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Readers Beware: This is a look into my life that few have ever seen or even know about. If you are shocked by what you will learn, just know that I have come far since then, but the reasons I am writing about it now are all personal. It’s not for attention or pity, I am not accepting any of that. I am who I am today because of the things that have happened in my life. 

After I graduated Basic Training, my freedom pulsed through me in a constant high. I could be stationed anywhere in the world! I had schooling in Biloxi, Mississippi and then I would be handed a set of orders to anywhere. Anywhere. The roll of the dice feeling in that was as sporadic as I was and it made me crazy happy. I couldn’t wait to see where I would be headed. I dreamt of California, Germany, Spain, and dozens of other locations.

Once I was settled into my training course in Mississippi I began to make good friends and realize just how wonderful the military was going to be. They weren’t my immediate family, but they became family none the less. One night my 21 year old roommate Mandy and I decided to celebrate our A’s after a Friday afternoon test. We went out and had our belly buttons pierced and bought a big bottle of vodka. We went back to our room, turned the radio up and started partying.

I was underage and not much of a drinker. It didn’t take many drinks for me to start feeling the effects of the vodka. I had no idea at the time, that this night would remain with me for the rest of my life. I had a car and Mandy didn’t. Several drinks in, we ran out of Sprite. As intoxicated as I was, I decided that I would go and get some more. I planned on finding someone downstairs in the dorm to drive me to the gas station. When I got outside the dorms, I realized that it was much later than I had thought, and people were scarce. I was headed back upstairs when I spotted him. The cute Red Rope (leadership role in school that put him in charge of us) that led our flight to school every day.

In my best drunken saunter (which I am convinced was quite an adorable sight) I went up to this guy I had never talked to before and asked him to take me to get some Sprite. I clearly remember him smiling at me and telling me that he had been waiting for me to talk to him. I handed him my keys and we were off.

Once in my car, the alcohol started to pulse through my at an alarming rate. I could feel myself start to slip in and out of consciousness. Mr. Red Rope started talking about how all of us girls in tech school were the same. Since there were only 20 of us and hundreds of guys we got our pick when it came to dating. He thought this was ridiculous and it was ludicrous that they even let women learn to do the jobs we were learning to do in the Air Force.

Blacking in and out I could see that we had passed the convenient store and were headed out on the beach. I started trying desperately to focus but the vodka was winning. I was becoming very fearful at every word he muttered. He kept talking angrily about women in the military and parked the car. We were out in a deserted beach parking lot in the middle of the night. I pushed my door open, but was pinned in by my seatbelt. As I tried to undo it, he pulled my door closed and locked it. My coordination was no match for his.

My seatbelt held firm as he reclined my chair all the way back. I pushed at him and asked him what he was doing. But I knew. I knew what was about to happen to me and I shivered all the way to the core. The vodka was pulsing its way through me and panic fought to overcome the alcohol. I pushed at him with all that I had, which I am sure was a weak attempt against his 200 pounds. He kissed my neck and pawed me with his stupid hands while I cried ‘no no no’ over and over again. I looked out the back window of the car at the stars over the water, it seemed so perfect a world outside.

I closed my eyes and prayed that I would wake up from this. That he wouldn’t kill me here in this parking lot while I was too weak to defend myself. I prayed that if God got me out of this situation I would never put myself back in it. I thought about my parents. How disappointed they would be. I felt ashamed. His voice kept reminding me that I asked for this when I signed my papers to come in the military. I believed him. I closed my eyes tight while the tears fell.