The Rape of a Female Cadet at West Point: Me: UPDATED
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 I and two of my roommates were raped at West Point. One roommate and I never reported it and one, I only recently learned, did report it after I left. Her rapist was never found or prosecuted.
I was raped by a cadet named David Wil Riggins. He is a Colonel in the Army today. The rape is the reason I left West Point. 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. If we failed to yell ‘Go Boys One’, senior West Point cadets simply gave us demerits and poor performance reports that ultimately could result in ‘walking the Area’, loss of promotion opportunities in senior year and ultimately, losing the chance to get the best appointments in the Army after graduation. The stakes were very real. 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 my rapist. 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. She later told me that almost none of the women who were raped from my era reported their rapes- I am in good, but sad company. I’m not sure why I didn’t and why I don’t. It just feels like old news- left far behind.
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 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. (Since writing this article, I found that two of my roommates were raped.) 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. I later learned that yet another of my roommates was also raped. That makes three of us roommates all raped at West Point, two of us never reporting it.
Sometimes I wonder about women in the military. 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. Not when they could be welcomed into the best civilian universities and careers without all the male hatred. Why bother? The Army didn’t support women when I was at West Point and it still doesn’t. That being the case, why waste beautiful lives on the U.S. Military when there are so many better choices for our daughters? I say, forget the military, ladies, they don’t want you; why bother wanting them?
Note 1) Many of you already know that Riggins sued me for writing his name in this article. I have not been directed to remove any articles or to not speak of anything by the judge. It is public knowledge now. He brought the lawsuit, not I. His name and the lawsuit, which includes this article are now public knowledge. I recieved an unfair, highly biased trial which I write about in other articles.
The jury didn’t even bother to follow their jury instructions and deliberate on a single piece of evidence- Juror #MarshallReinsdorf admitted this to #TomJackman of the #WashingtonPost, “Honestly, we thought who was telling the truth was too obvious to be discussing. We held a vote, and everybody believed the colonel. The only argument was how big the damages were going to be.” They didn’t bother reviewing a single piece of witness testimony, a single date, a single document, a single piece of Army regulation, the CID statements or a single bit of rape data that was provided by almost 20 eyewitnesses.
On top of that travesty of justice, Judge Ortiz refused to allow the jury to see the actual CID investigation results, which proved that they focused more on doubting Riggins innocence than on mine, thus allowing Riggins’ false statement that the CID results didn’t support MY story and allegations, to stand. They actually didn’t support HIS story and allegations- that is what was written on the promotion board letter that denied his promotion from the Secretary of the Army, McHugh to the Sec. of Defense. That was stricken off the letter. Thus, the Judge allowed his false version of the CID results to remain standing for the jury to see but didn’t allow us to show the true findings.
Judge Ortiz also allowed every lie about me, thus ‘slut shaming’ me for two entire days to the jury, but shockingly refused to allow a single one of my many witnesses- all ex cadet eye witnesses, to testify to his awful sexual harassment of female plebes under his authority, his blatant poisoning of the work atmosphere in his company through his loud and repeated misogynistic, abusive sexually charged outbursts, his statements that women didn’t belong at the Academy, his crude sexist statements from the stage where his band played, his sexist comments on his senior yearbook photo, his attempt to lure one witness to have sex while he was married, and everything else that showed his ‘sterling character’ was not so sterling after all. All the jury was allowed to hear about Riggins was his ‘heroic’ military career.
Meanwhile, I have the comments of three women right here on my blog who worked directly under him and the comment of one of his executive officers who claim that he is the biggest liar, manipulator, most unprofessional and sexist jerks they have ever known. One woman claimed that he ‘made her life a living hell’.
Riggins also failed his lie detector test that the Army gave him. When asked if he raped me, his results showed that he lied. That also was not seen by the jury. But it COULD be seen by the Sec. of the Army when he made his final decision concerning Riggins and his promotion. One has to wonder if that, alone, didn’t finalize the Sec.’s decision not to promote him.
None of this was allowed to be heard by the jury but every tiny detail of my life was allowed to be elaborated upon as if I was the biggest slut and liar in the world- even my sister’s lying testimony that was born out of an ancient family feud was allowed- how is that relevant, pray tell? That, combined with refusing to allow the jury to see the actual CID results denied me a fair trial. Add that to the fact that the jury admitted to the press that they didn’t bother even reviewing the evidence, which they were required to do by law in their jury instructions, and I can honestly say that my trial was a travesty of justice. Just as my rape was. Many thought I couldn’t ever get a fair trial in Virginia. The military is the lifeblood of that community. It’s just too easy to believe in a soldier’s innocence. But I wanted to give them a trial. That’s why I spent almost $200,000 for my defense. Looks like I spent it in vain- they didn’t even bother to listen to my case or review the evidence. Had they done so, they would have seen the incredible holes in Riggins’ story and found me innocent of all defamation charges.
I am now writing a book that will outline every piece of data, every CID statement, every piece of evidence from my case. Then, the PUBLIC can make up their mind as to who was lying and who was telling the truth. I am patient and the truth stands with me.