Going Over the Evidence


So Joan kept telling me that I have crazy evidence for when I file my Comp & Pen. I didn’t believe her. I do have this big accordion file that I have kept all these years, full of stuff about my last unit. I kept it because when I filed the sexual harassment charge against Ranger Wags, my 1SG, I was really afraid for my life.

I knew I had counseling statements in that file, and a 50 page typed document of everything I had endured in that unit, which I sent to the Inspector General’s office 12 years ago, which caused a large investigation of my unit. I also knew that I had tapes of my Commander violating not only standard operating procedure, but also my civil rights. I also had all my medical records, both military and civilian. But because it has been such a painful experience, I just refuse to go through it.

Last weekend I spent it with Joan, for the Legion Riders Poker Run, and I brought the accordion file with me. I didn’t want to go through it alone, and she remembered better than I what was in it, since she helped me type up everything years ago. So, we started going through it all. I was happy to see that we had a counseling statement from my Commander in regards to my first sexual harassment charge against 1SG Orange (not really his name, but…). It said that it was all my fault that he tried to attack me. But what got us was that this horrible counseling statement was ordered by our Group Troop Command. I also had the original sworn statement I made against 1SG Orange, as well as the transcribed interview done by the investigating officer. That in itself was encouraging to me, that I might actually have some real evidence to present.

Then we had my medical discharge papers. Part of why they kicked me out was that they were using my cancer against me. But that was 5 years after I was diagnosed, and they had me re-enlist while I was still in chemo, but I didn’t have that documentation. The other reason they gave for kicking me out was that I couldn’t carry 75 pounds 10 feet, or 100 pounds for 5 feet. Now, that is wrong on 2 levels. If I had tried that, it would be grounds for an Article 14, since anything over 50 pounds is an automatic 2 person lift. Also, they never asked me, or tested me to see if I could, nor did they test any other person in my unit with the same MOS.

I had the original letter I had sent the IG’s office, along with some responses from them, like when they returned my tapes to me, stating they had made copies and transcribed them, along with an inventory of all the documentation I had sent. I had the original letter that I gave to my Section Sergeant stating what had all happened with Ranger Wags.

But all I had on my orignal rape in Ft Gordon was the tapes my dad had recorded when he spoke with the Post Commander. That was the only thing I thought I had, and it really proves nothing. Joan said that all the stuff I had was killer, and we didn’t need stuff about the rape to prove MST. I was kind of bummed, yet encouraged.

Then Sunday I got home, and just before bed I thought I would look fo r the first counseling statement I was given when I got back to my unit, stating that I had a habit of accusing men of rape when they didn’t, and that I shouldn’t cry wolf. I need to state here and now that I have only accused the 2 men in Ft Gordon of rape, no one else in my military career, except date rape on Wags. I of course couldn’t find that one.

BUT…I found the original chain of evidence receipt from CID when they took my clothes after the rape 22 years ago. I found my Emergency Leave request, and then I found my Ft Gordon Medical Records. The months that followed my rape, it states that I was seen in the TMC multiple times, for vomiting for days on end, and just being sick. It also states in there that I was recovering from a rape. I never knew I had this stuff. I just locked it in a box and forgot about it. I don’t remember going to the TMC all those times, but it is all documented how I was physically ill for months after the rape.

So, now I am more encouraged than ever to proceed with my Comp & Pen. I know it is going to be rough, and I am going to have to drag up many things that I have buried deep for years, because they just hurt too much. But one other thing I have that really is good. I just recently started seeing my therapist again that I was seeing 15 years ago to deal with the cancer, because I have been under a lot of stress that has caused a dramatic weight loss. The first meeting with my therapist, she diagnosed me with Severe Depression, Severe Anxiety, and 2 types of PTSD, one of which was caused from being raped in the military. I was still seeing this therapist while I was dealing with Ranger Wags harassment, and my allegations to the IG’s office, and my discharge. If she will be willing to give up her therapy records, then I will have even more. She doesn’t want to deal with the MST, she thinks I should see a VA therapist for that, but starting with a new therapist is a very scary thing.

Anyway, I think I so have enough to proceed with my claim. But the best thing I have is the fact that I have Joan. Sweet Joan, who went through this all first, so I wouldn’t have to. She is going to take the lead on this, and help me every step of the way. She is so much braver than I am, and I am going to need all of her strength in this one. Normally I am the dominate one, the strong one, but in this, I am to scared and weak. I so thank God every single day that he brought her into my life. Thank you Joan, for being the bestest friend anyone could ever dream to have.

Wish me luck,

Brigid

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One Response to “Going Over the Evidence”

  1. enemyinthewire Says:

    Brigid,

    Girl…with the evidence you have…you don’t need luck!

    Your accordian file is an undeniable link of evidence and it is an example to everyone out there who may be dealing with this themselves.

    Gather as much evidence as you can and keep the originals or copies of everything you turn in to Command or IG. Never let anything go. The evidence that you think is going to help you in an IG investigation may not do a dang thing for you with those idiots. Just because IG doesn’t accept something doesn’t mean that the VA won’t! The rules of evidence for Veterans Benefits for Military Sexual Trauma are quite a bit more relaxed. That is one thing that they are doing a much better job with. Proving rape years later is often very difficult – but VBA is looking closely at supporting evidence.

    I had NO proof of Jerk beating me…NOTHING at all. No one would speak up. What I did have was an email that I sent to him regarding another incident when he grabbed me violently. I also had his response. This single email that I kept for 8 years was just enough evidence, along with my statements and my Therapist, to let VBA see that something did happen. Just enough to let them know that I wasn’t lying.

    Keep everything! Make journals, make converstation logs, document everything with a date. Then guard every piece of evidence with your life. What you or IG may say is “garbage” may be just enough to slide the scale in your favor some day.

    I’m telling you, Brigid…you are gonna be just fine!

    Joan

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