would come rescue me but I settled for jumping in the shower and scrubbing my body so hard I’m surprised I didn’t break the skin. I began to withdrawal within myself, avoiding alone time with my sergeant and at the same time I’m thinking “MIND OVER MATTER PRIVATE, MIND OVER MATTER, IF YOU DON’T MIND, IT DON’T MATTER! So I decided to put that experience in the back of my mind go straight into survival mode and continue my career in the army as if nothing happened.
The next time it happened we were on a weekend pass, a bunch of us pooled our monies together to rent adjoining rooms to party in, we were walking from room to room drinking and having fun when out of no where the same drill sergeant appeared walking down the balcony, we all spoke to him briefly and went about our fun. Everyone was drinking except me, so when my drill sergeant arrived he wanted to talk to me and like a FOOL I followed him downstairs to his hotel room thinking he was going to apologize for the previous assault but he didn’t, he just threw me down on his bed and assaulted me again. I thought about screaming but I changed my mind because I was fearful of what my peers would say if they found out so I KEPT QUIET AGAIN UNTIL HE FINISHED HIS BUSINESS then I left and the next thing I remember was being on the train riding back to the barracks. I showered and scrubbed my body just like I did previously, shoved it in the back of my mind and continued to live in this military life.
I’m operating in NUMBVILLE even more now and just when I thought it was over, GUESS WHAT? IT WASN’T! Once I graduated basic training I went to AIT to learn how to drive trucks I learned I was going to be stationed in Germany I was so excited because grandpa always told me stories of Germany and what it was like there for him so I was looking forward to getting away from my ASSAILANT FOREVER!! At least that’s what I thought, I wasn’t in Germany a year before my sergeant called me to the motorpool to check all vehicles for trash and to lock them up for the night, I was leaning into one of the vehicles when my sergeant came up behind me slapping my butt before he began fondling me while I tried to fight him off, it didn’t work because he quickly over powered me and sexually assaulted me. Here it is, I’ve been sexually assaulted by 2 men in authority over me just like my dad and uncle and I now must deal with the repercussions of these acts.
I became really promiscuous, I didn’t trust anyone with my heart, I treated my body like a SEALY POSTURPEDIC MATTRESS for every man who showed an interest, I never tried to get to know them on a personal level, in my mind I figured all they wanted was SEX so why waste time and energy JUST GET BUSY! So I did, looking back I’m really ashamed of my behavior I’ve asked God for forgiveness and He has forgiven me. I’m applying for disability benefits through the army from my MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT so I had to tell a therapists about all the trauma I’ve experienced since age 9. It was such an emotionally draining day, I cried so much as I recalled all the horrible things that’s happened to me my head was pounding I had no energy at all by the end of the session and for the rest of the day.
I felt like she understood what I was going through, she was very empathetic with me plus she was a Christian like me so she gave me biblical advice and a hug before I left her office once I got into my car, I cried some more before heading home with a SEVERE MIGRAINE HEADACHE. I don’t know how much the military will give me each month, whatever it is, it still wont be enough to make up for what happened to me, I’m torn about telling this story because of the PRIDE ASSOCIATED WITH BEING A SOLDIER, I’m proud to be a soldier in spite of my trauma it’s been apart of my identity for over 30 years and I’m proud to have served my country. I forgive my assailants, it’s mandatory that I do because Christ demands that we forgive and so I will. I’ll still be attending therapy to help cope with my PTSD, please continue to pray for me as I do for all of you my followers. BE BLESSED ALL DAY EVERY DAY