Eden, I am so sorry this happened to you and I am more sorry that it is so common.
I was assaulted by members of my squad in the army 11 years ago and then abused for months after. I married their favorite soldier to get out of it. I had two children with him and then I was called back in. I thought it would all be different because I wasn’t an idealistic teen anymore.
It wasn’t. The Army had changed but when a fellow deployed soldier tried, I was sent home just one month before deployment ended. This time I fought all the way up to Department of the Army. Then I joined a congressional action with 6,600 female Veterans. We won…..1.4 million in funding for more lights. They still refuse to safeguard DNA and evidence caches. They still promote accused rapists. They still tell the women it’s a man’s world. I was a fantastic soldier. I am now a less than successful and broken mother and divorcee. Those men who ruined so many lives are high ranking soldiers and leaders now and I’m nothing.
When I refuse to date and due to the nature of my fight and people who know what happened, I am told that I am damaged and need one of the men that reminds me of my attackers. They say they’ll “fix” me. But when I tell them I want justice they talk about the “good guys” and how it won’t change until women aren’t in the army.
I’ve given up making them change and instead went to researching and studying every general and politician. I’m now planning to unite women and take over everywhere. It won’t stop until men are not allowed power roles. It won’t change until men are prohibited from supervisory roles or the presidency or congress. I can’t think of any other way to fix it so this is all I focus on anymore. I used to believe we were equal and worked so hard to prove that I was capable and valuable to this man’s world. They defied my equality and now all I can think is that they need to be held to jobs they are talented in. Like music and art and invention. A reversal of what happened to women for thousands of years (only with women in power we won’t rape, murder, or harm them) is the only thing we haven’t tried. It’s all I want anymore.
I don’t have bad dreams anymore. I’m not scared to go to bed anymore. I don’t throw up when I’m trapped anymore. I don’t start crying when more than one man is in the room anymore. I’m getting my degree now. I’m raising my kids on my own now. I’m keeping goals in front of me now. But the only reason I haven’t quit is because I have the heaviest hatred sitting in my gut and I want to use it for a justice that men would be better under anyway. I don’t have anything else left. What do we do?