Thursday, March 4, 2010

Young man falsely accused of rape tells False Rape Society his gripping story

We're keeping this young man's name anonymous.  His story is powerful and gripping.  I thank him for sharing it with us, and I wish we could encourage him.

Hi. I am 24 years old and currently a veteran of the armed forces. I have served in Iraq twice in the regular army as a combat engineer (infantry with explosives, basically your a jack of all trades). I got out of the army a couple of months ago and I am currently in college.

My story started last summer when we got back from Iraq. My best friend and I went to a night club and long story short I had sex with a woman. This woman was a female soldier and ended up being late to work the next morning. I was on leave at the time, so I didn't have to go too work. She accused me of raping her, because she was going to show up to work drunk and late. This is a huge issue in the armed forces, where you just can't call off work -- it would be considered AWOL (absent without leave) or even more serious in cases of wartime, desertion (we are currently at war).

My friend and I were arrested, he was later released. I had to wait at the mp station until 1pm (this all started around 6:30-7am) until CID showed up. The CID agent tried to get me to talk to him, which probably would have been the dumbest thing I could ever do. I really wanted to though, I just wanted to scream it out loud I didn't do this, I didn't rape anybody. I wisely said, "I should probably talk to a lawyer." I was taken to the post clinic where I had a rape kit performed.

To the unknowning, let me explain what this means.... They entered my barracks room found a pt shirt and shorts (army workout clothes -- think black short shorts and a gray t shirt with a word "ARMY" written in black on the chest).  They, of course, couldn't find pt shoes (running shoes) because all my stuff was still at the bottom of my duffle bag (we had just gotten back from Iraq), so they grabbed a pair of crocs. I was taken to a doctor's waiting room, I was told to completely strip naked. While I was naked the CID agent took pictures of every part of me. The doctor then swabbed my penis 2-3 times, then pulled hair from every part of my body. The CID agent took all my clothes, and gave me my army pt shirt and shorts and my crocs. I was then taken to his car where we went to the CID station.

At the CID station I was fingerprinted, and told to sit in a room and wait. One hour later he came for me and took me to my units staff duty office. I was given a protection from abuse paper which said I could not come in contact with her or my best friend. I was told I was no longer on leave and I had to report to work tomorrow at 6:30am. This all ended for me that day around 3pm. I will never forget the look the staff duty nco (non commisioned officer, aka sergeant) and the officers gave me. Like I was some kind of worm, dogshit on the bottom of there shoes.

In the past I have had problems with alcohol.  I fixed it and got some healthy drinking habits. This of course blew the lid off of all of that. No one in my platoon was back from leave yet, so I had nobody to talk to. I just had to take the stares, the talking under the breath I heard as I walked past a group of soldiers. Someone started a rumor that when I was at the MP station, someone asked if I raped her and I said, "yeah I did it." That probably sounds ridiculous to you but soldiers gossip about 10x more, and harder, than any episode of "Desperate Housewives"/"Sex In The City" you have ever seen.

I would go out alone and not talk too anybody, just drink my ass off. The army lawyer I was given explained to me that I would probably win my court martial when it happened. It was going to happen because army prosecutors in cases of sexual assault/rape HAVE to take it too court martial. Unless you proved you weren't even there when the rape occured, or the victim recants. He told me he had spoken to CID and they aren't sure about her story so they might ask me to take a polygraph. I was very skeptical about a polygraph.

The reasons I was skeptical, that's easy, I was torturing myself. I would drink and think about it constantly, I thought maybe I had done it? What if she was black-out drunk?  What if she had come out of her black-out with me on top of her? Maybe someone actually thought that I raped her? I went over and over in my mind about that . . . . I am an intelligent person, I know from watching the History Channel and the Discovery Channel as a child what a polygraph is and how it worked. I just thought about it and thought about it over and over.

So basically in the army unless a victim recants, if you were there or had relations with her, it is going to court martial. The army lawyer told me he might as well specialize in this field. He has had 10ish in the time that he came to the post. He went on to explain every single case he has won. He was trying to convince the prosecutor downstairs to stop taking them to court martial.

I hated women because of this, I would go out to bars at night and not talk to anybody. I even was propositioned a few times by attractive women, I told them all to go away and leave me alone. I was very rude about this, the women would usually respond that I was a faggot bla bla bla. Like I said, I was very rude and deserved that response. I had this fear and it continues to this day of this happening again.

My platoon got back from leave and I once again had people to talk too. No one could believe it, my first sergeant, whom I trusted, took me to his car and had me explain the story. He told me he knows I didn't do it and wouldn't tell anyone even if CID came calling. The reason for this is, once again, the army rumor mill. My lawyer told me not too talk to anybody about the case. Let's say I told Sergeant so-so, who later on while playing x box and drinking a beer tells specialist snuffy, who while at the motor pool the next day tells Private Jack and Private Black and it turns into some crazy story. CID can then use that story in their investigation, there are no secrets in the military.

I was stop-lossed for my second deployment to Iraq. I really should have been out of the military one plus year ago. I should have been able to waive the waiting 90 days after a deployment and been able to get out in. like, a month. My plan was to do this and get out in time for the summer semester in college. It was now almost October, the investigation had been going on for 3-4 months now. I was at a hospital with my squad leader for a doctor's appointment. He was about to leave and was going to pick me up in an hour or so when he came back for some reason. He told me the investigation was over the victim had recanted, my unit had just gotten the call. It felt like such a weight was off my shoulders.

I mean when you see someone on the news accused of a crime you either think they're guilty and condemn them or think there innocent and you empathize. If you know the person and they're a friend, you console them. You say stuff like "the truth will come out, bro," and you're shocked if they are found guilty. However you don't think about it any farther than that. When I started thinking about it, I realized wow, I could be put in jail for 20+ years for something I did not do. I would be in Fort Leavenworth, my life completely over. When I got out I would have to register as a sex offender. I would literally have to move to Mexico to live anything like a normal life.

It wasn't over for me yet though. My lawyer called my unit and said he needed to speak with me to tell me all the details. As I walked into his office he was screaming at someone on the phone. He was actually yelling expletives into the phone, I was told to wait outside. As I was ushered into the office he told me to sit down and started reading her statement. In a nutshell it basically said, "I was late and I didn't think IT was going to be a big deal" (meaning, "it would not be a big deal if I said he raped me so I wouldn't get in trouble").

Not a fucking big deal? I felt like ripping shit apart, not a fucking big deal?  You nearly ruined my entire fucking life. I drink all the fucking time, habitually now, I can't bring myself to even talk to women, I fear them. I am a complete and total shut-in, I don't even go out anymore. I just sit in my room drinking and listening to music and playing fucking World of Warcraft. The leadership in my platoon wants me to get out ASAP because I show up in the morning hungover and smelling like an open bar.

He went on to explain that he was screaming into the phone because even after that statement CID wanted to pursue charges of aggravated sexual assault. Which is a lesser charge of rape, I believe that is the charge he said, but it's been a few months. He went on to explain it's completely not legal, it's just the army and their policy on sexual assault and rape in the military. Like I said before, its usually in every case going to go to court martial. With her statement there is absolutely no way I could lose. He went on to say that he had teamed up with the prosecutor on this and they both told CID that it was illegal what they were doing. The prosecutor was extremely angry because this would have been another case he would of had too bring to trial and lose.

I was told that everything was dropped after a few more phone calls the lawyer made. I was honorably discharged from the military in October. I have been out of the military now for almost half a year and currently a college student.

I don't go out anymore, I haven't been to a bar since I was in the military. I haven't had sex with a woman or even hit on anybody since the false allegations. I sit alone on weekends drinking a bottle of scotch and putting off school work until the last possible second. I sometimes miss class because my dumbass thinks, well, I can just have a glass or two and wake up at 6 in the morning and be at school by 8. I know there's something wrong with me, I just don't know where to go for help.

I figured you could probably post this story on your blog and it could be another piece of evidence why these laws need to be changed.

Nothing happened signifigant to the woman, she got an article 15 for being drunk on duty. Thats just 15 days of restriction and extra duty.

I went through a personal hell for four months. She cost the military probably upwards of 50+ thousand dollars.

Think about the expense, the whole process of an investigation. That's hundreds of hours in processing and investigating. Everything would have to be checked and double-checked. No one wants a case to be thrown out because something wasn't done properly during the investigation. That's several DNA tests on her clothes, the bedsheets, my clothes, my friend's clothes. Disease checks on everything that could be transmitted by fluid exchange. That's lab time that could be used to process something else, like a murder. Furthermore, if this had gone forward, the costs of a full military court martial.

To determine whether or not a woman was raped by someone there are a few things they look at. First it's the character of the alleged victim. Does she appear truthful, visibly hurt, emotionally upset etc. They look at how sexually promiscous she is, which feminists say violates women's rights. The woman who accused me I later learned had been through half of our sister engineer company. They had gotten back from Iraq a few months before we did. The police also look at the evidence. For example vaginal tears caused by lack of lubrication or rough sex. Bruises, scratches, marks etc. the victim may have received from the alleged perp. DNA evidence, like semen that proves you had sex with that person. The police then re-question the victim several times to make sure her story is consistent.

The problem with all of this is every allegation of rape is taken deadly serious. Also, the majority of evidence in a rape case can be caused by rough sex. Now note that I am not talking about some unnamed person dragging a woman down a dark alley, beating the shit out of her then raping her. In the vast majority of rape cases this doesn't happen. The problem is anything in a rape case can be DAMNING evidence for the accused. It is looked down upon by juries for attacking the character of an alleged victim. If done wrong you might have just put your client in prison. The victim's appearance, age, gender, race, and occupation all work against the accused. Imagine a vanilla white, Jessica Simpson look-alike, daughter of a southern baptist preacher accuses someone of rape? The problem with this crime is it usually happens behind closed doors and the truth of the matter is you never really know.

Thanks for reading my story.