The Rape of a Female Cadet at West Point: Me.

The first females graduated in 1980- I arrived in 1983.
The first females graduated in 1980- I arrived in 1983.

After reading this FOX article about the military’s push to bring rape numbers down, I felt the need to tell the story about a rape of a soldier I personally know:  that soldier is me.

The stats on rape in the military are MUCH worse than reported. How do I know? Because both I and my roommate were raped at West Point- and we never reported it. The man who raped me, Wil Riggins, is now a Colonel in the Army. The rape is the reason I left West Point. So, while his military career is soaring, I left mine far behind. I never told a soul there- not even the psychologists I was forced to see before I left.  All I wanted to do was get as far away from that place as I could.  I would move hell and high water to do it.  I just wanted to breeze through those interviews and be done with it all.  Even though it was possible for me to be forced into 5 years of military service as a private, I didn’t care.  I just needed to go.   So, I lied.   I must have broken some kind of speed record for out-processing from West Point- it took a mere 3 days.  I didn’t save a single memento- not my uniforms, not my insignia, not my hat, not anything.  I literally packed my few clothes and bolted.   (I regret this now.)  I was at the end of my third year- had my ring and my car.  West Point also required me to give back my class ring as I was no longer worthy of it.    I had nowhere to go (my disappointed mother told me not to come home if I quit) and I didn’t care.  There were so many incidents there that were unbearable (example:  I belonged to a company called B-1, “Boys One”, that took pride in running out all its women.  We women were forced to scream, “Go Boys One!”  Boys One still exists there) – but that rape was the last straw for me.   West Point was hell for women.

I thank God that for some reason, the Army didn’t need or want me to fulfill those 5 years.  Perhaps they sensed that there was more to the story than I told.  No one leaves after three years.  It doesn’t make sense.  The hard part is over by then- only senior year, with full privileges, remained.   In addition, after two years of a free education, all cadets sign a contract that says they will serve in the military for 5 years- as a private or as an officer.  So, if you quit, you end up serving as a private instead of a lieutenant- without a college degree.  Not really a logical choice, right?  That’s why my instantaneous decision to leave triggered the whole interview process with those psychologists.  They were kind and asked me if I had been raped.  But to go through some lengthy investigation (that would attract the scorn of the entire corps) when I was absolutely at the most fragile emotional state of my life wasn’t an option to me.  I needed to be gone.

I have thought about officially reporting this colonel- but I haven’t yet done so. I called West Point (several years ago) and found out that hundreds of women cadets are now reporting rapes that happened while I was there- almost 25 years later. I spoke to the female colonel there who encouraged me to officially file. I’m not sure why I didn’t and why I don’t. It just feels like old news- left far behind.

But I DID find him on social media.  In fact, I had forgotten him until I saw his smug face on Twitter and Facebook!  Now that made me mad.  That’s how I found out that he was now a colonel- ahhh… do you all remember the first rush we had when FB came online and allowed us to instantly connect with our old high school & college buddies?  Well, it also opened a few Pandora’s boxes, didn’t it?  Well, his wife shared that account. After I confronted him publicly about the rape on both sites, all social media sites with that jerk quickly disappeared. Which I found very satisfying. I have no doubt he had some explaining to do with his wife, whom he was dating at the time of the rape. I wonder if they are still married?  I feel sorry for her.

As indicated in the article, alcohol does play a major role in these rapes- I was out cold from stupidly drinking myself unconscious at Eisenhower Hall (the one place they let cadets let off steam with dancing and free beer- yes, FREE beer). Women- ESPECIALLY military women- do NOT over-drink with your buddies. I promise you, in the stunted sexual environment of the military, one of your so-called friends will take advantage. And you will be left shocked.  Especially because you only find out that you had been raped by certain ‘evidence’ that remains when you wake up.  Which means that the rapist also failed to use a condom.

My roommate was violently raped in her bed- and she did not report it. When I was at West Point, if you got raped, it actually was your fault. There was NO way to report it except to your direct company commander- of whom you were completely terrified. The culture at West Point, and I’m sure the entire military, is that you do not rat on other soldiers. If it is not a matter of ‘honor’ (ie, lying, cheating, stealing) then you keep your mouth shut. I didn’t even know that this type of rape was illegal- a crime. Why? Because no one told me!  Also, the male soldiers called all us women bitches & sluts anyway.   To report that you were that drunk and that you were raped while unconscious is to tell the world that you are a drunkard and a slut. Male cruelty at that point can drive many a woman to suicide. My roommate understood this pressure as well. Her attacker also went scott free.

Sometimes I wonder about women in the military. Gays too.  Now, ladies, don’t get me the wrong way.  I was an awesome soldier.  I was the best shot with the M-16 in my entire company (about 100 guys) and was one of the last to be killed in our simulated war training.  Women have the skills, alright.  My question is about mixing the sexes in that type of environment.

It is hard enough for our soldiers to fight a war and maintain discipline under duress.  Special, over the top training is absolutely necessary when ordering men into live battle.  Questioning orders or cowardliness won’t do at all.  Adding sexuality at the workplace just doesn’t seem like a good idea for hundreds of young, testosterone-pumped men who are trained to exert force day in and day out.  “Sensitivity training” and “Go Rip Your Enemy A New A-hole Training” don’t really go hand in hand, do they?   There is a MACHO in the military that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else- and it is necessary.   But is also a completely stunted environment for sexual maturity- both for men and women. Women are surrounded by a hundred lustful men who will do anything to get their attention- it can quite go to your head!  And it can lead to a severe lack of wisdom and caution.  It can even lead to what we used to call, “The Queen Bee Syndrome” where the few women who are there actually learn to compete with one another for all this male attention.  As I said, it is a completely unique environment.

Women can’t really be getting a great experience out of the whole thing either. While I still retain a couple of friendships from West Point, I have seen that most women leave the academies and service rather alone while the men make lifetime buddies. The military just seems geared to men. They like it. They make friends & lifelong loyalties there.  It seems to be the epitome of male accomplishment.  But West Point was a lonely place for me. I truly wonder what most women, if they were being completely honest, would say on the matter now.  Personally, I can tell you with 100% confidence that I would never recommend the military as a career choice for a woman.   I have discouraged several young, bright-eyed women throughout the years from making that choice.  So, maybe there is some redemption in that.

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46 comments

    • Thanks, Tara. I’m afraid that too many women know exactly what I am talking about for the sole reason that they have experienced it themselves. We need to teach our girls better and we need to teach our sons better. We have lost all common sense concerning the sexes. We have lost the wisdom that used to be so obvious. I know that I have and will continue to properly educate my children about sex and the strengths and weaknesses that lie within both.

  1. So sorry this happened to you….and so brave of you to tell about it.
    I am glad you were able to confront the lowlife on facebook and get some satisfaction when the scum closed out his social media accounts.

    • Dodo, the funny thing is that the only reason I even thought of him again was the advent of social media. Back at West Point, the idea of social media didn’t even exist. So he couldn’t possibly understand how very far and wide his crime could be publicized. It is divine justice. I truly shake my head at people.

  2. Hi Susan,

    I would like to talk to you about this issue, may I please have your email so I can speak with you personally?

    Thank you

  3. I just found your blog and read about your rape. My first reaction was that I got pissed. I just got back from my my 30 year reunion at West Point. We were the first class which had women in all 4 classes. My opinion was that the Academy did not know what to do with the women so we went through all sorts of nonsense. Now I was one of the few who had women in my squad and platoon. I sent your blog to my brother to get his opinion. He is your classmate. I’m sorry this happen to yo, but it sounds like through this ugliness, you got stronger and found Jesus. I am looking forward to reading your column in the future.

    • Thanks, Jon. That means a lot to me. Sadly, it is even worse today than it was back then. Now, when a cadet is raped, the rapist sends photos and commentary to other cadets. So the poor girl is exposed to the entire world and can not ever get it back. I would imagine that this would lead many to consider suicide. To me, the EASY answer is this: Change the Honor Code. If they put Respecting the Opposite Sex or some such clause in the Honor code, it would stop rape in its track. The Honor Code is the ONLY moral behavior cadets care about. Easy, easy fix.

  4. Wow, your story is amazing but, really shocking at the same time. I am currently a freshmen and a female too, but I want to go to West Point when I grow up. Do you still recommend me to go to West Point, other academies, or just somewhere else?
    Thanks and I hope you reply soon!

    • No, I would never recommend an Academy to women. Specifically because even if you are not raped, you will be harassed to the point where you will not have a great university experience. And now that ‘war’ seems to be Obama’s favorite word, why go? I promise you will HATE your experience and will probably get the worst of experiences from the worst males on earth. Men can be gentlemen. But they are not at the Academies. And if they are, they are too cowardly to stick up for a woman who is being harrassed. Don’t do it, girl. If you have the grades to go to West Point, you have the grades to get into any top notch school. The prestige isn’t worth it. Oh, and while all the men will come out with life long buddies, you will not leave that place with a single friend or connection that will help you in latter in life. While all the men will pull all sorts of strings to get their old buddies high positions, they will not do so for you. And the women don’t stick together. You will be utterly alone. Go elsewhere!

      But remember, when you go to Harvard, Yale or Princeton, please don’t buy the liberal horse crap they will shove down your throat on a daily basis. Go to church every week, read your bible daily and stay focused on Christ and you can’t go wrong! Good luck, young lady. I’m proud of your accomplishments. Don’t waste your precious self on those worst of men.

      Note: Over a year has gone by and I am reviewing my comment here. I regret my anger toward all the men at West Point. Most were great guys. One rapist should not be allowed to spoil the reputation of the very fine young men who go there.

      • Thanks for leaving a long and meaningful reply. I have some personal questions to ask. You have my e-mail right?
        First, just say hi or something so I know it’s you. ^(^_^)^
        Thanks!,
        ~Michelle Douangsy
        “Everything matters”

      • Perhaps you should rethink your thoughts and words about the women at West Point. As a graduate, I was not raped. I have met women AND men, who I will be friends with for the rest of my life, in addition to professional colleagues. You also told this woman not to go to a Service Academy because there was a chance she could have to “go to war,” that sort of tells of a lack of duty, commitment to something bigger than self, and if you’re not interested in service why go to a service academy.

        Rape happens on every college campus, not just in the military or at The Military Academy. Interestingly in the same breath you say that we need to end rape culture, you perpetuate that men and women shouldn’t serve together because “MACHO men” are trained to think that way.

        I respect that this is your blog and these are your opinions and experiences, but maybe consider that they are your experiences alone, and your generalizations come across as ignorant and misinformed. Anecdotes alone do not make evidence and one persons experience cant be said to summarize an entire institution, community or culture. Yours or your alleged attackers.

      • Hmmm, I don’t know what you are talking about, Kaneez. I never told a woman not to attend West Point because she ‘might go to war’. In fact, I have always felt that women would make EXCELLENT soldiers. Here is my comment to Andrew from below:

        “Andrew, I am all for segregated units of women. I have suggested this many times. I think women would make excellent reconnaissance teams, sniper teams, communications teams, infiltration teams, and on the front lines smoothing the path for our forces in urban areas by associating with the public and building relationships with women. They can and should be allowed on the front lines. But to mix them with the men’s units seems too counter productive. If I had free reign and were not hampered by politics, this is what I would do under my command. Have women who make up special units, highly specialized and useful in combat.”

        As for my lack of duty, what is this blog all about, pray tell? Do you work for free? Somehow I doubt it. I do. I work for nothing. Do you believe this is because no one will pay me? I laugh at you. I gave up a life of luxury as a DUTY to raise up fine citizens for this nation instead of farming them out to people who don’t give two figs out their character or their values. I gave up making more money than you will ever see in your lifetime, I will bet. Especially as you claim to be in the military. I HIGHLY doubt you would make a similar commitment for DUTY. Further, I have been offered money to write. I have turned down that money. WHY? because I swore, from the beginning of my blogging career, that I would never make a red dime from my blogging. Do you know why? Because I never wanted anyone to doubt the sincerity of my opinions. I somehow doubt you or most individuals’ sense of duty would go that far.

        What I really detest is when individuals like you, who know nothing about me, come onto my blog and dare to cast aspersions like that. It shows that you never considered the situation at all in the first place and simply wished to insult. It reveals your motivation. Which isn’t good, my friend.

        Now, to your advise about my advise. No, I won’t change it. I wouldn’t send any woman to an Academy. No. If a woman wants to join as an officer, better to go via ROTC and avoid the horror of the Academies. That is still my advice. I note that you didn’t bother leaving your name or email address. That makes you a COWARD- man or woman. I don’t know who you are- you could even be a man. You could be a woman. You could be a complete liar. You may never have attended an academy. A real person leaves a real name & address. Only a complete craven coward refuses to show themselves. I believe that if you really were a woman who graduated from an academy, you would be PROUD of your name. But, as it were, you are only a troll PRETENDING to be a graduate. So, be gone, little troll, and have a good day.

      • Hello Kaneez, I don’t think I have ever replied to you. I find it interesting that you call me ‘ignorant and misinformed’ about rape when you are the one who claims to have never been raped. If you have never been raped, then how can you claim to speak about rape culture at West Point or any other institution? I think that makes you look ignorant and misinformed, doesn’t it? Speak to what you know or have experienced, girl. Now, you are correct that not every woman gets raped and you are right that it happens at many civilian schools. Have I ever said otherwise? But if you are saying that West Point is the same as other civilian schools in terms of the sexual atmosphere, then you sound even more ignorant than I could ever sound! Just the fact that it was one female to nine men when I attended in 1983- 1986 made it inherently different. Any sociologist would tell you that. It had to. Add all the bizarre regulations that prevented healthy young men and women from normal dating and sexual relationships (ie, we couldn’t hold hands, we couldn’t put our arms around each other, we couldn’t have sex anywhere on West Point property, we couldn’t even display affection toward one another in public, we couldn’t hug each other, we couldn’t even close our doors for a moment of privacy), and it undoubtedly led to some very, very strange sexual situations and still does. It led and still leads to sexually perverted trists like humping under dark stairwells while terrified of being caught because getting caught meant almost certain expulsion from West Point. And you know that if you attended West Point. It led to the Queen Bee syndrome where the few women, instead of befriending one another, competed with one another to dazzle the most men. If any psychologist wanted to do the most fascinating study of human sexuality, all they have to do is visit West Point undercover as a cadet. They could win a nobel peace prize! It is not normal there. AND if you are saying that men are not aggressively against women at West Point, then I will just have to say you are in fierce denial or have some need to protect your alma mater because of pride. While I am proud to have been part of this institution, I can lie about its reality and neither should you. Women should be pressing their rights aggressively now, not backing down and condoning the type of behavior we are seeing on a daily basis as the Army is shedding colonels and generals involved in sexual misconduct. The days of the ‘Good ol’ Boys’ is coming to an end and I, personally, applaud it.

    • I would disagree, Titankiller. The service academies can be a good place for both men and women (the current First Captain at West Point is female). They can also be a great stepping stone into the military, which can be an excellent career for a male or female.

      However, that being said, before joining the military in any way, shape or form, you have to know what you are getting into. Understand that your rights as you know them cease to exist. No, people do not have the right to abuse you, and the UCMJ (our set of laws) has worked to overcome some of its deficiencies. However, there are still rough patches.

      If you do choose a military career, understand that you will be in an aggressive, assertive environment that has been traditionally alpha-male dominated. Also, understand that power in any shape corrupts, and that people who may start as your friends may turn out to become your enemies. As the blogger stated in her story, never let yourself get so drunk that you don’t know where you are, and be ready to face some sexism, some of it very blatant.

      If you are assertive and have courage, you can deal with a lot of these issues. I spent the first two years in the Army with a Team Leader who called me a chink on a regular basis. It didn’t bother me very much, names don’t tend to get me worked up. Over time, I earned respect and rank. But understand that sometimes the first step in your chain of command will not take action when you are wronged (mine never did, up through the BDE level). Sometimes there will be retaliation and the job will be nearly unbearable (someone else reported this dickhead, but I got the backblast from it). At the end of the day, you have to decide whether you love the Army enough to put it first and keep Soldiering on, or if it is just too much and you won’t reenlist. There is no way out once you are in! The blogger was very lucky in her case and that is certainly not the norm (at least from my understanding of West Point).

      In summary, the military is a great career with great opportunities that are unmatched anywhere else in the world. But understand that it is not a walk in the rose garden. There are cruel, sadistic, racist people in the military, and someday they may have power over you. I love the Army and loved being a Scout, so that came first for me. Other people couldn’t stand it and many left after their first enlistment in that unit. Being an officer is no different (well, you get paid more, but same dickheads, different rank). Go in, but don’t go in blind.

      • Andrew, I agree with most of what you said. Women will always face male aggression- in the workspace, in personal relationships and in the military. Any woman who wants to succeed today and not in some mythical future utopia which will never happen will have to understand this before she begins. However, sexual harrassment and rape are different than all other forms of aggression. The day you get raped in the behind by another soldier who overpowers you is the day you can say it is all the same, ok? There is something very dehumanizing about being penetrated by an aggressor. And worse, to see the aggressor get away with it. And worst of all, to have an institution that believes you ‘deserved’ it. Now that I am done tongue lashing you (lol), I will say that the sad reality is that while a guy can get that drunk, an intelligent woman should never. Is that fair? no. Is that life? yes.

        As for aggressive rape, it needs to be addressed by outside forces. The military brass will never confront it as it should. Never. The men need to shake in their collective boots before they think about raping someone. Soldiers all know how it is. And they will take advantage of that sexist environment. Especially men in power. In their minds, they say, “who will believe them?”. Nope. Has to be taken out of the Academies and out of the Army. I like that the Criminal Investigations Division now takes on the rape cases. At least this is outside the chain of command. But being under the military, they are driven too much by politics. The day rape no longer matters politically is the day that the CID stops being fully funded.

  5. Any type of abuse makes me mad as hell but when its in a supposed safe government environment it shouldn’t have never been an issue. I am so sorry that this has happened to you and all others looking for a great education. I know the issues of the military and rape cases, my wife has been in the army for over 12 years working with sharp, she has never been raped but the crap she has put up with stalking and verbal abuse. She’s an E7 and put up with sgt zakkos remarks and stalking, he has followed her into stores, made comments of masterbation of the mouth. I told her to file a complaint against him which was done but the investigation took its tole on her. The sgt’s in her platoon made going to work almost impossible for her and she said she would never file another complaint again. When the first investigation was finished it came back she was not a team player and she need to to get on board with the rest of the men. She refiled the complaint through the IG and again another investigation was started. The findings on this one was in her favor but its still haunting her. Other male military members have came up to her and said she destroyed Sgt Zakkos carreer. Not much has changed in 30 years. I have written to senator Claire McCaskil from Missouri who is working with the pentagon on how to address this problem. My biggest issue with her is she wants to leave all investigation in the hands of the military. Give me a dam break where did all this start in the first place. Nothing is going to improve until all abuse cases are removed from the chain of command and put in the civilian sector where the guilty individuals can be prosecuted and sued or put in prison. Please help all the other women in the military and write to this senator. I guess what gets me the most is how many times my wife has been called in to help raped male and female soldiers and these soldiers refused to filed because of the chain of command, its not working and it will never will work. I could go on about this but it would be an never ending story.

    • Thanks for your comment, Steve. All you have said is true. The chain of command will do NOTHING. What she needs to do is go directly to the CID (Criminal Investigation Division) with her complaints. THEY will act. Skip right over her chain of command. If she is counseling other rape victims, she should give them this advice. They are independent of the chain of command and love nothing better than to catch, deeply investigate and prosecute the bums who do this. I also want to add that this happens in the police force as well. I know. I was in one. I endured and reported sexual and physical harrassment by other police officers (they wanted to hang inappropriate posters in the unisex weight room. I was the only female who asked for them to be removed. They all surrounded me one day, right in front of all the other cops, and started taunting me. When I tried to get out of the circle of men, they shoved me back in the middle. They kept asking me, “Who do you think you are, bitch!?”, etc. And guess what? Not one police officer (men) who witnessed the event would testify to it. they covered it all up. The men originally confessed and said they would apologize- that alone was enough to punish them- their admission. But the chief allowed them to retract their admission when they found that I was unwilling to accept a mere apology and wanted them fired. All the men told me I was ‘ruining’ the men’s careers and hurting their children. Like it was MY fault that they were pigs! I know how it goes. I have worked many jobs where there are only men. This attitude won’t stop until it is taken away from the inner brass to discipline. All they are thinking about is unit cohesion and the cost of replacing the jerks who did these crimes. They also want all the male buddy-buddy camaraderie to continue because they believe it makes for a better, more unified force. But they are wrong. I don’t believe most men agree with stuff- but they also won’t stick their necks out against these very aggressive males- the last thing they want to be called is a ‘p-ssy’. Right?

  6. That was a very well written blog and unfortunately showed an amazing insight into military culture. I am sorry for what you went through. However there are those of us in the active army who have taken a stand. Unfortunately, from my experience, few commanders are willing to pursue these cases, even when NCOs and Soldiers bring them up. My feeling is that the laws are in place but the culture has to change from the top down.

  7. What do you think about female segregated units (like the Caracal BN in Israel). Historically speaking, these units have performed well and women serving together as sisters have formed stronger bonds. Naturally some males would be necessary for a time (until appropriate senior female leadership could be trained up), but I don’t think men would be as likely to rape in a unit where they are a definite minority.

    I personally support this idea. Historically, females have performed just as well in combat as males on many occasions (and sometimes have done better). Women bring some unique traits to the table that could be valuable. The women in the Caracal BN (I was an observer for a month or two), did an amazing job of working together to overcome their physical shortcomings and were singularly patriotic and proud to be there.

    I don’t think there is any reason that females should not be allowed to at least try. But I think that this forced gender integration without much forethought has created a cultural nightmare for the military. As you stated so succinctly in your article, male military culture can be hard on females. Nowhere will this be more true than in combat arms (I’m a nine year Scout myself). Just would be interested to hear your take. A lot of my female friends in the military agree with me that this would be a better option. Odd that politicians won’t listen to them, since they are the ones best positioned to comment on the issue.

    • Andrew, I am all for segregated units of women. I have suggested this many times. I think women would make excellent reconnaissance teams, sniper teams, communications teams, infiltration teams, and on the front lines smoothing the path for our forces in urban areas by associating with the public and building relationships with women. They can and should be allowed on the front lines. But to mix them with the men’s units seems too counter productive. If I had free reign and were not hampered by politics, this is what I would do under my command. Have women who make up special units, highly specialized and useful in combat.

  8. Ms. Shannon, I too am unabashedly conservative and applaud your blog. The courage it took to write this particular piece is a testament to the courage that you, as a soldier know only too well.

    God Bless YOU, and may you find comfort in the years ahead of you. As for the Col. (Will Riggins) his day of reckoning will be his FALL – – no glory for him, nor eternal paradise.

    PS: I went to Ladycliff College and my husband was H-1 class of 77 . . his words for Riggins would go against the rules of your blog, trust me they were not clean!!!

    Regards,

    Doreen

  9. I am so proud of you, sister, for all of your accomplishments st West Point. I too, was raped when I was twenty years old, and have tried to “heal,” but it changed me. I still have “anger issues,” but I feel they are totally justified, although people may try to make me feel guilty for showing this strong emoton. Isn’t it something that WE as women are forced to leave school, jobs, etc due to what some asshole, despicable man has done to us? We could stay, but the emotional problems (aftermath) of the rape do not allow us to. Too painful and enraging. It literally drove me mad. And yet we live in a rape culture. Talk about psychological warfare. Sex is everywhere we look-on billboards, tv, films, and places that I would rather not see it. Rape jokes, rape in mainstream films, in music, tv is everywhere. Seems to me like “they” are trying quite hard to normalize this atrocity. This evil bs is a major factor to femicide. It breaks us down psychologically. That’s what men ultimately want. They do not blink an eye at the fact that these rapists and obvious contributers of trying to”keep us women in our places” kills. They know this. If they cared about us ( daughters, mothers, aunts, “friends,” etc) this simply would not be happening. Rape is an epidemic in this country and all over the world. I feel for you and your roommate. I admire you for following your dreams until some hard-on comes along and does what he feels he is entitled to-rape. Rape is not sex, it is a nasty form of violence, control, and hatred. I am a pseudo separatist due to my life’s experiences with the opposite sex. My take on male “friends!?” Why bother. They’ll never see us as their equals, and will be working slowly (or quickly) on getting in our pants. I know from experience, and no one can take that away from me. Guys, please don’t comment on my truths. This is how I feel, and I am not looking to debate it, and I don’t have the energy to defend vicious put-downs. We all have the right to free speech, right? Right??!!

    • Hi Jennie, I’m sorry that I never replied to you!! Although this is impossibly late, allow me to do so now. I want to say one thing to you- there is no ‘They’ out there. You can’t lump all men into one, nasty group because of the actions of a few horrible men. There are wonderful, loyal, loving, self sacrificing and honorable men who would jump on a grenade to save a woman’s life. I know many such men. Please don’t allow one man’s action to steal your humanity. Or your love of men. This is to allow him to have total victory over you. I mean this in the most sincere way. One of the worst outcomes of abuse is to REACT and to live in permanent reaction toward your abuser and abuse. For example, if a child is terribly abused, they can grow up to negatively REACT in two ways: 1) they refuse to ever discipline their children out of terrible fear of abusing them -or- 2) they beat and abuse their children because that is what they learned. BOTH are child abuse and both lead to a terrible outcome for their kids. And both are prisons for the adult who was abused as a kid. The only victory for that kid who was abused is to FORGIVE his parent and then, learn how to be a good parent through other means- books, other role models, classes, etc. And then, the kid-turned-adult must put into practice what they have learned and fight against the ‘natural’ urges of fear/anger that might emerge as result of their abuse.

      Your abuse is no different. You are now living in permanent REACTION to it. A woman can either continue allowing a man to beat her or she can completely cut all men out of her life- either one is a horrible NEGATIVE RESULT of being abused. Either way, YOU LOSE. You DESERVE a beautiful, loving relationship with a man, Jennie. You can’t let your rapist steal this away from your life. Your VICTORY comes as a result of your forgiveness toward him. Does that mean you will ever condone his actions or feel gently toward him? no, probably not. But I know that I feel no malice toward my rapist. In fact, I wish he would find Christ and be saved. For his own good. Also, for mine. If he repented, he would apologize. Then, it would all be over. He would drop the suit, hopefully pay back the money he has forced my husband and I to pray for this frivolous lawsuit and call it done. I don’t think he will repent- but I hope for it. Short of that, I don’t feel anything toward him- and this has set me free. Heck, I feel more anger and disgust toward his lawyer! lol. I feel his lawyer is more to blame for this suit than HE is. It is HIS counsel that is making this suit continue. Especially since Riggins will lose ultimately. But Riggins is believing this lawyer who will get his money one way or the other. But there is a sucker born every day. Riggins was never the sharpest tool in the shed if my memory serves me. YOU need to let this rapist go. And then, you need to put men in perspective and understand that MOST men desire to make women happy- they are far from violent- they DESIRE the love and softness of women and desire to return it. PLEASE reconsider your feelings. Jennie, from one woman to another, I beg you to consider Christ as your Salvation. In HIM are all your answers. Go to HIM and you will find the peace and joy that pass all human understanding. I can witness to this fact as I am living it today. Bless you, Jennie. Write to me and tell me how you are doing… Susan

  10. Powerful story. What if all of the bright men and women who get appointments to West Point redirected their amazing skills to peacekeeping?

    In 2014 Brad Pitt starred in the war film, Fury, called by some “war porn” in which the German Tiger tank and Sherman tank soldiers are totally unaware that the tank track invented by Benjamin Holt in Stockton, California, for farming had been converted to weapon platforms and that Holt’s company would receive through international patents royalties by the warring sides. In this environment there is only one question: “Would you rather be a hammer or a nail?”

    Where every tool is a hammer or nail sanity is absent and life is reduced to….well, you know.

    When the film Fury premiered at Washington D.C.’s new cathedral to journalism, the Newseum, with General’s Colin Powell and Casey in attendance, no one mentioned that Pitt’s dramatization of the execution of a German soldier was a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions or that the soldier who was being forced to participate in the action had every right as you did at West Point to protest…..hell…..to turn the gun on Pitt’s character!

    Was this what Col. Theodore Westhusing protested to General David Petraeus whose biographer was not only Paula Broadwell, but the Washington Post’s Vernon Loeb whose handling of the blatant journalistic fraud of the Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch stories led him like your attacker, now a colonel, finds himself as the managing editor of the Houston Chronicle? I have made it a point of asking every history teacher I meet “who is General Smedley Darlington Butler?” I am never disappointed. They’ve never heard of him. Most don’t know of Henry Van Ness Boynton, either. And so it goes. I apologize for what happened to you at West Point. Will things change without your facing, confronting your oppressor? Jesus said that if someone strikes your cheek, turn to them the other. That means that you must squarely face them eyeball to eyeball. This may not significantly change human nature, but it might change one person’s and in a war of ideas….changing only one may be all we can hope for.

    • William, hmmm, I’ve read over your question concerning Col. Theodore Westhusing several times now and every time am left befuddled! I’m sorry! Please shorten that sentence and clarify! I am truly interested in what you are trying to say here. Please rewrite and help me to understand your point. I’m not sure how this relates to my situation. An interesting take on Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek, however.

      I want you to know that I go very reluctantly to trial. He has forced it upon me- to his detriment, I’m sure. While he could have walked away with an honorable (ha) discharge on a full colonel’s pension, his quest for my blood will cost him everything. I am forced to now prove, in a court of law, that he raped me. I’m not sure why he would risk this with his life and his family but satan blinds people. Revenge never works out for anyone- even the villains in the cartoons.

      • Well, I had heard. But of course, his lawyer lied to me. Is he still working? Is he in the Army at all? Or has he left entirely? By the way, are you the one who wrote to me awhile back and wanted to help me out? I am looking for that person. Susan

  11. I just saw a segment on the news tonight about your story. I just want you to know that I find it sickening that this man is trying to sue you. Why would you randomly come out of the blue with this accusation? What would it serve you? You needed justice. This article is so very true about the military culture. I was also in the Army but as enlisted. You are right that the whole instution is geared toward men. I have to say that before my ets they did get a little bit stricter about sexual comments and what not. However, it still happened. I hope that guy gets what he deserves.

    • Thanks so much, Angie. Yes, as if the rape weren’t enough, right? As if getting away with it weren’t enough, right? I never got to see the interview as I am on the West Coast- it only aired on the East Coast. I am losing everything because of this law suit: my home, my retirement savings, everything. He is hoping that I run out of money before this lawsuit gets to court. But I am doing everything I can to dig up enough money to keep on fighting him. If I can hang on until I make it to court, I will win because all the facts are on my side. He has told so many lies between his current account and that which he gave to the Army in the official investigation that he will get hammered in court. But this suit is already forcing us to mortgage our home. My husband already has taken a second job. I am about to take a job and leave my kids alone at home. But I am determined that this rapist will not win. Not this time. I’ve had enough of this. He will not win- no more, I say. No more. This time, a rapist has messed with the wrong woman. I will stand for ALL WOMEN this time.

  12. Ha! Has everyone ever noted that my detractors never leave their real names or email addresses? That is because they are COWARDS of the first degree. Craven cowards. Make note of that, my friends. Make note that I leave my photo and name for all to see. I do not fear the light, nor the opinion of men. This is because I speak the truth and the truth will sustain the evaluation of the day. Only those who fear evaluation will scurry away into the night so that their deeds remain hidden. Hey, who said that??? hmmmm…..

    • I was a supporter, not a detractor. You would not have recognized my last name since it has changed since plebe year. I wanted to contact you in private to catch up. I still have the card you gave me when I jumped from the helicopter. Take care. I realize you are on the defensive. It is only natural with the law suit. Good luck to you.

      • No problem, Mary, as I said, my comment wasn’t for you, it was for the others who leave names like, ‘onetoknowone’ or ‘pantsonfire’, etc. I didn’t even see your comments, yet. I’m pretty sure who you are as there can only be one Mary from plebe year!! lol. read my other comment to you! Susan

    • Hi Mary, Yes! Oh, I don’t think I leveled any comments at you, did I? That comment was for other individuals, not you. I believe I know who you are and I would love to talk to you. Is this your email address? If so, let me know. I will write to you directly. Or, the next time you write to me, just give me an email or phone or however you want to talk and I will use it. I won’t publish that comment. I view every comment before I publish it. Thanks, Mary. Talk to you soon- can’t wait! Susan

  13. Dear Susan: If you prevail in the lawsuit, don’t you get awarded your legal fee’s back? I am almost sure that you can even win the case and possibly get it dismissed during Summary Judgement phase.

    Kindest best regards,

    Al

    One of your supporters
    and Veteran

    • Hello, Alvaro, actually, because this is in VA, I’m not sure that is available to me. Unfortunately. The laws need to change. I wish I could talk more about my case but until it is over, I can’t. Someday, I hope to be able to talk more about the whole experience- especially to help other women when they get into the same position as me. There are definitely do’s and don’ts for women to know when you get into this situation in order to properly protect yourself legally. The law can be treacherous- as can the entire process. Without the proper foreknowledge, a woman can lose her rights without even realizing it. I hope that I can help women someday with all that. But thank you for your concern. Your prayers would be so helpful. With God, everything is possible. With God, I need nothing else.

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