A big part of my job in the military dealt with secrets. In my personal life I held secrets close that I shouldn't have. I was raped twice. Both times I kept it secret until it was too late. The first was by someone I loved shortly after I was assigned to my unit. My husband. I waited six weeks, until he left town to report it. Then the DA decided they didn't have enough evidence to prosecute. I was a mess after I reported the rape. For two years, I could barely function. I almost got kicked out of the Army several times. Prior to the rape I had gone to my chain of command three times and told them I was afraid my husband was going to hurt me. I was told I was being overly sensitive, and to just get a divorce. I was weak afterwords, I didn't care if I lived or died. I didn't sleep or eat for weeks at a time. I had trouble remembering things, which is why I was always in trouble. No punishment they could dream up could get through to me, and punishment was all they understood.
A short time later I was assigned a roommate. She was raped by our acting platoon sergeant. All of the junior enlisted, including me, banded together to provide evidence against him. Everyone had had incidents with him at some point or another. He regularly referred to every female in the platoon in general as whores. My evidence perhaps was most damning. I was still weak but I felt that by helping this girl I could somehow vindicate my own experience. Because of this one of the platoon sergeants underlings came after me. He threatened me, intimidated me, and did everything he could to get me to retract my statement. I didn't care. I was weak, but remember I didn't give a damn what they did to me. I reported him less than an hour after he left. Incidentally the unit tried to get the girl who was raped up on charges of adultery because the platoon sergeant was married. Oh the joys of military law. She ended up being given a rehabilitative transfer to another unit.
The rest of my life was a blur, until Iraq. I got drunk, got in trouble. It was like falling asleep drunk and waking up in Iraq with no idea how you'd gotten there. Talk about a wake up call. I had a new team then, and for the first time I had a leader who stuck up for me. He told the rest of the chain of command who thought I was a waste of time to shove it. He punished me no less than any of the others, but it finally got through to me because for the first time I wanted his respect. It was the last time I trusted an NCO. He saw some of the harassment I suffered, and began the indoctrination of "We must get along with the infantry." I believed him, and because I wanted him to be proud of me, I suffered the rest in silence. When I was raped the second time, I didn't say a damn thing. Hell I didn't remember most of it. I was on some sort of medication at the time, which knocked me out cold. I remember waking up in the middle of it, and trying to say something before passing out again. The rest unfortunately I remember all to well. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with hands under my clothes and fighting them off as quietly as possible. I remember laying down exhausted on a seat in one of our trucks and drifting off to sleep for a moment when a hand grabbed my crotch. I remember pulling guard duty with other soldiers in the middle of the night, spending the entire guard shift trying to keep them off me. So many secrets I kept. I thought I was being strong. I was doing my job with all of this shit going on. People were dying literally on a daily basis, and I kept my head in my work, ignoring the rest. Toward the end I started falling apart. I couldn't handle being surrounded by enemies. I couldn't handle being betrayed by my team, by the one NCO I trusted. I thought I was losing my mind. My work was superior though. In that respect, I had succeeded. I did everything I could to keep those bastards alive.
Secrets. Humiliation. Shame. I hate secrets. I hate watching bad people get away with doing bad things to good people. All those secrets I kept could have ruined the careers of a lot of people. Maybe could have helped some other girl from suffering the same fate I did. I just wasn't strong enough to do it. All I could do was survive. Barely.